Qatar Airways A380-800 business class Paris-Doha
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.
The food, seat and large bar are all major attributes and with the A350 coming, the premium offering on this route looks strong.