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Flight Review: Aeromexico Boeing 787-8 Business Class MEX to SCL

The only widebodies Aeromexico currently flies are 787s (they retired their 777s earlier this year). They fly both the 787-8 and 787-9, and this is a review of the business class product on their 787-8.

Boeing 787-8 to take me to Santiago

Before flying this 787-8 from MEX to SCL, I flew on one of their 737-800s from JFK to MEX on a red eye. It was very similar to a domestic red eye in that the 737-800s feature recliner seats in business class. Not fun for a ~4.5 hour flight.

Luckily, the business class product on the 787-8 is much better. It’s a lie-flat product in a 2-2-2 configuration. There are 4 rows of business class in the main cabin, and 1.5ish in the rear cabin.

Boarding

The seats are not industry leading, but they do go lie flat, so I won’t complain too much. The bulkhead seats have a larger foot cutout, so I would opt for one of those if available. The seats are on the narrow side and don’t have much storage.

Business class seat

Business class seat

Foot rest and IFE at the bulkhead

Seat and IFE controls

Outlets and small storage area

Waiting at my seat were a water bottle, headphones, a pillow, and blanket. The pillow and blanket were pretty decent and fluffy. Pre-departure beverages of water, juice, or champagne were offered, and then amenity kits were handed out.

Amenity kit

Menu

Menu

Drink menu

The refreshment service was served about 40 minutes after takeoff. The tamale my seatmate had looked pretty good. My vegetable sandwich (a pre-ordered special meal) was decidedly less appetizing. It was bread, refried beans, and vegetables served cold. But I enjoyed the fruit on the side, and I liked that they had coconut water as a beverage option.

VGML refreshment meal

Midway through the flight, they set up a snack trolley between the front and mini business class cabins. This didn’t happen until pretty late in the flight (probably around 4-4.5 hours in), so it’s not just available after the first meal service like snacks are on other carriers. They had apples, pears, potato chips, packaged cookies, Twix bars, sliced vegetable (carrots, jicama, and celery), and mini croissant sandwiches.

One thing to note about the IFE on this flight was that it was censored. I watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and all of the swear words (of which there are many) were dubbed over.

About two hours prior to arrival, they served the main meal service. My special meal was actually pretty tasty: it was a lightly flavored rice dish with some vegetables. I’ve had many much worse special meals on flights.

VGML lunch service

And for good measure, here are the menus (and special meal) from the flight back from SCL to MEX. This flight is a red eye with the main meal service after takeoff and a smaller meal service prior to arrival (although I don’t think many passengers took advantage). My meal wasn’t as good as the one on the flight from MEX to SCL, but it was still fine.

Menu on flight from SCL to MEX

Menu on flight from SCL to MEX

VGML dinner on flight from SCL to MEX

Overall, I’d happily fly Aeromexico again. Their lounges in MEX leave a lot to be desired, and the 737-800s are to be avoided, but the hard product on the 787-8 is perfectly comfortable, and the service was fine as well (it was significantly better on the flight from SCL to MEX). I would recommend trying to get a bulkhead seat (first row of main cabin or mini-cabin) so you have more room for your feet.

Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class HKG to SFO

Although I’d flown Cathay Pacific long-haul multiple times, this was actually my first time flying them long-haul in business class.

My initial impressions of the cabin were not great. The cabin did not seem to be adequately cleaned before the flight, and some things seemed to be falling apart. Part of the armrest was coming off (and you could see wood underneath), there was a napkin left at my seat, there were stains, etc. It seemed like the plane needed a little love.

Business class seat

Business class mini cabin

Foot space and IFE screen

Controls and storage

Tape fixes all

I was seated in the mini-cabin right behind first class. This is just two rows of business class, so it feels pretty intimate and private. The bulkhead also has additional foot space since it’s the bulkhead. There was a pillow, blanket, and headphones already at the seat, and the flight attendants came around offering pre-departure beverages.

View into first class

In spite of my quibbles about the cleanliness of the cabin, it’s still an awesome hard product. There’s space to put things under the ottoman, there’s a shoe compartment, storage on the side, counter space, etc. The seat goes lie flat and has good privacy, and it feels plenty wide.

Business class bathroom amenities

This flight was catered as supper, snack on demand, and then breakfast prior to arrival. I’m not sure why they serve breakfast prior to arrival as the flight lands at 8pm. While the more typical lunch and dinner menus often have one vegetarian option, there was very little vegetarian food on this menu, so make sure to order a special meal if you’re a vegetarian on a supper flight.

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Business class amenity kit

For my supper meal, I had pre-ordered a Jain vegetarian meal. The VJML supper consisted of a cold, spicy chickpea salad, fruit, rice, lentils, okra, and green beans. Pretty decent for a special meal.

VJML supper

After supper, I slept for about five hours. The seat was super comfortable, and the blanket was large and not too hot.

Breakfast was served prior to arrival. I started out with fruit and bread. One thing I noticed was that the VJML fruit plate was different from the fruit plates that other people were getting–not entirely sure why since fruit is obviously vegan.

Fruit plate

After fruit and bread, people were offered cereals and yogurt.

Granola

For my VJML entree, it was a main of Indian breakfast items. I honestly can’t believe it was meant to be served as I received it, since there was very, very little curry in the container. It looked like the curry had spilled out of the container, but there was nothing to replace it, so it was mostly just white carbs.

VJML breakfast

Overall, I was a little bit disappointed by this flight. While Cathay Pacific has a great hard product and can sometimes have amazing service, the service on this flight wasn’t very good. The service felt cold, I wasn’t welcomed on board, I was never addressed by name, etc. Heck, I’ve been addressed by name flying economy class on Qatar (and on Cathay for that matter).

Review: Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class Boeing 777 DPS to HKG

Boarding for this flight was a bit of a mess. The stated boarding time for the flight was 3:25pm, but they didn’t start boarding until around 3:45pm, and there were no announcements about anything being delayed. In addition, the terminal at DPS isn’t super well air conditioned at some of the gates, so some of the passengers were getting pretty testy…

Because of the late boarding, the business class cabin was mobbed quickly. It’s a 2-3-2 configuration for regional business class on this Boeing 777. The seats are perfectly comfortable, but for a flight that can approach 5 hours, it’d be nice to have something lie flat for sleeping.

Business class cabin

Business class seats

IFE screen and foot area

Seat controls and storage

There were pillows and headphones at the seat, and then they came around offering blankets, pre-departure beverages, and hot towels. I’m not really sure who wants hot towels leaving Bali, so I asked for a cold towel, and they offered me a not-hot (but not cold) towel a few minutes later.

The IFE screen for these seats is a little small and blurry. There’s a USB port and electrical outlet for charging devices. There’s limited storage at these seats: there’s not really any underseat storage, but there is a small slim pocket in the center between seats.

Menu

Menu

Menu

After takeoff, they offered drinks and mixed nuts to start. Then came the meal service. For my Jain vegetarian special meal, the starter was some sort of cold bean puree with black eyed peas on top. It reminded me a little bit of hummus, and was a large step up from plain cold vegetables that are usually served as vegetarian special meal appetizers.

VJML appetizer

For my main, I had chickpea curry, rice, spinach, peas, and cabbage. This was pretty delicious.

VJML entree

Finally, I had a fruit plate to finish off the meal.

Fruit plate

Overall, this was a pretty good VJML. The service was not particularly personable, but it was very efficient. There were Jurlique products in the bathroom, but no amenities were offered.

Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class A330-300 KUL to DPS

At KUL, departing and arriving passengers are mixed together, and there’s security at each gate. For this flight, there was only metal detector going for an entire A330, so we were actually delayed because people were still trying to get through security instead of boarding.

The flight was originally scheduled to be a 737, but there was an aircraft swap, which meant fully flat seats on this relatively short flight to DPS. I sat in 1A this time, which is a single seat closer to the aisle. The foot cutout in the bulkhead is enormous compared to the throne seats, so even though the seat feels a little exposed to the aisle and doesn’t have as much counter space, I think I would prefer 1A to any of the throne seats in the future.

Foot space for 1A

Seat controls and storage compartment

Storage compartment

View across cabin

A pre-departure beverage of juice or water was offered, and they distributed cold towels and newspapers. The IFE selection was the same as on my longer flight from PEK, but the headphones were much worse quality on this flight.

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

The flight was pretty turbulent after takeoff. I was actually a little worried about the flight attendants because they were trying to serve people drinks at the time, and my drink at my seat spilled a bunch. But eventually, the turbulence stopped and they were able to do a meal service. For this flight, the Asian vegetarian meal was a lentil curry with carbs in two forms. It was definitely better than the Asian vegetarian meal I had on the previous sector.

Asian vegetarian meal

Overall, it was a nice little treat to get to fly on an A330-300 on this flight to Bali instead of a Boeing 737-800, and the food was better on this flight than on the flight from PEK to KUL.

Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class A330-300 PEK to KUL

I’ve flown Malaysia Airlines business class in the past, but this was a renovated business class cabin, so it was a huge improvement over the past hard product that I’ve flown.

Malaysia Airlines A330

Instead of angled-flat seats, these are forward-facing fully-flat seats in an alternating 1-2-1 and 1-2-2 configuration. For this flight, I was seated in 6K, which is one of the throne seats on the side. The cabin skips row 3 for some reason, but the throne seats are 1K, 4K, and 6K, while 2A, 5A, and 7A are the single seats that are closer to the window.

Business class cabin

Business class cabin

The throne seats have tons of counter space on both sides. There’s are also storage spaces on both sides of the seat. The seat itself is comfortable, but the foot cubby is super small. I probably would select a non-throne seat in the future. One slight novelty is that the seatbelts had shoulder straps. There were also air vents on this plane.

Bulkhead at 1K

My seat, 6K

Seat controls, IFE controls, and some storage

Tight foothole

There was a pillow, blanket, and headphones already at the seat. The headphones were not noise cancelling. IFE was started on the ground, and the selection was pretty decent, but there were ads played before every movie. Before departure, a flight attendant came around offering juice or water, and then hot towels and newspapers were distributed.

After takeoff, packets of unsalted mixed nuts were distributed, and then they came around with a satay cart. I had pre-ordered an Asian Vegetarian meal, and the AVML satay was just vegetable skewers (one uncooked, one grilled). There was no satay sauce to accompany these skewers. The satay service was the only after takeoff meal. Once they were done distributing the satay, that was it.

On this flight, there weren’t any amenity kits, no pajamas, and there were no menus. They also gave no indication that the satay service was the only meal service after takeoff. They also didn’t turn off the cabin lights even though everyone was sleeping. It was a bit strange.

Vegetable satay

I’m not a large person, but I did feel like the seat was pretty narrow. Just lying down on my back, my arms touched the sides of the seat. I think the throne seats may feel slightly narrower because they are enclosed on both sides.

I was woken up for breakfast two hours prior to landing, even though I wasn’t asked if I wanted to be woken up. For the pre-arrival AVML, I had a fruit plate and pastry to start (the thing in the corner is some sort of jello dessert). The fruit plate was pretty good.

Asian Vegetarian meal

The entree for the Asian Vegetarian meal was some sort of croquette with marinara sauce and paneer and pepper skewers. This was fine.

Asian vegetarian meal

Overall, the hard product on this flight was vastly improved from MH’s previous business class on the A330, but the soft product left a lot to be desired. Like I don’t understand why there weren’t menus, I wish flight attendants had asked if you wanted to be woken up for breakfast, I wish the flight attendants made it easier to sleep (e.g., by turning off the cabin lights), etc.

Review: Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class Boeing 737-800 NRT to PEK

Regional business class on Japan Airlines usually isn’t too exciting. There were three rows of business class in a 2-2 configuration of large recliner seats. The seats were comfortable with plenty of pitch. The seats themselves looked newly reupholstered, but the rest of the plane seemed a little old. (Apologies for the poor quality photos in this post, but my camera went kaput on this trip)

Business class seat

Plenty of leg room

Seat controls

The IFE system was in the center console, with a tray table in the other armrest. There were slippers, headphones, immigration forms for China, menus, and a blanket at the seat already. The headphones were not great, and the blanket was thin and similar to what you’d get on a domestic US flight. There were also air vents on the plane, which was nice.

IFE screen

Food menu

Drink menu

After takeoff, the flight attendants handed out some packaged snacks and drinks prior to the meals service. Natto can be an… acquired taste, but I found the dry natto snack to be pretty tasty!

Drink and packaged snacks

For my meal, I had pre-ordered a special VJML meal (vegetarian Jain meal). This was not very good. There were some cold vegetables and mushrooms as an appetizer and then rice, cauliflower, and eggplant as a main. It’s particularly disappointing since I think JAL’s typical catering is usually quite good, but their special meal catering seems to be pretty subpar.

VJML

After the meal service, I napped for about 1.5 hours. The recline on these seats is actually quite generous, although I probably wouldn’t want to do a red-eye in them.

Overall, JAL regional business class isn’t too exciting. It’s maybe a step up from domestic US business class.

Review: Japan Airlines (JAL) Business Class Boeing 777-300ER LAX to NRT

I’d flown on JAL’s Boeing 777-300ER a couple of times in first class, but this was my first time flying this plane in business class. Overall, it’s a great product hard product for business class.

My connecting flight to this flight was delayed, so my 1h 40m layover turned into a 40m layover, and I needed to get from Terminal 6 to TBIT at LAX. I was ready to sprint off the plane at LAX, but when I get off the jet bridge, there was a JAL representative waiting for me. We ran together from Terminal 6 to Terminal 5 underground, and then we got a buggy to take us from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4, and then we ran through Terminal 4 to get to the TBIT airside connector, at which point we walked to the gate, all in time for boarding to start. I felt bad for the JAL representative who had to run so far with me.

Business class is in a 2-3-2 configuration, which sounds like it should be a tight squeeze, but the seats are awesome. There’s a ton of privacy for the window seats (and middle seats in the center) once the privacy partitions go up, and you get three windows at the window seats. I also love the fact that your feet/legs aren’t constrained at all, like they are on many forward-facing business class seats (and some reverse herringbone seats).

Business class cabin

Business class seat (headphones and slippers on seat already)

Aisle seat

View across cabin

IFE screen and ottoman

One thing that I appreciate about JAL is their seat guides. They’re helpful in figuring out all of the hidden features of the seat. There isn’t a ton of storage for these seats except under the ottoman, which is probably my only fault of these seats (and, well, maybe the lack of air vents).

Guide explaing the seat

I also appreciate that they give out slippers. Slippers are one of my favorite airplane amenities. The headphones could be more comfortable, but they were at least nominally noise-canceling. The pillow and blanket were decidedly mediocre, though. One design feature that I appreciate is that the dining tray swivels so you can get in and out of your seat during meal service without having to clean everything up.

Amenity kit, slippers, headphones

The IFE screen is quite large at 23 inches and had good picture quality. If you’re disappointed by the selection of American films, I might recommend checking out the subtitled Japanese films and TV shows. I love the show, “Why did you come to Japan”, which I essentially only ever watch when flying JAL.

IFE controller

Menu

Menu

Menu

I had pre-ordered a VJML or a Jain vegetarian meal. The amuse bouche was hummus and vegetables, which was pretty tasty! So much better than just plain cold vegetables.

Hummus and vegetables

The VJML appetizer was a salad of fennel, cucumber, peppers stuffed with mushroom, and asparagus. This was okay if you like these things.

Fennel, cucumber, pepper stuffed with mushroom, asparagus

The main was lentils, okra, and rice. This was spicy, but otherwise had little flavor. I think that JAL generally has some of the best food in the sky, but their special meals aren’t very good.

Lentils, okra, rice

After dinner, I put the seat in bed mode. If the seat were a bit wider and had better bedding, it would be like a first class seat.

Seat in lie-flat position

During the flight, the flight attendants set up some Japanese snacks, chocolates, and wine in the galley.

Snack display

There’s no set second meal service. Everything is on demand, and you can usually order things through the handheld IFE controller. First up, I had the ramen. This was really delicious. Probably the best vegetarian ramen I’ve ever had. Super flavorful, tasty mushrooms, and the noodles weren’t overcooked (impressive on a plane!).

JAL Original Healthy Ramen Noodles from Kyusyu “Kyushu Jangara”

I also had the vegetable curry. This was mostly chickpeas and onions. Also very tasty, but it’s unclear to me if this is actually vegetarian, even though it was described as a vegetable curry.

JAL Original Vegetable Curry

Finally, I had my catered special meal. There was both a snack in the form of a sandwich of cucumber, tomato, and basil, as well as a hot meal of chickpeas, okra, and rice. The ramen and curry were much tastier than this special meal.

More chickpeas, okra, and rice, as well as sandwich of cucumber, tomato, and basil

Overall, this was a good flight. It’s a great hard product, and I think JAL has some of the tastiest food in the sky (albeit the special meals are not great). English proficiency wasn’t great on this flight, but there weren’t any faults to the service.

Flight Review: Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 AUH to JFK

A couple of notes about this flight. First, there’s pre-clearance at Abu Dhabi, which means that you essentially clear immigration in Abu Dhabi and land as a “domestic” flight in the US. This unfortunately means that you have to leave the wonderful first class lounge much earlier than you normally would. Past pre-clearance, there’s a pretty basic lounge that’s too crowded (since all premium class passengers have access), so don’t leave too early.

Second, the flight leaves in the middle of the night (posted departure time for my flight was 3:20, and it was delayed). I was really struggling to stay awake, so I found this flight a little rough to take.

Third, I had really high expectations for this flight, given that this is supposed to be a revolutionary first class product. While the hard product is pretty great, I was pretty disappointed by the flight overall.

Etihad A380

Boarding was a zoo. There were not nearly enough seats at the gate, and the gate agents had a hard time wrangling people. They also didn’t really do any sort of announcements regarding the fact that the flight was delayed, so they didn’t seem to be managing the situation very well.

This flight was completely full in first class, and the Residence was occupied. This could have contributed to my service issues on this flight, as I don’t think there are enough flight attendants for a completely full cabin. There’s a lot to get done in terms of welcoming people, explaining the features of the “apartment”, giving out pre-departure beverages and dates and coffee, etc, so I felt forgotten most of the time.

That being said, the hard product is pretty cool. There’s a full seat, as well as a couch of sorts that becomes the bed. So there’s tons of space dedicated to each passenger.

Seat

Seat

First class apartment

First class apartment

Arm rest

Seat controls

Lighting

Sofa

In terms of amenities, the pajamas were light, but they didn’t seem to be very high quality, and they didn’t fit very well (I wasn’t given a choice of size). The pants also didn’t have pockets. My favorite airline pajamas are still Cathay Pacific’s PYE pajamas.

First class amenities

Seat

First class cabin

In terms of amenity kit, they provide you with a bag, and they had already taken out all of the amenities and put them into the mirror vanity at each seat. The bag itself did not seem to be all that special.

Vanity and amenity kit

Prior to departure, I received some water, a letter, a wet towel, and dates.

Pre-departure beverage, wet towel, dates

Letter

I’ll also note that we had a delay of an hour and 20 minutes on the plane, but we couldn’t use the in flight entertainment. I also couldn’t use the call button to get anyone’s attention, since the call button is in the IFE remote, which appeared to be disabled on the ground.

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

Menu

The tray table is pretty heavy and a bit unwieldy. In terms of storage, there are a couple of drawers, as well as a mini bar with chilled drinks (as opposed to the room temperature drinks you find on Qatar and Emirates). There’s also storage under the couch for bags and larger items.

Tray table

Storage

Storage

First class bed

Underseat storage

Headphones have a magnetic connection

Given how exhausted I was, I went to bed essentially immediately after takeoff. The bed is the couch, so the TV swivels out so you can watch TV in bed if you so wish. The bed is actually not that wide, it’s pretty hard, and you’re tilted slightly sideways because of the tilt of the plane. I felt like there could have been more pillows as well.

Bed

In-flight entertainment screen

Enclosed suite

I woke up much earlier than I wanted because of turbulence and because the cabin was super hot. I asked the flight attendants if they could do anything about the cabin temperature about 5 times, and each time they said they would do something, but nothing ever changed.

At that point, I had breakfast. One thing that’s nice about the separate bed and seat is that you don’t have to eat in bed. Now, the menu says that you can have “eggs made to order”, so I ordered some eggs fried over medium. And then I was told they didn’t have any whole eggs left, but they did have carton eggs, which means I could get eggs either scrambled or in an omelet. Another flight attendant then told me they don’t actually cater whole eggs on US-bound flights, so I don’t know what to believe.

I started off with a pastry basket, which included a croissant, pain au chocolat, and cinnamon snail. The pastries were overheated, so the texture was a bit off.

PastriesMy scrambled eggs came with some hash browns on the side, which were super soggy and oily. At this point, I rang the call button, which just went unanswered (the only other time this has happened to me was on a Qantas first class flight where I essentially had to bus my own dishes because the flight attendants kept ignoring me).

Scrambled eggs

Fruit plate

I ended up taking a shower about two hours prior to landing. Make sure to tell the flight attendant early during boarding when you’d like to shower if it’s a full flight! The shower was easily the best part of the flight, as it makes me feel super refreshed.

Although the bathroom is pretty small, the shower itself was pretty spacious. It’s not as nice or palatial as the Emirates shower, but it’s still amazing, and you get 5 minutes of water.

Bathroom

Shower time

After my shower, I had another meal. Although I had pre-ordered a VGML, the onboard chef told me that the special meal was pretty shitty, so he offered to whip up something better. I started off with some lima beans and dried tomato. Pretty flavorless by itself, but I added some olive oil to give it some taste.

Lima beans and dried tomatoes

I was then brought the green pea and mint soup, which I didn’t order. I don’t think this was intentional, as they later brought me the correct soup. This was fine.

Green pea and mint soup

Next came the soup that I did order, which was the spinach and lentil soup. It was more like a liquidy puree. Originally, I was served this course without a soon, and then the flight attendant gave me some lemon about 10 minutes after they gave me the soup, so I’m not sure if they were supposed to have been served together.

Spinach and green lentil soup

Next up was a grapefruit granita as a palate cleanser. This was super icy and pretty much inedible.

Grapefruit granita

My main was a rice pilaf with ratatouille, garnished with truffle oil. This was pretty tasty, if basic.

Rice pilaf with ratatouille

Finally, I had the “textures” dessert, which was chocolate four ways. This was easily the best thing I ate on the plane.

Chocolate four ways

Honestly, I felt like the service was pretty bad on this flight. I think it’s largely because there weren’t enough flight attendants for the number of passengers and the amount of service that each passenger needed. Like my requests would just go unfulfilled, call buttons would go unanswered, and the flight attendants seemed constantly harried. This seemed like such a stark contrast compared to my wonderful service experience in the First Class lounge. A flight attendant asked me as we were preparing for landing how my flight was, and when she sensed that I wasn’t super impressed with the service, she tried to ply me with sweets.

Tea and sweets

Overall, the hard product is pretty fun. It’s nice to have an “apartment” (even if it’s gimmicky), and it’s great to have a shower on board. That being said, I find Cathay Pacific’s bed to be more comfortable (and Lufthansa’s old separate seat and bed in first class on the 747 to be the most comfortable bed I’ve slept in on a plane), and Emirates has a better shower. The biggest let down on this flight was the service, but I think that was a function more of the completely full first class cabin (including the Residence), rather than the flight attendants themselves. So not a stellar flight due to the bad service, but it’s fun to try.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 DOH to AUH

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

Qatar A320

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.

Menu

Drink menu

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.

Flight Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Guangzhou to Doha (CAN to DOH)

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.

Crowd waiting to board


Qatar’s A380

Qatar puts their first class cabin on the upper deck, so I climbed the stairs at the front of the plane.

Up to the first class cabin on the upper deck

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.

First class seat

View across the cabin

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.

IFE screen and ottoman

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.

Storage space at front of cabin


Seat closet


Storage space


Headphones and seat controls


Snacks at  front of cabin

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.

Bathroom


Bathroom


Bathroom amenities

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.

Lemon mint drink and snack prior to departure


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Menu


Arabic coffee and date

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.

Warm nuts and rose


Caviar service

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.

Bread and butter

Next, I had the Arabic mezze, which was served with warm pita. Quite tasty.

Arabic mezze

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.

AVML

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.

Tea and chocolates


Alcohol selection


Bar snacks


Bar snacks


Bar snacks


Bar


Champagnes at the bar


Snack basket

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.

Pillows


Bed

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.

Bread and apple and rocket (arugula) energizer


Muesli


Fruit

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.