Qatar Air­ways A380-800 busi­ness class Paris-Doha

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Tried & Tested -

Qatar Air­ways serves Paris three times daily. I flew up from Doha on a B777-300ER (QR0041, 0120) but this re­turn leg (QR0040, 1515) was on one of Qatar’s eight A380s (it has two more com­ing). Dur­ing an event to mark the open­ing of the air­line’s new premium lounge in Ter­mi­nal 1 at Charles de Gaulle Air­port, the CEO said an A350-900 will be in­tro­duced on the route shortly. Cur­rently the third ser­vice is also on an A380 (2120 from CDG, ar­riv­ing Doha 0555) but from March ser­vices will be shared be­tween a B777, A380 and A350.

Gates 45-48 were al­lo­cated to the A380 and signs were clearly dis­played for first and busi­ness class pas­sen­gers. Al­low time for the se­cu­rity check im­me­di­ately be­fore the gate, and pass­ports were checked prior to the air­bridge (the same on ar­rival).

The premium lounge in duty free – tak­ing the lift up to floor 11 – is a stylish fa­cil­ity with leather crème so­fas around a rip­pling foun­tain, lounge seat­ing along the win­dows (af­ford­ing take-off views on a clear day), two ter­races (one for smok­ers), show­ers, prayer room, busi­ness cen­tre, bar – with a sump­tu­ous wall-lined sofa (right) – and din­ing area with trees pok­ing through ta­bles. Con­nec­tiv­ity is good with USB ports and plugs near the seats. It was a short walk along a trav­e­la­tor to the gates.

I was sat in a win­dow seat to­wards the back (18A) of the 48-seat busi­ness class, over­look­ing the left wing (con­fig­ured 1-2-1). The seat panel is easy to un­der­stand, en­hanced by small icons (eg knife and fork) and in fully flat mode the seat con­ve­niently merged into the footrest ot­toman. Plug and USB points were hid­den un­der­neath the left arm­rest and the light was by the left shoul­der. The pil­low was thicker than the one on the B777 and I liked how the wa­ter bot­tle fit­ted in­side the arm­rest. I was handed a BRICS Castello Monte Vib­iano Vec­chio amenity bag (see Upfront page 13, Jan­uary is­sue).

Any of the win­dow seats look ideal for sin­gle trav­ellers, on ei­ther side of the cen­trally paired seats.

I would rec­om­mend switch­ing to the rear-view cam­era on take-off – and it’s even more fun if you’re by a win­dow.

I was told I could eat when I liked and each course ar­rived sep­a­rately. The food was as good as any­thing I’ve tasted on an air­craft – gen­er­ous slices of smoked salmon, hid­ing a pea and potato salad (pic­tured); an Ara­bic spiced chicken with mach­boos sauce; and lime and co­conut pan­na­cotta. I watched a cou­ple of films and the pic­ture and sound qual­ity were ex­cel­lent, and wan­dered through to the bar which has a dis­tinc­tive curved de­sign. I drank a glass of non-al­co­holic bub­bles, So Jen­nie, but there were 10 wines listed in the drinks menu and I had a glass of Joseph Drouhin 2014 Bur­gundy with din­ner. OnAir wifi was avail­able but I didn’t use it.

We ar­rived on time at 2335. I en­joyed an hour of un­bro­ken tran­quil­lity in Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s enor­mous Al Safwa first class lounge, which fea­tures a stun­ning drop-down wa­ter foun­tain fea­ture and mu­seum arte­facts and paint­ings which add to the sooth­ing am­bi­ence (spa too). I flew on to Dubai, where Con­course D was very busy with large queues for the train and at im­mi­gra­tion (the op­er­a­tion of the Emi­rates IDs in the e-gates seemed un­pre­dictable). Do­minic El­lis 5 hours 30 A380-800 1-2-1 1515 80in 22in

Busi­ness Saver, Value & Flexi fares for this sec­tor are priced €1,417.47, €1,647.47 and €2,002.47 re­spec­tively in mid-Fe­bru­ary.

qatarair­ways.com

The food, seat and large bar are all ma­jor at­tributes and with the A350 com­ing, the premium of­fer­ing on this route looks strong.

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