Watch as TPG UK reviews all 3 classes on Qatar Airways’ A380
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Our team has temporarily ceased taking review trips and we are not publishing new flight or hotel reviews. While bringing our readers unbiased, detailed reviews of travel experiences is one of our core missions, now is not the time. We all love to travel and know you do too. So, to help keep you entertained — and maybe inspire you — we are publishing a video review that was filmed earlier this year. Hopefully, this will help you once we’re all ready to start booking trips again.
Earlier in 2020, some of the TPG U.K. crew jumped on board one of the best airlines in the world, Qatar Airways, on its biggest aircraft, the Airbus A380, from Doha (DOH) to Frankfurt (FRA).
We have lauded Qatar in the past for its fantastic Qsuite business-class product, winner of the 2019 TPG Award for best business class and found on several flights to the U.S. Far rarer, however, is Qatar’s first-class cabin. It only exists on the A380 aircraft, of which the airline only has 10 out of a fleet of well over 200. The A380s do not, unfortunately, feature the Qsuite — nor do they fly to Qatar’s U.S. destinations, under the airline’s current schedule. The closest you’ll find them is in London.
As with all flight reviews, we pay for our own travel. Check out our experience on board the A380 in the video review below.
(The surprised face below is TPG U.K.’s Social Media Editor Liam Spencer, whom the team told for months that he would be flying in economy. When he turned up at the check-in desk, he was in for the surprise of his life.)
First class: Liam Spencer
TPG paid: 51,500 Avios + £ 98.80 (about $120) tax
Average cash price: £4,177 (about $5,030)
Qatar is a Oneworld partner, so it is possible to earn and burn Avios and American Airlines miles on Qatar flights. Because the Doha to Frankfurt leg falls into a lower Executive Club mileage band than a flight to London (2,853 miles to Frankfurt, compared to 3,261 miles to London), a first-class ticket at 51,500 Avios is an absolute steal on this flight, considering the average cash ticket will run you more than £4,000.
The first-class experience began with a bang on the ground for Liam with an enormous airport lounge packed with features including spa service, a games room and a dedicated shopping mall.
On board he was shocked to learn that he had the entire first-class cabin to himself, which resulted in a totally unique, personalized experience. It was the best service he’d ever had. The crew went above and beyond to make him feel at home and engaged in fascinating, personable conversations.
He had the luxury of a huge private toilet and changing area and massive, comfy seat that could be adjusted exactly to his liking.
He did, however, think that the food, which wasn’t bad by any means, was not good-restaurant quality. The cabin often felt too hot, and his biggest complaint was that the length of the flight was only six hours — he wished it had been longer.
Business class: Jean Arnas
TPG paid: 38,750 Avios + £ 98.80 (about $120) tax
Average cash price: £2,763 (about $3,328)
Jean, our head of video in the U.K., loved that his window seat was not attached to another seat — it felt exclusive and had direct aisle access. He enjoyed the incredible bar and wonderful large chillout area, and in true Jean style, the plentiful delicious complimentary drinks. He also said the service was fast, professional and friendly.
On the flip side, he thought that the seat could have been more private. As it’s not a suite, the seat is open to the aisle. The Qatar Qsuite on some other aircraft blows this seat out the water. He was not particularly impressed by the food. Whilst the presentation, cutlery, plates and glasses were OK, the actual food itself was not exceptional.
Economy class: Nicky Kelvin
TPG paid: 13,000 Avios + £ 64.60 (about $78) tax
Average cash price: £550 (about $662)
I was surprised to find the economy breakfast (a tough meal for airlines to get right) rather delicious. My seat was spacious and comfortable, and the cabin felt spacious, too, with high ceilings and seats well spaced out. A highlight was the mini bottle of Tabasco — it’s the small things. You can’t get this in business class on some airlines.
I was also impressed by the entertainment setup with great touchscreens, a wide variety of movies and USB and plug sockets (universal plug sockets are rare in economy). The service was also quick and incredibly friendly.
On the downside, I thought a more substantial pillow and blanket would have improved the experience.
Overall, each member of the team on board was impressed by the product they flew, but for the whole experience, check out the video now on The Points Guy UK YouTube channel.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
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