My flight from Guangzhou to Doha was delayed due to traffic at Guangzhou. There were some bad thunderstorms that day, which also delayed the incoming flight. At the gate, there was a large antsy crowd of passengers ready to board.
Qatar puts their first class cabin on the upper deck, so I climbed the stairs at the front of the plane. Apologies for the bad photos, but this flight took off in the middle of the night (and landed at ~4am), so the lighting was a bit hard. But the cabin itself was gorgeous. It’s a 1-2-1 seating configuration. There’s not a ton of privacy at each seat, but each seat has tons of space, and it’s beautiful. I was also the only first class passenger on this flight, so the privacy aspect didn’t matter much. The in-flight entertainment was started on the ground. The selection was extensive (including ALL three high school musicals–what else do you really need??). Ads played before movies, but you can fast forward through them. In terms of storage, there aren’t any overhead bins in the cabin, which gives the cabin a more spacious feel. But that means that there’s a closet next to the lavatories at the front of the cabin to store bags. There are also small closets at each seat, as well as some other miscellaneous storage compartments.
The bathrooms are large, as they typically are on the upper decks of A380s. No showers though 🙁 But I thought the orchids were a nice touch.
I was the only passenger in first class, and business class was also very sparse. Economy at the rear of the upper deck was full, as was the lower deck of economy. A flight attendant told me that the upper deck was very full on the way to Guangzhou.
The flight time from Guangzhou to Doha was only 7 hours and 25 minutes, which wasn’t really enough time to eat, sleep, and explore the plane, so I ended up sacrificing sleep.
Prior to departure, I was offered a wet towel, a lemon mint drink, and a snack, as well as the more typical Arabic coffee and date. One thing that I also appreciated was that a flight attendant asked if I wanted the cabin temperature lowered. I said yes, although I still overheated during the flight.
After takeoff, I started off with some rose and warm nuts, and then I had the caviar service. The caviar was served with two mother of pearl spoons, egg, sour cream, onion, blinis, toast, and lemon. I strongly prefer blinis to toast.
The dining table is nice and large, and it slides back and forth, which is super useful (you don’t have to contort yourself or put away the tray to get up from your seat).
The bread service was served with unsalted Beurre d’Isigny. The bread itself was too soft, but the butter was good.Next, I had the Arabic mezze, which was served with warm pita. Quite tasty. For my entree, I had a pre-ordered special meal (AVML or Asian Vegetarian meal). This consisted of rice, kidney beans, green beans, and lotus root. Not the most attractive dish to look at, but it was actually pretty good. After dinner, I made my way to the bar/lounge area behind business class and chatted with a couple of flight attendants. I was the only one there for about an hour, until one other passenger joined. I imagine the lounge gets more use on busier flights.
I then went back to my seat to sleep for a couple of hours. Perfectly standard and comfortable. A small thing is that the bed did not seem to be flat relative to the plane floor, but rather was flat relative to the ground, so I didn’t have that backwards tilting feeling that I sometimes get on planes.
For my pre-arrival meal service, I started with some bread and the apple and rocket energizer. I then had the bircher muesli and some fruit. All pretty tasty.
The service on the flight wasn’t as meticulous as I’ve experienced on other airlines, but it was gracious, well-intentioned, and full of personality. The first class cabin is gorgeous, and the hard product is great. It’s not as blingy as Emirates or Etihad (and there’s no shower), but it’s a fun product to fly, and the lounge at the back of the plane is a great place to hang out.