Qatar Airways review: A380 business class Paris to Doha

Qatar Airways review: A380 business class Paris to Doha

You guys have no idea how much I’d love to start this Qatar Airways review with a badass summarization of my one night layover in Paris. Maybe (if I wasn’t so boring) I could have told an awesome story about how I stayed up all night partying with the entire crew of my Air Tahiti Nui flight from Los Angeles, barely making back to CDG in time to catch this Qatar business class flight down to Doha.

Instead, I’m ashamed to tell you that despite having a 30-hour layover, I stayed at an airport hotel writing blog content. I did go into the city briefly for dinner, but there was no sign of that Air Tahiti Nui crew and I returned to the hotel alone just before 8pm.

Even more embarrassing is that I set my phone alarm to go off at 9am just in case I didn’t wake up before then on my own. Ha! Do you know how exciting of a feeling it is knowing that your next flight is going to be in Qatar Airways business class?

Sleep was impossible, and I was wide awake at 5am packed and ready to go for the 3:30pm flight down to Doha. Yeah, one of these days I’ll be able to write a badass intro about stumbling into an airport with a piercing hangover and ripped clothes, but this isn’t it…

Paris, France (CDG) – Doha, Qatar (DOH)
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Aircraft: A380-861
Registration: A7-APF
Duration: 6 hours 18 minutes
Seat: 17K (business class)

Qatar Airways A380-800 side view
Qatar Airways A380-800 side view illustration by
CDG-DOH flight track
Our route from CDG to DOH this evening.

My video review of this Qatar Airways business class flight focuses on the fact that the entire Qatar business experience (both on the ground and in the air) is extremely formal and more like first class than anything else. I even dare to ask the question of whether or not it’s TOO formal.

The entire soundtrack comes from the fine folks over at Epidemic Sound, which is a service I can’t recommend highly enough for YouTubers in need of music for their own videos. There are so many great new tracks added each week, and it’s never difficult finding just the right piece of music for anything I need.

Paris – Charles de Gaulle: the airport I hate to love

I’ve always wondered when and where my first Qatar Airways review would be written, and if I’m being honest, Paris to Doha wouldn’t have even been a wild guess. I was thinking more along the lines of LAX-DOH, or maybe even IAH-DOH, but…CDG-DOH only came about at the very last minute. It was a 40,000 mile American Advantage award I found while looking for something else, so I booked it immediately and then built an entire trip around it.

And now that you know I was up and ready to go at 5am, it shouldn’t be of any real surprise that I had a lot of time to kill after checking in here in Terminal 1.

Qatar Airways check in terminal 1 CDG
The moment I’ve waited a lifetime for – and it was totally ruined by perfectionism so crippling that all I could think about was getting the “perfect” intro pic for this Qatar Airways review. It was so bad that I don’t even remember standing here!
SANspotter selfie CDG
“Take the elevated walkway on your left”, the happy Qatar agent said as she handed me my boarding pass. 15 minutes later I was still walking around like a lost puppy trying to figure out which “elevated walkway” she was referring to…

For those of you who are not familiar with the Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport, all I can say it that it’s a beautiful mess. Beautiful because of how it just oozes of a funky 60’s retro vibe, and messy because of how tiny and confusing the corridors are. It’s the perfect example of form over function, and as much as I hate to say it, they need to demolish it and start over from the ground up.

But first, a quick stop at the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge

Because no Qatar Airways review would be complete without a look at what the lounge experience is like, I need to spend a few moments showing you how amazing the Premium Lounge is here at CDG. I was going to do a separate blog post on it, but nobody seems interested in my lounge reviews anyway so I’ll just do a brief recap of my experience here in the main Qatar business class review.

Qatar premium lounge CDG
The main lobby of the Qatar Premium Lounge. Not a bad place to lie down and release the stress that built up while attempting to navigate the tunnels and tight corridors of CDG Terminal 1.

There were two things about the Qatar Premium Lounge here at CDG that immediately stood out to me. First, it’s incredibly formal! Almost to the point where I felt uncomfortable with all the staff members hovering around me just waiting to do something (anything) to make my experience more enjoyable. “Just go away“ would have sounded too rude (lol) so, sending them to fetch things like bottled water or a hot towel was what I went with.

Qatar premium lounge cdg review
The interior of the Qatar Premium Lounge is spectacular! Unfortunately, it was so nice that I couldn’t help but to think that my own mother was going to jump out of the shadows and slap my hands if I touched anything.

Second, I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t do anything myself. If I wanted any food from the buffet, I had to have a chef prepare it for me. If I wanted something to drink, I had to send a roaming staff member to fetch it for me. I didn’t dare use the bathroom in this place…

SANspotter selfie Qatar premium lounge cdg
SANspotter, horribly underdressed for the Qatar Premium Lounge. Awwwkwaaaard…
Qatar premium lounge cdg food
Have you any idea how difficult it is to nod your head and smile as you patiently wait for the chef to explain everything on the plate in excruciating detail? All I was thinking about was how close I was to dying since I hadn’t eaten anything in like 2 whole hours….

I realize what Qatar Airways is trying to achieve with this level of service in their Premium Lounges, but it’s slightly too formal if you ask me. I assume that I’m in the minority, but a self-service style experience such as the Air New Zealand Lounge at SYD is far more my flavor.

The Qatar Airways A380 business class boarding experience

Once I had enough of attempting (really hard) to be on my best behavior in the lounge, I decided it was time to move on to the next really important part of this Qatar Airways review: the boarding process!

Once I cleared security and made it through to the gate area, there was about 45 minutes remaining before the boarding process started. It was really crowded with no place to sit, and unfortunately, I couldn’t leave without having to re-clear security coming back. A total miscalculation on my part, but no matter. Remember how I was saying that I had a love / hate relationship with this airport? This was one of those “hate” moments.

Gate 136 terminal 1 cdg
Gate 136. Not a single seat left unoccupied, but at least I didn’t feel underdressed down here. My peoples!
Qatar Airways Review a380
One of my most interesting flights this year, and this was the best shot I could get of it. It’s not easy to hide an entire A380, but the ground staff here at CDG have figured out how to do it!

I didn’t realize it until 10 minutes before boarding started, but there was a second queueing area (with a completely separate door) for business and first class passengers. That ended up being especially convenient since the general boarding area was so crowded that it was headache-inducing (a term that I don’t think is used often in a Qatar Airways review).

Qatar Airways priority boarding
The dedicated boarding door for first and business class passengers. Yet again a moment I’ve waited a lifetime for, only to be ruined moments later by faulty camera equipment. I swear to God my life would be epic if everything actually worked out as nicely as I plan things in my head…

Once boarding had commenced, it was a quick and painless process – other than the fact that my GoPro crapped out on me as I stepped onto the airplane and I lost all that footage. Grrr…

It wasn’t an aircraft equipped with the coveted Qsuite product, but – wow!

Yes, I knew even before booking this flight that it wouldn’t feature the Qsuites. That particular Qatar Airways review will have to wait until another time, but I was still pretty darn excited to give this standard A380 business class layout a try. After all, as long as it’s Qatar Airways, it’s sure to be good.

Qatar Airways a380 business class seat
Seat 17K, looking sharp and patiently waiting for me to take a million pictures of it from every conceivable angle.
Qatar Airways Review business class
Seriously, it’s hard for me not to have hard-hitting trance music pounding in my head as I take these seat pics. “Work it! Ooh, that’s it! Yeah!” The funny thing is that both guys seated in front and behind me (16K and 18K) got up to take pics of their own seats as I was getting these shots. Was the music in my head *that* loud?
Qatar Airways a380 business class
If you’re curious, the seats in the center section are separated by a retractable divider. Which, by the way, is really fun to raise as you stare at your seatmate with a pompous grin.

As expected, these business class seats felt extremely “premium” and I wouldn’t have any issues at all doing 15 hours in one of them. They aren’t as private as I normally prefer in a long haul business class seat, but Qatar Airways did a really nice job with this layout and making it feel especially nice and welcoming.

Qatar Airways business class privacy
Privacy is fairly decent, though you and the person directly across the aisle will know each other very well by the end of the flight (whether you like it or not). Don’t do anything so gross that it will tempt them to post a pic of you to the Passenger Shaming Instagram feed!
Qatar Airways business class seat controls
Too. Many. Options. One button with simply “omg” printed on it ought to do it IMHO.
Qatar Airways business class storage space
The aisle arm rest flipped up to reveal this ultra-convenient storage cubby. It’s hilarious how they assume that I actually know what  1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs feels like!
Qatar Airways business class USB port electrical outlets
Electrical outlets and USB ports. As a busy trip reporter, this kind of stuff is far more satisfying to me than frilly things like hot towels.
Qatar Airways flight attendants
Speaking of hot towels, a flight attendant swooped by with one just as I was lusting over that USB port.

A very large part of the “premium” feeling came from the cabin crew with their very friendly and attentive service. Interaction with the crew didn’t seem as formal as it did back in the lounge, and for that I was extremely thankful. As previously noted – I do enjoy attentive and friendly service, but not to the point where I feel like I’m being watched like a hawk by an over-eager staff.

Qatar Airways business class menu
I didn’t even get a chance at another lustful look at the USB port before the flight attendants distributed the menus. FYI, meal service here in Qatar Airways business class is “dine on demand”, so not only did I have to make a selection while here at the gate, I also had to tell them what time I wanted to eat. Like I would have chosen anything other than “immediately after takeoff”…
Qatar Airways business class amenity kit
By the way, Qatar Airways business class amenity kits are impressive. You think maybe that’s camel skin? It probably isn’t, but don’t tell me that because it’s more fun to imagine the possibilities.
SANspotter selfie Qatar Airways Review
Giving me fragrant skin creme is like giving Nicole Kidman a quart of 10W30 motor oil. I appreciate the gesture, but…I never end up using this stuff.
Qatar Airways a380 safety card
Meh. If we crash we crash. Being killed during the process of getting content for my Qatar Airways review sounds like a good way to go if you ask me!
Qatar Airways a380 wing view
Pushing off the gate now, and I can’t say that I would have been disappointed if we had a flat tire or something that needed to be changed (resulting in a multi-hour delay). I was having tons of fun here in seat 17K thank you very much, and anything to extend my time in it would have been greatly appreciated.
Qatar Airways a380 safety video
I should have been watching the safety video, but I couldn’t stop looking at that dude’s part line. I’m not hating by the way – I can only wish I had enough hair to part like that!
Qatar Airways a380 business class cabin
One last wide angle shot of this entire Qatar Airways A380 business class cabin before takeoff, void of any silly SANspotter commentary.

So far this Qatar Airways review is starting off with a bang! Will the positive vibes continue once in the air? Good question. Let’s find out…

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The dining experience in Qatar Airways business class

The “dine on demad” meal service in Qatar business class is a feature I quite like. Menu reading and meal selection happened while at the gate back at CDG, as well as choosing a time to eat. I chose to eat immediately after takeoff, and judging how busy this Qatar crew was in the first 15 minutes of flight, it seemed pretty much everyone else chose that option as well.

First up was a beverage and snack service, and I couldn’t resist going with a thing called “Pineapple Punch” I spotted on the menu. It paired perfectly with the warm nuts btw (as if I was culinarily literate enough to say otherwise lol).

Qatar Airways business class snack
A completely random thought as I was trying to think of a mature caption for this (other than anything remotely similar to “fondling my nuts”): how cool would it be to be served freshly popped popcorn instead? Not only would it be delicious, it would save me the agony of refraining from writing something that everyone over the age of 12 would roll their eyes at.

Next up was the table setting, which consisted of a huge white linen tablecloth, a condiment dish, bread basket, and a flickering (faux) candle. Then, in true Qatar Airways form, the flight attendant proceeded to place a huge white napkin in my lap – a move I wasn’t quite prepared for, and it had me wincing backwards in my seat as she approached my junk. Hey – it’s been a l o n g time since I’ve been in a fine dining establishment, and I certainly wasn’t expecting this level of service in business class.

Next up in this Qatar Airways review is the presentation of the meal, course-by-course. This particular crew was exemplary and more formal than any other any other business class cabin crew I’ve ever come across. I wasn’t a big fan of the formality, but it was fun to pretend I was Mr. Fancy Pants for a couple hours.

Qatar business class food review
First up was the amuse-bouche (a fancy way of saying “the small appetizer served before the actual appetizer”). How lucky was this particular shrimp to end up in Qatar business class rather than stuffed inside a cramped Lean Cuisine box (the kind you can get 3 for a dollar down at the local gas station)?
Qatar business class food
Next up: the appetizer (smoked duck with French fig, tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and walnut dressing). Three days later I saw the cutest duck family swimming happily in a pond and I felt horrible for what I had done. :-/
Qatar Airways food review
The main course: chicken kabasa and rice. What you can’t see is the gash on the reverse side caused by my over-eagerness to dive in before taking any pictures. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often considering how impatient (and hungry) I can be sometimes.
SANspotter selfie Qatar Airways food
The Pineapple Punch sits dejected as I work on forming an opinion about the meal. I really wish I had a more eloquent vocabulary because all that came to mind was was “holy **** this **** is so ******* good!”
Qatar Airways meal pics
The after-dinner cheese plate. Proving once again that I will never (ever) turn down cheese wedges if someone offers them to me.

All in all, the meal service here in Qatar business class was better than I ever expected it to be and it made me feel sad when they took my table cloth away.

Qatar Airways business class full review
A hot towel and a box of Godiva chocolates concluded the meal service. My cheese addiction is so bad that I was seriously considering walking around the cabin looking for someone to trade my chocolate with for more cheese. What worries me the most about that may be how it signifies the possibility of me coming back as a mouse in my next life (which sucks because I really have my hopes set on being a duck).
Watching movie Qatar business class
By the way, “Social Media” (the movie) is pretty good. It didn’t give me any inspiration to resurrect my neglected Facebook page though…

Was it the best food I’ve ever had on an airplane? Maybe not. My Asiana A380 first class experience from a few years ago still remains at the top of my list.

Qatar Airways a380 wing engine view
A quick peek out the window since there’s been very little of that in this review so far. The last time I posted so few window view pics in a trip report had to have been my British Airways Club Europe review from ARN to LHR back in 2013. What a doozie of a review that was! Not.

Other really neat features of Qatar Airways A380 business class

Shortly after dinner, I wandered back to the bar / lounge that is located between the business class and economy class cabins here on the A380. Yes, there are 8 rows of economy class seats here on the upper deck, which seems like an odd configuration if you ask me. You are reading a Qatar Airways A380 business class review though, so I assuming that at least a few of you who are interested in such nerdy facts like that as much as I am.

Qatar Airways a380 bar lounge
Well, at least now I know how unattractive to the ladies I am when they see me giving them the eye at the bar. Maybe this wouldn’t be so cringe-worthy if I had hair like that guy in the safety video?
Qatar Airways a380 business class interior
Back in the darkness and the safety of my semi-secluded seat, where nobody of the opposite sex can be frightened by a cringy pasty-white bald-headed AvGeek!

Another really nice feature of Qatar business class (no matter if it’s the Qsuite product or these standard lie flat seats) is the extremely comfortable blankets and pillows they provide.

Qatar Airways business class blankets
I haven’t seen pillows and blankets this large since that Delta One flight from JFK to SAN last September. Hold on a sec while I rip this thing open…
SANspotter selfie Qatar business class review
My cat just walked by as I was uploading this pic and started purring. Yep, these Qatar Airways blankets sure do look comfy!

Despite the relatively short flight, I did manage at least one full hour of baby-like sleep thanks to being cradled so nicely a comfy seat and warm blanket. I say again – this would be an excellent long haul (12+ hour) experience and I’m actively looking for award space to give it a proper try. A super-duper SANspotter-style try.

My final thoughts on Qatar Airways A380 business class

I couldn’t help but to think that this was an unfortunately short flight as we made the descent into Doha. I wanted to eat more, I wanted to sleep more, and I wasn’t quite ready to end this Qatar Airways review so quickly. More more more!

Flying into Doha
The lights of Doha appear in the distance, signaling that the fun was just about over and a transition back into the real world was immenent.
Arrival in Doha
However, I’ve never been to Qatar before, so…at least I had that to use as bait to get me off this airplane.

Another thing I was highly appreciative of was the fact that there was one flight attendant in particular who took the time to give me some really good ideas for things to see and do in Doha. To that FA: If you’re reading this, just know that those tips were perfect and I had a great time exploring the city. Thanks so much!

Moon over Doha
The crescent moon hanging low over the city of Doha this evening was an incredible introduction to this amazing place. Damn you iPhone camera and triple-pane (and angled) A380 window glass!
Doha from the air
Perfect 90-degree angles and beautiful symmetry of the lights made my first impression of Doha feel like love at first sight. When my OCD is happy, I’m happy.
Qatar Airways a380 business class mood lighting
Walking off the plane feeling happy and excited to explore Doha (thanks in large part to those beautiful 90-degree angles and symmetry I saw from the air).
Qatar a380
The end of a thoroughly detailed Qatar Airways review, and I didn’t even get one clean shot of the plane. But hey – the cringy bar selfie probably caused you to click away from this review long ago anyway, so it’s likely that you’re not even going to notice this failed A380 pic. I tried though!

Finally, is Qatar Airways business class too formal? Maybe. It definitely is for me and my simple tastes, but there’s a reason this airline is consistently rated as having the best business class product year after year. There are apparently a lot of people out there who enjoy having napkins placed in their lap by complete strangers, and luckyily for them, Qatar Airways is happy to oblige.

Now the question is: is Qatar economy class better than the others? That review is next…

Comments (4)

  1. Bruinsfan28

    April 20, 2019
    • SANspotter

      April 20, 2019
      • Bruinsfan28

        April 20, 2019
        • SANspotter

          April 21, 2019

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