It’s always a little bit awkward when you have to shuffle through business class to get to your economy plane seat and you see those lucky few sipping champagnes with their extra legroom and spacious seats. And I’m sure business class flyers aren’t a fan of being ogled at by their curious fellow passengers either – enter Qatar Airways’ A380.
Qatar Airways’ A380 offers a business class experience like no other. Located on the upper deck of the plane, this area is exclusively for business class passengers and has a separate entrance away from the boarding queues. Luckily for me, on a recent trip from Doha to Melbourne, Qatar Airways invited Luxury Escapes to experience this ultra-glam way to travel and it certainly did not disappoint!
With a lengthy five-hour stopover to endure as I waited for my flight from Doha to Melbourne, the allure of Qatar’s Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge was a welcomed break from pacing around the abundance of duty-free shops.
Arabian heritage and modern flair collide in this 10,000sqm, two-storey lounge (the size of ten Olympic swimming pools!) that features high ceilings and plenty of hidden nooks where you can unwind. Admittedly, even five hours weren’t enough to explore everything the lounge has to offer and in between a champagne here and a bite to eat there, the minutes actually flew pretty quickly.
As per the unwritten international rules of an airport, time simply does not exist within the walls of the departure lounge. And that is exactly why, at 6am, I head straight to the lounge’s bar to sample a fizzing glass of brut with my fellow timezone nomads who were passing no judgement as they sipped their whisky cocktails and morning G&Ts.
Probably quite wisely, I paired my champers with one of the lounges breakfast sandwiches: a chicken mortadella ciabatta with sundried tomato mayo. I’m told that the restaurant upstairs features a continental and oriental brasserie and a global deli, but I’m happy where I am.
Two glasses of bubbles down and it’s time for some alone time. While the lounge offers plenty of places to tuck yourself away, I’m craving the absolute silence of the ‘Quiet Area’. The lady behind the counter checks me in and whisks me away to my own private room complete with cosy, brown leather sofa and TV screen showing departure times. She advises me to set an alarm in case I nod off (great advice) and brought me some green tea and a fruit platter. A few YouTube videos and a lot of fresh melon later, it was time to board…
Seat 10E. My home for the next 13 hours and 45 minutes. The onboard sommelier hands me a welcome glass of champagne as I play with my seat’s control pad and plan which movies I’m going to watch before I try and sleep.
The onboard general manager makes her way through the cabin greeting each guest personally by name and recommending dishes from the à la carte menu. Guests in business class can choose to dine whenever they want from an extensive menu prepared by the onboard chef.
Shortly after take off my potato and leek soup arrives followed by chicken maqlooba with aubergine rice and crispy onions, and then banoffee pudding. All served with a glass of Australian Shiraz, that the hostess paired with my food, and Black Panther on widescreen.
Slipping away to change into the pyjamas provided by the airline in partnership with The White Company, the hostess turns my seat into a cosy flat bed complete with comforter, blanket and fluffy pillow. Rummaging through my luxe in-flight amenity kit designed by BRIC’s Milano, I pull out an eye mask and set of earplugs and settle in for my sleep.
Talk about comfort. An undisturbed eight hours later I awake and wander into the spacious onboard lounge for a fresh orange juice and leg stretch. Other passengers are already lounging around and tucking into the light counter snacks that are constantly replenished.
The pilot announces that we’re beginning our descent and I return to my seat as the general manager comes over to thank me for being a passenger and asks me how my chicken maqlooba was. It’s obvious why Qatar Airways’ service has won awards and I’ll definitely be back soon.
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