Qatar Airways, First Class – Airbus A 380: Doha to Paris


Date: 10 March 2016
Departure: 07:55
Arrival: 13:10
Flight time: 7 hours and 15 minutes
Seat: 2A, window on the port side

Transfer in Doha

It is just gone five in the morning when I arrive in Doha from Riyadh, so the lines for security are still fairly thin. Security is a painless affair. Behind security, the young lady who picked me up as I deplaned is waiting for me. She guides me to the lift to take us one floor up to the reception area of the Qatar Airways First Class lounge.

The Lounge

Location: One floor up from security.
Type of lounge: Dedicated Qatar Airways First Class lounge.
Facilities: The lounge is very generously laid out and has an elegant, understated feel. There is one à la carte and one buffet restaurant, a business area with meeting rooms and Apple workstations, day rooms with beds, showers, toilets, a baggage storage room and an integrated duty free shop.
Name: Al-Safwa Lounge.
The lounge is impressive. First of all, because of the very high ceilings it is very quiet and there is a hush about the place. Given that not all aircraft have a First Class cabin, the number of passengers using the lounge is somewhat limited, which gives the place a very exclusive touch and feel.

The young lady wishes me a pleasant stay and informs me that one of her colleagues will come to pick me to escort me to the gate at B3 at 07:15, just slightly over one hour from now.



At Hamad International Airport the gates equipped to handle the A 380 are on two floors. The lower area is obviously for Economy Class passengers, while the upper waiting area is for First and Business Class passengers. There is also a separate desk for premium passengers to enter the holding area. Right behind the desk is a set of stairs and a lift to take you one floor up.


Once the flight is ready for boarding, the young lady invites me by name to step on board. She escorts me down the airbridge, introduces me to the purser standing at the door welcoming passengers and then bids me goodbye. From a passenger point of view, the experience it is a perfect handover from the ground staff to the cabin crew.

The flight attendant guides me to my seat on 2A, while one of them hangs my jacket in my own clothes locker, the other places the bulkier one of my two bags in the storage compartment at the front of the First Class compartment.

The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat: 2A, window seat on the port side of the aircraft.
Pitch: 80 inches.
Width: 83 inches.
Capacity: 8 seats.
The Qatar Airways First Class seat is not of the closed suite variety that most airlines appear to be adopting these days. Even so, I like the seat very much. I think it looks rather classy. And once the privacy screen is raised after take-off, you really are completed hidden from sight. The seat has been well designed I think, and the storage space is convenient and certainly sufficient. There are no overhead bins in the First Class cabin. However, larger items and bags can be placed under the ottoman. In addition, there is a large storage closet at the front of the cabin. There are two toilets for First Class passengers, located to the left and right of the staircase leading down to the main deck of the aircraft.

Every seat is equipped with a power socket and USB port. Two pillows and a blanket have been placed at every seat before boarding.



The First Class vanity kit is nearly identical to the Business Class one and is also Giorgio Armani branded. The main difference is that the First Class kit includes a small flacon of perfume and a tube of shower gel. Other than that though, it is about as useless as the Business Class kit, especially given that Qatar Airways, unlike Emirates and Etihad, does not have a shower on board.

As in Business Class, the service on the ground begins with a welcome drink, hot towel and a bowl of nibbles.  This is followed by the dates and coffee once the doors are closed.


The Meal

Type of meal: Breakfast.
Delivery: Individual delivery.
Service: À la carte, you can dine whenever you please.

Strawberry and banana smoothie.


The Fruit

A plate of fresh pineapple, melon, kiwi, figs and berries


The First Course

Greek yoghurt with strawberry compote and toasted granola with nuts.


The Main Course

Buttermilk pancakes with mixed berries, honey and vanilla mascarpone.


The timing of the first service is very good, it is not rushed and there is a enough time between the individual dishes. The smoothie is very tasty, so when the cabin attendant asks me if I would like another, I give an enthusiastic ‘yes’!

The pancakes are very tasty, but also very sweet. I think I might end up falling into a sugar coma! Strangely enough, I had a very similar meal in Singapore Airlines Business Class recently on my way to Brazil.

I had an early start this morning. So once the table is cleared away, one of the flight attendants turns my seat into a bed and raises the privacy screen for me.

The Second Service

By the time I resurface, we are only ninety minutes out of Paris. One of the cabin crew asks me if there is anything I would like before we land, so I decide to go with the fish and then the Indian main dish. Both dishes are very spicy. Qatar Airways’ catering is not shy with the spices and puts a decent zing in the Indian dishes, but without blowing the top of your head off.


First Course

Smocked halibut with mackerel rillettes.


The Main Course

Paneer tava tikki with chilli potato wedges, saffron upma and sambhar.



Chocolate dessert with a lemon éclair.



Eventually the flight draws to an end and we start our descent into Paris. I rather liked the countryside in Saudi with its immensity. Even so, I must confess I am rather glad to be back in Europe with its familiar climate and lush green vegetation.

Terminal 1 is very quiet when we land and there are only four other aircraft parked at the satellites.


Qatar Airways, First Class – Airbus A 380: Doha to Bangkok



The ground attendant who picked me up from the Paris flight makes sure I am comfortable in the lounge before she bids me goodbye. She reminds me that she will be coming back to escort me to the aircraft at 01h15 for a 01h50 departure to Bangkok.

AL-Mourjan Business Class Lounge

Location: One floor up from the arrivals and transit security level.
À la carte and buffet restaurant one floor up from the main lounge area, bistro style restaurant on the main level, drinks and snack stations are available throughout the lounge; washrooms and showers are available, but you need to make an appointment for the showers.
Free wifi is available throughout the entire lounge. The opening of the Qatar Airways First Class lounge is a long and complicated saga. Originally, it should have opened last April, at least that was the last date that was given for the opening, and even that had been moved a couple of times. I am not quite sure what the hold up is. In a way it is not really that important, given that Qatar Airways’ Business Class lounge puts many First Class lounges of other carriers to shame.


The gate is on two levels. There is a separate waiting area for First and Business Class passengers on the upper level. To this end, premium passengers enter the lounge through a separate entrance, which leads straight to the stairs and lift to the upper level. At 01h15 the ground attendant returns to the lounge to pick me up. It is about five minutes from the lounge to the departure gate. She takes my boarding pass and passport and escorts me to the entrance of the aircraft, where she hands me over to the inflight service manager. Like the previous flight, tonight’s flight to Bangkok will be full.

The Cabin

I am sitting on 2A, which is the first row in front of the galley. Initially I was a bit concerned it may be a bit noisy here, but in actual fact I am able to sleep perfectly and do not not hear a thing all night. A more detailed description of the cabin and seat can be found in my previous post. However, I manage to take some more photos before the other passengers on my row appear.


The Crew

The crew on this flight are even friendlier than the ones on the previous flight. I like the way they interact with the passengers. They are chatty and personable but still leave passengers their space.

The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground: Lime and mint juice with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Hot towel before the meal: Hot rose scented towel (I know M., …)
Type of meal:

By the time we push back from the gate, it is already gone two o’clock. The flight time is announced as six hours and twenty minutes. So instead of indulging in another full meal, I decide to sleep instead. Before departure one of the crew comes to ask me if she should wake me for breakfast and to take my order for the meal.


First Coure

Greek yoghurt with peach compote and toasted granola.


The Main Course

Scrambled egg with a small piece of steak, Portobello mushrooms, hash brown.



Later on, as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off, she returns and makes up my bed for the night while I head for the bathroom to change. On night flights Qatar Airways will provide a Missoni pyjama and slippers. Basically, there are two sizes for the pjs – S/M and L/XL. The same goes for the slippers, although they are very comfortable.


In any case, again the meal is very tasty and hits the spot nicely. It is not a full size meal but for me it is perfectly adequate.


Despite the departure delay, we still manage to arrive in Bangkok more or less on time. The Emirates A380 has landed ahead of us, and for one horrible moment I am afraid this will mean chaos at immigration. But fortunately, that is not at all the case and even though I need a visa on arrival, I am out through immigration in no time.


Getting into Town

Transport: Rolls-Royce sent by the hotel.
Departs from: Arrivals level at the airport.
Journey time: About 45 minutes, depending on the traffic. Once I have cleared immigration, I pass through customs and then proceed to gate B, which is located near carousel number 12. As I exit, the driver from the Peninsula is already expecting me. He takes my luggage and walks me to where the Rolls is already waiting.


Qatar Airways, First Class – Airbus A 380: Paris-Roissy to Doha



This is where the fun starts. I must say, since my trip to Singapore with Qatar Airways in June I have become quite a fan. Back in June I was certainly impressed by the quality of Qatar’s Business Class product, which only left me wondering what they could possibly offer with their new First Class product on the A380 that could top their Business Class. Time to find out, me thinks.

Getting to the Airport

Transport: RoissyVal – automated shuttle train.
Departs from: Roissypôle station, which serves Terminal 3. The CitizenM is two minutes away on foot.
Journey time: Roughly five minutes, the shuttle makes an intermediary stop at the long-term car park on its way to Terminal 1.
Fare: Complimentary.



Location: Terminal 1, Hall 2.
Facilities: Airport check-in, Web check-in.
Counters: There are seven Economy Class counters, one counter for Qatar Airways status card holders, two Business Class counters, one First Class counter and a supervisor’s desk.

Check-in is swift and efficient. Fortunately, there is no queue for the First Class counters. The agent issues my boarding pass for the flight to Doha and for my connecting flight, hands me a lounge invitation and sends me on my way. There is nothing overly First Class about the transaction, but that is okay.

The boarding pass is marked with Accès No 1, which is the dedicated fast track for immigration and security later on. And thank God for that because the ‘normal’ queue for immigration is endless.


The Air France Première Lounge

Location: The lounge is located behind immigration. To access the lounge, there are lifts at the very back of the duty free area. So far back that you are likely to miss the lifts if you are not paying attention. The Air France lounge is on the tenth floor.
Type of Lounge:
An invitation card is required to access the lounge.
None actually, loos are outside.
Catering: None either. There is s small bar with biscuits, Jacob’s crackers, instant noodle soup and some really sad looking sandwiches which taste of something indistinguishable but should be tuna. I think.
Apparently free wifi is available, but I would not know because both my iPhone and my MacBook Air are unable to pick up a signal.

The lounge – no offence – really sucks. There is no other way to put it and I really cannot for the life of me imagine what is supposed to be First Class about it. I am aware of the fact that space is limited in Terminal 1 and the facility is difficult to expand. But it is not just that. Basically the Lounge looks like some sad, rundown hotel lobby from before I was born.



Theoretically there are two separate gates for this flight, one for the upper deck and another for the lower deck.

About an hour before departure I decide it is time to head for the gate. I mean, it is not exactly as though I will be missing anything much in the lounge… Security is swift, thanks to the Accès No 1 priority lane.


Behind security though, the place is a mess. Quite simply, the satellites at Terminal 1 are way too small to accommodate an aircraft the size of the A380. The place is crawling with people and there is really no getting through. Eventually, there is even a gate change due to the fact that there is a United Airlines aircraft parked to our left and security will not allow the Qatar Airways passengers to walk past the entrance to the airbridge for that flight. And that is when chaos ensues. So in the sum of all things, yes there should be priority boarding, but there is not on this occasion. To be fair though, I should add that none of this is really any of Qatar Airways’ fault.


The Cabin

Configuration: 1 + 2 + 1
Seat: I am sitting on 1A, which is the window seat on the left side of the aircraft. There are eight seats in total, all of which are 180 degrees lie flats. The seat is not necessarily as private as the Emirates seat or the Thai Airways A380 suite, but it is certainly much classier and very elegantly appointed. The only downside, from what I can tell, is that there does not appear to be a lot of storage space for items you may need during the flight. Other than that, small items of hand luggage can be placed under the footrest. For larger items there is a cupboard in front of the First Class cabin. Alternatively, every seat comes with its own closet behind the television screen, which offers enough space to hang some clothes and place a few items of hand luggage. Qatar Airways has installed the First Class cabin on the upper deck, ahead of the Business Class cabin. The lower deck is Economy Class only.
Pitch: 83 inches.
Width: 23 inches.
Facilities: AC power outlets and USB ports are available at every individual seat in all cabin classes; wifi is also available on board and free of charge for First Class passengers.
Length as a bed: 83 inches.
Audio and Video: Audio and Video on Demand. There is a large selection of films, television programmes and music to choose from, with a good mix of new releases and some classics.
Toilets: There are two toilets for eight passenger in First Class, which are located on either side of the stairs leading to the lower deck. There are fresh roses and even real orchids in the toilet. Cosmetics are provided by Rituals.


As I step aboard, I am greeted by the inflight service manager, who immediately calls for one of the flight attendants to show me the way and help me get settled in my seat. Another flight attendant appears and asks me if there is anything I would like to drink and whether I would prefer a hot or a cold towel. She disappears and shortly after yet another flight attendant appears with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a ramekin with nuts and a rose scented hot towel (According to the valiant M., rose scent if for old ladies. And while I must concede that he does have point, I must also admit the towel is very refreshing…). A bit later on, two new cabin crew appear offering the traditional Arabic welcome of coffee and dates. I do not have a date but the coffee is excellent, with a subtle hint of cardamom.


At some point I stop counting how many crew there are up front. Somehow it is always somebody else who serves me.



The amenity kit is in the closet of my seat. There are different kits for men and women. The kit for men contains:

  1. Socks.
  2. Eye shades.
  3. Ear plugs.
  4. Lip balm.
  5. Armani Acqua di Gio perfume.
  6. Armani Acqua di Gio aftershave balm.
  7. Armani Acqua di Gio energising lotion.

Shaving kits and toothbrushes are available in the toilets.


The Meal

Welcome drink on the ground:
Orange juice with nuts.
Hot towel before the meal: Rose scented hot or cold towel.
Pre-meal drink:
Fruity fizz mocktail – a refreshing balance of apple, cranberry and lime.
There are four choices for the starter and one soup, plus four choices for the main, a cheese platter and four choices for dessert. It rarely happens to me but on this flight I am really lost for what to choose because all the dishes sound rather tasty.
À la carte dining is available throughout the flight.
Type of meal:
Late lunch.
There is a separate menu for the wines. But I do not drink much anyway and rarely on a plane.


Amuse Bouche

Amuse bouche of fig with cream cheese and a date filled with almond flakes and walnut paste.


The Soup

Carrot and cumin soup with spices almond flakes and lemon crème fraîche.


The First Course

Smoked mackerel and spring onion potato cake with garden peas, asparagus, sun dried tomato salad and horseradish dressing.


The Main Course

Kerala style chicken Korma with chilli potatoes, onion and pine nut pilaf rice, cashew nuts and coriander rice with edamame beans and carrot stir-fry.



Warm dark chocolate and walnut tart with raspberries and crème fraîche ice cream.


What can I say? The meal is truly excellent. But it is not just the taste, the presentation of the food is also very nice and every dish looks as though it was assembled individually.

The soup and the dessert are definitely the highlights of the meal. The soup has a nice tangy flavour and the spices really bring out the taste of the carrot. As for the warm tart, that simply tastes of heaven.


The rest of the flight passes quickly. About an hour before we land in Doha, one of the flight attendants drops by and asks me if there is anything else I would like to eat before we land. But I am still full from the lunch and just have a cappuccino to wake me up.

Transfer in Doha

We land with a delay of about thirty minutes. As I exit the aircraft, there is a ground attendant expecting me to escort me through security and to the lounge. She advises me that she will return to pick me up when it is time for boarding.