A certain cohort of frequent flyers on a well known forum are very quick to dismiss first class on Qatar Airways. They believe that business class on QR is so good that first class is basically the same, just with an older seat and the addition of caviar to the menu. Oh how wrong they are – A380 first class on the Doha based oneworld alliance carrier is in a league of its own.

I booked this flight using British Airways Avios, and the return flight from Doha to Sydney in first class cost 210,000 Avios and €248.15. The rack rate for this flight when I booked in March 2023 was €12,353 return (US$13,150 / £10,930 / AU$19,995). Using points meant a rather large saving, even if I did need to spend €935 to top up my points.

Al Safwa First Class Lounge

Upon arrival from Dublin, it was into the business class bus and over to the Al Safwa First Class lounge to wait between flights. While my jacuzzi filled up in the spa, I checked out the art on display and had a glass of uninspiring Champagne.

Later on I swam in the jacuzzi for a while and then headed on down to the gate just prior to boarding being announced. I was second on board, heading up the sloping aerobridge to arrive on the top level of the double-decker aircraft.

QR908 – Doha to Sydney (DOH-SYD)
1 February 2024
Airbus A380 – A7-APC
Seat: First Class 02A
Departure: 20:40 Arrival: 18:50

The crew were not expecting such a prompt arrival, but they rallied instantly, escorting the person in front of me to his seat. As he moved away, it was time for me to turn left as well, also escorted by a smiling and friendly crew member.

Qatar’s A380 First Class Cabin

I’d seen the pictures, read reviews and even checked out a video review or two. Nothing can prepare you for the utter gorgeousness of this supremely spacious cabin, which is configured with just eight seats, as you can see on the seat map here. Prior to travel I changed from 01A to 02A and I did not regret my decision.

There are no overhead bins for your carry-on luggage, which makes for a spacious feel. Instead, bags are stored at the front of the cabin in dedicated lockers. Each seat has a small cupboard to hang your jacket or store smaller items.

As soon as you sit down, you notice the superb comfort of the seat as well as the absolutely scandalous amount of space. It immediately causes you to relax and the elegant colour palette helps here.

Entertainment is provided on a 26″ screen, easily controlled from your seat. There is a personal reading lamp integrated into the seat at your shoulder as well as a normal lamp by the screen. It’s all rather nice!

A Welcome Champagne

Within moments of being seated, I was asked if I wanted a drink. “Champagne would be lovely!” was my reply and I was asked if I’d like the brut or the rosé. Since I’d had several glasses of the Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé on the flight from Dublin, I went for the Brut. This turned out to be a stellar choice!

While I had no idea about the price (I checked post-flight and it seems to retail for A$599.00 / €325.00 / £345.00) it certainly is very delicious. The accompanying cheese and olives was perfect! Shortly after, the amenity kit and pyjamas were delivered, which are the same as those in business class unfortunately, which takes a tiny bit of the special shine off the experience.

The Menu, Free Wi-Fi and Arabic Coffee

Once the menu was delivered, I had a brainwave and asked for the business class menu as well. As people had alluded to the food being almost identical to business class, I wanted to see if that was true. You can see which dishes were the same here, but overall there was more choice in first class and much of it was unique to the class, thankfully.

Wi-Fi is offered free for free in A380 first class, which is nice. While it won’t set the world alight for speed, it is usable here and there during flight. Prior to departure, Arabic coffee is served along with a choice of dates. I ended up having two or three coffees as it was quite tasty!

Let’s Get Changed

Two enormously spacious rooms are set aside at the front of the cabin for those needing to get changed or to freshen up. I grabbed my pyjamas and decided to change as soon as possible, so I would be comfortable for the flight.

Love the sink and the way the water is delivered, which I know from experience is also in business class on the Qatar Airways A380. There is oodles of room to get changed and it was all kept spotless throughout the long service to Sydney.

One feature that is pretty much unused on every flight I’ve taken on an A380 is the forward staircase. In this instance, it was roped off at the bottom. It’s a real shame, because boarding by the lower deck and going upstairs would add some real wow factor.

Dinner Is Served

Prior to take-off, the crew took orders for food and asked when we would like to have it. I made selections for immediately after take-off and a separate set of dinner choices for before landing. As we arrived at 7pm in Sydney, I wanted to have dinner before I got off the plane.

Once in the air, some more Champagne was served, this time accompanied with nuts. The nuts are always nice, but they don’t really pair well with bubbles as it makes the drink froth in your mouth, which is not so fun.

Dinner turned out to be an extravaganza, setting my tastebuds alight in quite unexpected ways. The lobster amuse bouche was a nice palate cleanser to begin and this was followed by the miso and edamame soup. I expected it to taste maybe a bit like miso soup, but it was a deep, rich, spicy taste which I loved.

I’ve always liked caviar and almost never have it, so I was looking forward to it and was not disappointed. With the little blinis and lemon to squeeze over it, I devoured it happily. Next up was the curried Lobster and you’d drool if you knew how spicy and delicious this one was. Absolutely up my street, would recommend!

Finally it was time for dessert and it was also lovely. Perhaps the best food I have ever eaten on a Qatar Airways flight, which pleased me immensely.

To The Bar… and Bed!

From what I was able to gather, at least two, possibly four other people in first class had upgraded their tickets. That meant they were all rather wowed by the experience as well. Many of us decamped to the bar, a must visit on the Airbus A380. When you walk through the galley, a crew member accompanies you and then advises the bartender you are a first class passenger.

Many people were in the bar, so I chatted to some of the other passengers and the very friendly bartender. Alas the Armand de Brignac was not served in the bar, so I went to the galley where I was advised the two bottles loaded had been finished. Not to worry, as there were other options available. Eventually most of us headed back to our seats for some sleep.

Dinner Time, Again!

Several hours of uninterrupted sleep were had in seat 02E, which of course nobody was sitting in. I had asked the crew if they could make the bed there so I could sleep in a separate seat, which they were happy to accommodate. Qatar Airways crews usually know very quickly when you’re awake and it was the same this time.

I had asked, after the last service, if there was any caviar left over and if so could I have it. Happily, there was and so when I woke, I started off with another plate.

From there it was much like before, with delicious dish after delicious dish being served. I was completely stuffed by the end of it, having been very pleased with my choices. The beef fell apart at the touch, so it was perfectly cooked. I make a note of that as sometimes it can be tough when reheated on the plane.

Naturally I also took the opportunity to try some of the wine, which I also found to be very good. Service was completed for me a little under an hour before arrival. More airlines should do dine on demand as it really is one of the great elements of the Qatar Airways service.

Time To Land In Sydney

By now we had been flying over Australia for quite some time, and it’s always great to see the brown of the country of my birth. I alternated between the moving map and looking out the window as we approached Sydney.

We landed without incident and our cabin was let off the plane first. It was then the usual experience entering Australia – get a ticket at the kiosk, go through the automated gates, wait for your bag, then go through customs and out to a taxi.

Overall Thoughts

Qatar Airways A380 first class is amazing! I had a brilliant time from start to finish. There is no way you can compare it to business class at all. For a start, there is much, much more space. The food offering is far more elevated and the alcoholic drinks are also of a higher calibre.

While elements such as the pyjamas and amenity kit are the same, that’s really about it. Service is more personalised and you just can’t compare the cabins. It is much more spacious than the much lauded Qsuite business class. For me, that is the real winner for me… well, along with the food and drink. And service… and… and…!!

I would recommend you fly this before it goes. The Doha based airline is supposedly removing the superjumbo from service from 2024, and time is ticking. Definitely do it while you can, it’s so worth it.

Have you flown A380 first class with Qatar Airways before? What do you think of this product? If not, what do you think of my flight? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by tranquil_avi_photos on Instagram via Qatar Airways’ Facebook.