Qatar Airways is one of the best airlines in terms of quality and luxury. Most of their planes are new with beautiful interiors, excellent entertainment units, and comfortable seats. For those reasons, Qatar is usually my first choice for rewards redemptions if I have enough miles. For this flight, I flew Qatar Airways business class on their A380 plane from Frankfurt to Doha using my American Airlines miles.
Qatar Airways is member of the OneWorld alliance which means that Qatar Airways award flights can be booked using OneWorld partners such as British Airways or American Airlines. For the longest time it was not possible to book Qatar Airways award flights at AA.com, but as of a few months ago, you can now book online.
In most cases, the redemption rates for Qatar Airways is less on American Airlines than on British Airways for longer distance flights. This is due to British Airways having a distance based award chart instead of a regional chart like American Airlines. However, also keep in mind British Airways passes on more surcharges than American Airlines.
The amount of American Airlines miles required for my flight route of FRA-DOH-MLE was 42,500 miles. This is a great mileage redemption rate considering the quality of the business class on Qatar Airways along with the total travel time being almost 13 hours.
If you are hoping to book an itinerary with the new Qsuites, keep in mind Qatar often will change aircraft types, even on the day of departure.
When I originally booked this itinerary, the FRA-DOH leg was an A350 with Qsuites and the DOH-MLE was also the A350 with Qsuites. A few months before departure, the FRA-DOH leg was changed to an A380 and the DOH-MLE route changed on the day of departure to an A350 with the old business class seat configuration.
Qatar Airways 68 Frankfurt (FRA) to Doha (DOH) Cabin: Business Class Seat: 19E Aircraft: A380 Flight Time: 6h
Plane Atmosphere (5/5)
As with most A380s, the business class cabin was huge with 48 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. First and business class cabins are located on the upper deck along with about 56 economy seats in the back.
The A380 is incredibly comfortable due to improvements to cabin pressure and humidity control. Additionally, even though this aircraft has four engines, they barely could be heard throughout the flight.
Qatar also invested in the advanced lighting package which changes colors during takeoff, cruising, and landing operations. This helps passengers with jet lag as the lighting transitions from day to night time configurations.
In-Flight Lounge (5/5)
While Emirates and Etihad also have lounges on their A380s, Qatar Airways has the best lounge in the skies. The decor is incredibly beautiful along with a well designed layout that feels a lot more spacious.
One thing I really didn’t like about the lounge on Etihad was it was right next to the galley, so you pretty much had flight attendants running back and forth through the lounge delivering food to passengers. On Qatar, this is not the case. For most of the flight it’s just you, the friendly bartender, and a few other passengers. There are also plenty of free snacks and fruit in the lounge!
When it comes to TV screens and aesthetics, the business class seats are top notch. The entertainment screen is large with high-resolution along with a touch screen remote. Also, the purple seat colors and wood accents feel very classy.
The only negatives about the seat is the lack of privacy (no walls) and the small foot well feeling a bit cramped. I assume the Qsuites solves these issues, but I wouldn’t know because they changed the aircraft at the last moment. While the seat was a bit narrow, I was still able to sleep on this flight.
In terms of flavor and variety, Qatar Airways has one of the best business class food offerings. The sweet corn saffron soup was interesting and the steak was delicious considering is was served on an airplane. Furthermore, the fake candle was a nice touch along with the fanciest silverware I’ve seen on a plane.
I’ve flown with Qatar Airways on several occasions and the service has always been consistently exceptional. The staff is well trained, courteous, friendly, and helpful. Even though the business class cabin was full with 48 passengers, the food was delivered efficiently and staff was always available.
One thing I don’t normally notice, but I did on this flight was that all the staff looked well groomed with professional looking haircuts. I wonder if Qatar Airways hires a professional hair stylist for the crew.
Also new for this flight was the BRIC’s amenity kits given to business class passengers. I’m not familiar with the brand. But the quality of the leather was the best I’ve ever seen for an amenity kit. I might actually use this one for more travels in the future.
In conclusion, Qatar Airways is one of the best airlines for not only Oneworld award redemptions but even for paid fares. The planes are new, food delicious, and staff professional with flights connecting in one of the best airports in the world at Doha. If you have an abundance of American Airlines miles, there aren’t many award redemption options that surpass flying on Qatar Airways.
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