For remote gates (C20 to C29), you can take an elevator from the first class lounge directly to a premium bus transfer. But you do have to wait for all of the first class passengers before the bus will leave.
Elevator in the lounge
Premium bus transfer
On the flight, most of the first class cabin was occupied by a woman, her four kids, and her two nannies. I guess that’s why there’s a nanny room in the first class lounge.
First class seat on A320
Menus were distributed along with cold towels and pre-departure beverages. There was also a round of Arabic coffee and dates.
I’m always impressed by how much service happens on short flights on non-American carriers. On this ~40 minute flight, there was a full meal service, while you might not even get a drink service on an American carrier. There were 2-3 flight attendants working furiously in a tight space to get everything done, and some of the passengers were very demanding.
I had pre-ordered a special meal (VGML), which was some cold chickpeas, cauliflower, peas, tomatoes, and cauliflower puree with some fruit for dessert. It wasn’t great, but it’s pretty impressive for such a short flight.
Special meal VGML
Overall, first class on Qatar within the Middle East is pretty awesome. You get access to the Al Safwa lounge, and it’s an impressive amount of service for such a short flight.
For my short hop from Helsinki to Budapest, I flew Finnair in business class on an A320. It was European business class, which just meant a blocked off middle seat.
Blocked off middle seat
Even though the seat wasn’t any different from economy, there was a proper meal service on this flight. And they even had printed menus!
There was no pre-departure beverage offered, but the snack they offered after takeoff were crackers shaped like airplanes! There was also video playing on the in-flight entertainment, but there wasn’t any sound. The video playing, though, was from just for laughs, so I guess you don’t need to hear the sound for that.
I had pre-ordered a VGML special meal, which was actually quite solid. There were beet patties of sorts with carrots and potatoes. This was served with a side of tofu with mango, as well as a small bowl of fruit. I thought the food was reasonably tasty, and the carrots seemed like they came from an actual farm. It wasn’t fancy, but I was impressed by the actual ingredients in the hot dish.
Overall, I’m a fan of Finnair. It’s not a flashy carrier, but I find their product to be solid, and I enjoy the Helsinki airport.