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August 22, 2015 / oneworld82

Qatar Airways First Class: check! A smooth A380 flight from Paris to Doha (QR F CDG-DOH)

After reaching Charles de Gaulle Terminal 1, I made my way to the Qatar Airways check in desk, where some people were already lining up to check in for the economy class cabin. A first class passenger was already checking in as well,  but I was very quickly checked in as well and within minutes I was past security on my way to the lounge.

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Qatar Airways uses Air France’s “La Premiere” lounge here. Don’t be fooled: this is not AF’s flagship lounge, and for that matter this isn’t a good lounge AT ALL. Honestly, if I hadn’t had a forced layover in CDG I would never have come to this lounge just to enjoy it.

The problem with it is that it’s rather small, with no comfortable chairs, with limited food and drinks offerings. It’s quite appalling that the second biggest terminal of France’s main airport doesn’t have a half-decent lounge…!

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In any case, around 1 hour before departure I headed to the gate, but I had to go through security before getting there. Boarding was ordered, and I walked the long jetway all the way up to the upper level of today’s A380.

As soon as I arrived at the door I was acknowledged as a First Class customer, and I was escorted to my seat.

Qatar Airways First Class cabin looked very nice. As known, it is an open-seat concept, with no walls. Yet, just like Lufthansa’s First Class seats, Qatar’s are very spacious and private. The amount of storage space – in terms of cabinets and closets – was the biggest I have found on any airplane so far, and the seat was nothing short of huge – as well as the TV screen which dwarfed Etihad’s!

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As soon as I sat down, my designated flight attendant came by introducing herself and offering me a drink – as well as explaining me all the functionalities of my seat and of the cabin. I asked for some champagne, but I was informed that – as per French laws – they could not open the champagne prior to departure. I then just went for a glass of water.

Take off happened about 30 hours late, on an almost full First Class cabin (only one seat went empty). There were no females in the cabin – middle aged men.

It always impresses me how quiet A380s are! They really are gracious giants of the sky. It took a while to take off – in fact we left 15 minutes late – but the captain announced an on-time arrival in DOH. As I had a 1h45m connection there, I started to relax a bit and I ordered a glass of Dom Perignon once beverage service started.

The flight attendants had taken meal orders before taking off, from a menu that read as follows:

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To begin my meal, I went for the caviar. This delicious treat is enhanced on Qatar Airways, as Ossetra caviar is served on board. Sure, this is not Beluga or not even Petrossian, but it’s likely the best caviar you can find out there on a plane.

The fish eggs were served in the original tin box, with all the traditional garnishes (eggs, onions, sour cream, blinies) and a mother of pearl caviar spoon. I asked for some vodka as well, which was delivered together with the caviar.

What can I say: this caviar service was spotless – great product, great presentation, just as it should be.IMG_6360 IMG_6361 IMG_6362 IMG_6363

To follow the caviar,I had the excellent lobster, fennel and potato salad. As good as a salad could be!

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The ingredients mixed together very nicely, creating a salad that was decidedly a step up from the ones offered across the Atlantic by most European and North American carriers.

It was then time for my main course. I went for the Keralan fish goujons – it was nicely presented and it tasted quite good (curry-based dishes are always flavorful – also at 33k feet above the ground!).

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Even though at this point I was stuffed, I still had some room for cheese (of course!).

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At this point I was so stuffed that I felt like a duck ready to be killed for its fat liver. I ordered an espresso, and then I went to the restroom to change.

The washroom was very spacious and elegantly appointed – it reminded me of Emirates First Class bathroom but without the shower.

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When I got back to my seat, my coffee was ready, and after enjoying it I asked for the bed to be made and I took a nap.

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I was very disappointed to find out that QR doesn’t provide neither pjs nor slippers on this flight as it’s a day flight; I honestly felt that it was cheap on their side, especially because this is still a 6+ hours flight; yet, it didn’t take long to fall asleep, and to wake up about 120 minutes out of Doha.

I got up, and I went to check the famed bar at the back of the upper deck. This was spacious and sleek – better looking than Emirates’, but overall less functional and, perhaps due to the length of this flight, less crowded. I had a quick glass of orange juice, and left after five minutes.

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Again, the bar was very sleek, yet it didn’t have the positive vibe of Emirates’.

Before getting to the end of the flight, I will mention seat features and IFE here.

The seat was very wide, comfortable – a real treat. It had good lighting features, and was comfortable in every position I tried.

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QR uses Bose headsets (although they are not branded so), and provide what was probably the nicest amenity kit I have seen so far – a full Armani kit with Acqua di Gio 75ml lotions! First Class customers also get free in-flight wifi, which was, in all honesty, only barely working.

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Before landing, I was in the mood for some dessert, and so I went for some macarons, knowing that Laduree caters desserts for Qatar Airways First Class.

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We landed around 20 minutes behind schedule, but that was more than enough to continue on time my adventure back home.

So, how was my first experience on Qatar Airways First Class? A treat, indeed. The cabin is aesthetically pleasing, service was great, drink selection was excellent. Yet, I did not get that wow factor I got from Etihad or Cathay Pacific the first time I flew them. Perhaps it’s that I am so used to fly premium cabins these days, that I have developed very high standards; but from QR I would have expected nothing short of excellence. Which they delivered, but not entirely.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a solid 5 stars product, and since I was not paying for it, I was really happy to fly it. But should I take my own money or miles out of pocket, I would probably go for Etihad or Emirates to the Middle East.

Next on: DOH-PHL on QR J!

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