We may have been more excited when boarding the plane in Doha than boarding in Oslo because the route to Sydney is served by the Airbus A380 planes, one of my favourites. Adding to the privilege of the upper floor boarding, this plane has a stunning bar that comes with an enthusiastic, and in our case, a smile from ear to ear bartender who was begging for mixing cocktails to us. I was grateful to have a long enough flight to enjoy the pampering.
But let’s not jump forward. After leaving the lounge and following some wandering in the duty free shops, we made our way to the gate. Its size reflected the size of the plane, the economy passengers had three boarding desks and the premium passengers had their own designated area. Since the premium cabins are situated on the upper floor, we climbed the ramps for the very first time in our life.
On the upper floor the first class cabin is on the left, the business is on the right, so we turned right to get to our seats. The size of the cabin is much bigger than on other planes, here it can accommodate 48 passengers in 12 rows. Note, there is a tiny economy cabin at the aft of the plane, reserved for silver or higher tier level members of the Qatar Privilege Club or sapphire or emerald members of the Oneworld alliance.
The boarding more or less had the same ritual as the previous flight with the introductions, menus, welcome drinks and hot/cold towels. The seat was almost the same as on the B787 plane. On top of the amenity kit, pyjamas and slippers were handed out for this flight.
The amenity kit is a fancy Bric’s bag, containing a lip balm, a moisturiser cream, a face mist, socks and a blindfold. Just like on the previous flight, the toothbrushes and the razors with foam were stocked in the toilets. Soon after take-off we changed to the pyjamas (by the second time the right size), that had the worst pattern I have ever seen, but they served their purpose.
As soon as I could, I ran to the aft to check the empty bar area, but the flight attendant suggested me taking photos after everything is prepared. He was right, it looked much better after the preparations.
Dinner, by the way. I was planning to have a three-course meal which actually ended up containing four courses with the surprise amuse bouche. Well, the portions are so massive that I could have stopped after the starter, however it may have been the result of leaving the lounge with full tummy only one or two hours before. Admittedly I found really comfy and wrinkle reducing that free meals and drinks were in hand throughout the whole travel.
I may have not mentioned before that on Qatar Airways flights the meals land one by one on a laid table (plus you get another napkin placed on your lap). You will not find plastic trays or trolleys in the premium cabin. Some other airlines could learn from it, especially one where the salad is served under wrapping foil. It may seem to be a “first world problem” but seeing the price tag, people can expect a minimum level of service.
After dinner we visited the on-board bar that had been fully set up by that time. An S-shape bar rules the middle of the space, surrounded by sofas under the windows. Latter ones are equipped with seatbelts. The drink collection is displayed on the rear bulk head and the nibbles, including but not limited to fruits; canapes; olives; nuts; crisps and chocolate bars, are placed on the bar. Well, very impressive, indeed. Though I know the layout of the Emirates on-board bar from videos only, I find the design of the Qatar Airways “enterior” more appealing. The chatty bartender kept offering various cocktails and of course invited us behind the bar to pose for a photo.
After having an espresso martini we returned to our seats to watch a movie before going to sleep. Before brushing my teeth I asked the flight attendant to prepare my seat for a sleep. I was not disappointed when I got back to my seat. The seat, the pillow and the blanket got dressed up, the airbag equipped seatbelt (!) got neatly arranged on top of it and an extra bottle of water, a hot towel, warm nuts and some chocolate bonbons were placed on my side table. Wow, I could get used to this service.
While I am sleeping, I tell you that the only thing I was not fully delighted by is the variety of the on-board entertainment system. On Emirates I had no problem to select three-four movies to watch, on Qatar I was struggling finding one I had not seen before and of interest to me, despite not being a huge movie watcher.
The Airbus A380s are equipped with three on-board cameras: a belly-cam; a tail-cam and a front wheel cam. These make the take-off and landings more interesting, especially in case of a side wind. On top of this, there is an interactive map to follow the route and check the flight parameters.
After a good five hour sleep I woke up relatively relaxed. I asked for a drink and ordered my breakfast which was I have no idea what, according to the real-world time. By that time I completely lost my time sense, I had no idea what time it was and especially in what time zone. But I could not care less, while I was sipping my drinks and watching the movies until landing.
My parents later told me they were following the plane online from take-off and they found it very long and tiring. Even after going to work then to get back home, the plane was at the west coast of Australia.
In the next post we finally arrive and wander around Sydney.
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