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Step inside Qatar Airways' Airbus A380 for a look at the Gulf carrier's new first class and business class cabin, the inflight bar and even the bathrooms.
Qatar's first A380 will begin flights to London and Paris in October, but Australian Business Traveller enjoyed a first-hand look of the Gulf carrier's superjumbo during its official delivery from Airbus.
Airbus rolled out the red carpet for a select group of international media to take a tip-to-tail tour of Qatar's shiny new superjumbo.
The configuration is relatively standard: first class, business class and a lounge/bar on the top deck, along with a small economy cabin to the very rear, while the entire lower deck is given over to economy.
Qatar's A380 first class
The upper deck of Qatar's A380 includes eight elegant first class suites.
Theer are two rows of a 1-2-1 layout, and each seat is an exceptional 58cm (23 inches) wide, covered in a soft woven fabric, while suite trimmings include leather and touches of engraved copper.
Each seat converts to a fully flat 2.2 metre (90 inch) bed, seen here with the privacy screen raised between the middle pair of seats.
There's also a 26 inch (48cm) personal HD video screen with a 3.8 inch touchscreen controller...
... and beneath this, a bench which doubles as a companion dining seat.
Each passenger gets their own wardrobe, with pockets containing slippers and the amenity kit.
The amenity kit contains Giorgio Armani products.
Clever touches abound, such as this little LED reading light built into the edge of the headrest.
The safety card and inflight magazines live in this pocket hidden under a flap in the armrest.
There's a decent-sized side table...
... while the meal table folds out from just ahead of this, and just below a classy little lamp which adds a dash of ambience.
In all, Qatar's new first class – which the airline says will eventually be the only first class in its fleet – is a rich yet pleasing restrained design with quality touches and attention to detail.
The A380's two exclusive first class bathrooms "create a spa-like warmth with contemporary clean lines and a finish that comes with the most luxurious amenities", the airline preens.
The taps are sensor-operated, and we've got to admit that it's a pleasure to see a generously-sized sink.
At one end is a recessed space for hanging your clothes while you change into or out of Qatar's first class pyjamas.
Ample toiletries are on hand.
But when you look around the loo, it dawns upon you that something's missing – the lav itself.
It's actually concealed under one of the wide padded benches,
Qatar's A380 Premium Lounge
Tucked away towards the rear of the A380's upper deck is a spacious inflight lounge and bar with a snaking centrepiece.
Qatar says the lounge not only "offers passengers an escape from the typical airplane environment" but has been designed to exude the feel of a private "executive club".
Business and first class passengers can relax on several deep, sinuous and very comfortable benches.
Qatar's A380 business class
Most of the upper deck is home to 48 business class seats featuring a near-identical design to their siblings on Qatar's Boeing 787 fleet.
These are impressive seats which rate among the world's best business class.
Here's how they look front-on in Qatar's Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Like first class, this is a 1-2-1 arrangement.
But instead of the seats all facing forward, those by the window are angled towards the view...
... while the middle pairs are angled towards the centre line of the aircraft.
There's a lot to like about this design, apart from obvious traits such as direct aisle access for every passenger.
For starters, there's plenty of legroom.
The 55cm (22 inch) wide seats are very comfortable in a standard recline...
... or as a 2 metre (80 inch) fully lie-flat bed.
But what you notice most is how much thought's gone into the design.
For example, there's an insane amount of storage space for all the carry-on kit you want to keep close at hand rather than stash into an overhead luggage bin.
First up are two side table areas: one right at your elbow, and another smaller one just ahead of that.
Under that smaller table is a deep bin where you can stash your shoes (or anything else that fits).
A similar cubby on the other side of the seat contains a water bottle and your Qatar-issued noise cancelling headphones.
The headphone socket is situated just behind the seat control panel at the egde of the smaller side table, which is not only within easy reach but faces the passenger.
And you can fiddle with the seat's settings until you've got everything just right.
Inflight entertainment is courtesy of the 17 inch HD display, which comes with a touchscreen controller housed in the edge of the main table – again, a very user-friendly location.
If you've brought your own tech, you'll find AC power and USB ports in a recessed panel beneath the larger side table.
And when it's time to eat, or work on your laptop, the dining table is one of the largest in the skies.
Our time on board Qatar's A380 also revealed that the best business class seats will probably be those in the front row.
The window seats have access to a large drawer and a hatch just before the bulkhead.
Got one of the middle seats? The tall monument under this display panel is hollow...
... providing stacks of space for yet more carry-on gear.
Qatar's A380 economy class
Qatar has split the 461 economy seats of its A380 over both decks.
While they all share the same 32 inch pitch and are 18.5 inches wide, the seats you'll want are the 56 to be found at the very rear of the upper deck.
The seats here are arranged 2-4-2 (eight abreast) instead of the 3-4-3 (ten abreast) of the lower deck, while passengers by the window have access to deep stowage bins.
Qatar will cannily allocate these upstairs economy seats as first priority to top-tier Platinum members of its Privilege Club frequent flyer scheme as well as Oneworld partner airlines including Qantas and British Airways.
Downstairs it's economy all the way...
Every passenger gets a 10.6 inch screen with an inbuilt USB port.
Qatar's first Airbus A380 will fly between Doha and London in October 10, with Paris set to follow in the same month.
David Flynn is visiting Hamburg as a guest of Airbus.
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