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It might seem odd to plonk down thousands of dollars for a business class ticket and then spend very little time sitting or sleeping in that premium seat.
But on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380 there’s a good reason to decamp from the pointy end – it’s the elegant lounge and inflight bar which gives the 517-seat superjumbo an undeniably private jet vibe.
The sweeping design incorporates sofa-style seating for ten passengers, with elegant lighting and high-end finishes wrapped in a restrained colour pallete of woods, dusky caramel and burgundy.
It’s quite different approach to Emirates' in-flight bar (below).
There are softer materials, a warmer design and greater emphasis on the interaction of passengers rather than the bar itself being a local point – which is perhaps closer to the boutique feel of The Lobby on Etihad’s A380 (below).
For instance, Qatar's A380 bar isn’t really a place for standing around – passengers gravitate to the long snaking sofas, which could also make this a more comfortable environment for solo female business travellers to relax with a drink.
The curvaceous combo bar/lounge sits at the rear of the business class cabin on the A380’s upper deck.
(The bar’s location also puts it just ahead of a small 56 seat economy cabin, where passengers will be afforded tantalising glimpses through the curtain of life in the luxe lane.)
So why would you leave the comfy confines of your business class nook?
The spacious lounge offers an escape from the more commonplace airplane environment, plus some top shelf spirits if you'd like a tipple while you relax.
It also pours Krug champagne, which is a cut above the Billecart-Salmon and Taittinger Rose offered in the business class cabin – a significant drawcard to fans of the fizz.
The attendants can also whip up espresso coffee including a cappuccino or latte.
While there’s a small selection of appetisers served at the bar, simpler dishes from the business class menu – such as a cheese platter – can be delivered to the lounge instead of your seat.
I was pleasantly surprised to find AC power sockets at each end of the two window-side lounges for charging your laptop, although USB ports to top up your tablet would be a welcome addition.
Electronic window shades with two settings let you block the bright outside light to give the lounge a more, well, ‘lounge-like’ ambience.
Qatar Airways’ Airbus A380s currently fly from the airline’s home port of Doha to London, Paris and Bangkok, with New York tagged as a likely future route.
David Flynn travelled as a guest of Qatar Airways
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