When done right, traveling can be the most glamorous of affairs, and nobody knows this better than Qatar Airways. A weighted name within the wider luxury travel industry, Qatar Airways is often ranked as one of the best aviation experiences across the world, and its First Class is one of the most esteemed.
With even the Economy seats providing ample legroom, complimentary travel kits, and generous food and drink offerings throughout the journey, Qatar Airways First Class was always going to emerge a head above the competition in the pursuit of the ultimate luxury flying experience.
So what can we expect from the lounge? A step up from the renowned business class ‘Qsuite’ – already quite the extraordinary affair of luxury travel, setting the industry’s standard – Qatar Airways First Class is so exclusive it is only available on a selection of the airline’s airplanes.
Promising “unparalleled comfort” and “complete privacy”, Qatar Airways was presented with a challenge when constructing its highest tier of luxury: how to improve on the Qsuite, first launched in 2017, which already boasted details and amenities that other airlines would only service within their own first class? Elite Traveler has researched all you need to know about Qatar Airways First Class.
Let’s start with the beginning of the journey; the Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge. The space, which is located in the airline’s home of Doha International Airport, at times feels more like a state-of-the-art museum.
This isn’t necessarily coincidental: the architects drew inspiration from Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art, reflected in the marble and sandstone detailing. Further highlighting the relationship with the city’s finest gallery and the airline is a collection of Islamic fine art installations and artefacts, which are on loan.
The lounge, universally considered one of the best internationally for luxury treatment and service, has a lot to offer. Perhaps too much, if you’d like to sample absolutely everything within the two or so hours spent in pre-departure. From a luxury spa to a cinema room, hot tubs to a full business center, the lounge is not only one of the finest across the world, but perhaps the most exclusive: typically, only first class passengers can get in. Otherwise, you must be flying business class and willing to fork out $165 (600 QAR) for a six-hour pass.
Whilst Qatar Airways First Class features will differ somewhat between the models of airplanes used – in this case, the double-decker A380 and the smaller 777 – the benefits and overall experience maintain the same standard of dedicated excellence.
Prioritizing privacy and uncompromising in their commitment to comfort, the First Class cabin is designed with all needs in mind, whether that be a good night’s sleep or a functioning workspace. Gorgeously designed with themes of Qatar’s signature burgundy contrasting against light grey, Qatar Airways sidelines the glitz and gold favored by competing Middle Eastern aircraft for a visual experience that feels both modern and embracing.
With the A380, First Class is located in front of the upper deck, with the seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. With the 777, however, the six seats available are organized in a 1-1-1 position, with the most private seats situated in the ‘A’ aisle; these are granted a divider to separate the seats from the rest of the cabin.
Amenities provided by Qatar Airways feature complimentary gifts that include The White Company pajamas and slippers, and the recent edition of an amenity kit partnership with French perfumer Diptyque.
Food and Drink
Perhaps the most fabulous aspect of the Qatar Airways luxury experience is the bar, which oozes effortless elegance and intrinsic attention to detail. Open to both first class and business class passengers, the bar is lauded by travelers as being the best in the business. Located towards the back of the A380’s upper deck, it is a wonderful space that is awe-inspiring in scope.
And the food and beverages served meet the standard set by the First Class bar. Offering a plethora of options catering for a spectrum of dietary requirements, the quality of the a la carte menu refuses to disappoint, for a gastronomic experience that feels more akin to a Michelin star restaurant than a long-haul flight.