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Taking the Inaugural Bangkok A380 Flight on Qatar Airways

Discussion in 'Trip Experiences' started by vegli, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. vegli

    vegli Hangar Gold Member I

    Oct 12, 2012
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    United States United States
    Qatar First Class product on the A380. For our flight, there were no First Class passengers.

    The more that I fly the Airbus A380, the more I like the aircraft — as a passenger, but I am not so sure as an AvGeek. It is so smooth during take-off and landing, one might not even realize that they happened. Turbulence is mostly absorbed by the jumbo jet, making the flight smooth. The windows and walls are so thick, the aircraft stays quiet and passengers are removed from the flying experience.

    As an AvGeek, these are some of the reasons why I am not a huge fan of the A380. I want to feel the take-off, I enjoy a little turbulence, and I want to stay connected to the entire flight experience. But this doesn’t mean I cannot enjoy an A380 flight, especially when it is on a Qatar Airways aircraft with an impressive on-board product.

    Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 in flight – Photo: Clément Alloing | Flickr CC

    Recently, I was invited to participate in the inaugural Qatar A380 flight from Bangkok to Doha, and who am I to refuse? Overall, it was an amazing flight, but I wished it was a bit longer — it was only about six hours.

    One of the biggest disappointments I had regarding the flight was not being able to get an exterior shot of the A380. And believe it or not, that was partially due to both Bangkok and Doha airports being designed where photos are hard to get, and also because of the King of Thailand.

    Having some Krug in the Sky Lounge on the upper deck of the A380

    Now, I want to be respectful of the King, even while being in America. In Thailand they have something called lèse majesté, where one cannot talk bad about the King. If you do, you get to go to jail. It sort of puts a damper on your travel experience.

    You see, the day of the inaugural, December 5th, also happened to be the King’s birthday. It was cool to see all the decorations around Thailand, but one of the rules is that no one can try and upstage the King’s celebration. Included in this was not being able to celebrate an inaugural flight. This meant no balloons, no cupcakes, nothing more than a few signs around the airport that let anyone know that this was a special flight.

    Boarding on to the upper deck of the Qatar A380 in Bangkok

    Originally, I was set to get tarmac access to get photos of the A380, but that also was considered too much “celebrating” and was cancelled. So, indirectly because of the King of Thailand, I have no exterior photos of the A380 I flew on. At least there was enough eye-candy on the inside to keep me entertained.

    BONUS: Go in-depth with the Qatar Airways A380 experience on their website

    When I first boarded the aircraft, I made sure to run around and get as many photos as I could before passengers got in the way. My initial stop: First Class. Qatar’s high-end product is located at the front of the upper deck in an exclusive-feeling cabin.

    There are eight suites located in the Qatar First Class cabin

    The First Class product really gives passengers the feeling of space and exclusivity. There are only eight seats configured in a 1-2-1 layout. Even though that is the same as the Business Class, this product just feels wider and gives the passenger a much greater a sense of privacy.

    Each seat boasts a 26″ LED HDTV screen, with touchscreen remote. The seats have 83″ of pitch and are lie-flat. There are multiple plugs to keep your stuff charged, and connect to the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system.

    In the middle of the suite, there is a large tray table that pulls out, providing plenty of room to work, eat, or both at the same time. There is even a seat on the other side of the table, where two passengers can dine together, if they wish.

    The front left lavatory on the A380. There is another one exactly like it on the right.

    Sitting in the middle section, passengers have a seat right next to them which is a great choice if you are flying with someone that you know. But if it is a stranger and you do not feel like chatting, with a touch of a button a large security screen can be raised.

    topkatt333, VT-DGL and Brent Heiss like this.

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