As a point of editorial reference, I want it to be known that air travel in the front of the plane has become so ridiculous that the barrier for wow factor is no longer "having" a bar, but how spacious and luxurious your bar on a commercial plane is. With this mindset we arrive at Qatar Airways A380 business class. We've flown their A350, A320, 777 and find each to deliver an incredible level of service so needless to say, we were very excited to experience their only aircraft with a lounge and bar area...
Qatar Doha staircase #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Check In + Lounge
The Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge in Doha is one of epic proportions both in size and amenity. You'll find private sitting areas, spacious dining areas with buffet and waiter service, showers and just about anything you could ever need. This is 100% one of those lounges where you do not need to eat before arrival. There are countless food presentations throughout the day and about 15 different desserts on offer at any moment, not to mention the drinks...
The Seat + Bed
QR a380 cabin #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Qatar Airways offer the same industry leading business class seat on their A380, 787 and A350 aircraft, meaning aside from little differences (like an on board bar) you're getting the same fantastic seat, whichever aircraft you end up on. The seat features a very comfortable slouch position when upright, the most tray table space in its class and a seriously impressive entertainment system.
QR a380 seat 1 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Most importantly to travelers, there's tons of storage space and there's ample connectivity and charging. You'll find an entire closable cubby for larger articles as well as additional space on the outside of the seat if you're sitting in a window, which is due to the A380's unique design. You'll also find your handy touch screen controller, power ports for multiple electronic devices and seat movement panel all cleverly placed within reach but out of the way to avoid a problem many travelers can relate to, knocking the charger out in your sleep. The Qatar Airways Oryx entertainment system is surprisingly easy to navigate and features tons of film and television classics to accompany the newest (sh*t) releases...
QR 380 bed #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
If you're paying the big bucks or big miles, it's all about the bed and you'll get a seriously nice one flying the A380. Qatar heightens the sleep experience offering pajamas on overnight flights as well as Armani amenity kits with useful accessories such as tooth brush, eye mask and the regular business class fixings. You're all but guaranteed to feel roomy in this seat, thanks in part to the fact that the armrests lower down with the bed to provide extra flat surface. Every inch counts.
The A380 On Board Bar
QR 380 Bar #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Even the fanciest of flyers are taken aback when they peer open the curtain to Qatar's A380 Business Class Bar. I'll be honest, it's laughable how nice it is. While other innovative airlines offer on board bars, none match the quaint living room/cocktail den feel. From the lamps to the custom shaped sofas and backlit bar it's really something to take in. Surprisingly, though it's best known for a place to (drink) mingle and chat, it's also a great place to buckle in on the couch to get some work done in private, especially on overnight flights when the bar is quiet.
QR A380 Bar 2 #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Potato chips are better than nothing to wash the free drinks down, but they hardly pale in comparison to Qatar's extensive offerings of amuse bouche and mini desserts which you can just grab from the bar. There's someone on hand to staff the bar throughout the flight, so if you need more chocolate pods to match your Billecart Salmon, just ask.
Food + Drinks + Service...
QR dining #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Already taking into account the epic bar, industry leading seat and swanky amenity kit, there's still one area where Qatar are virtually leaps ahead of much of the competition and that's dining. Our crew on this particular flight was extremely friendly and service oriented, and despite the midnight departure, they were quick to remind us that dining is a la carte and on demand. Basically, we can have whatever we want whenever we want, no need to stick to their service schedule. Just ask. I opened with smoked tuna, which was lovely, fresh and powerful before moving to the red curry sea bass, a perfect foray into Bangkok, where we'd be landing in a mere few hours. As on all Qatar flights there's a steady mix of premium beverages including Billecart Salmon Champagne, Tattinger Brut Roses and a curated selection of red and white wines and booze. Booze Menu HERE.
The Overall Experience + If We Had To Be Picky...
The overall Qatar Airways business class experience is exceptional. I find their regular fare sales to offer a steal of a value, occasionally running lower than $1000 per person for long haul business class. Their lounges are top notch, the crew service is very attentive and the seats across all aircraft are extremely comfortable. It's a no brainer if you get the chance. IF we had to be picky, I'd ask for a bigger duvet. I find that most airlines offer very thin and narrow duvets, which when turning in the night fall off very easily. Maybe it's a privacy thing, but I like to feel covered up. So yeah, Qatar, if you're listening, make some XL duvets and don't change anything else...