Qatar Airways Announces New Route with A380 First Class!

Qatar Airways only offers a First Class cabin on their A380, which also feature a bar (“The Lounge”) for Business and First Class passengers. However, Qatar only flies the A380 to a handful of destination, meaning only a small subset of their flights feature a true First Class product.

Qatar Airways A380 First Class seat. Qatar/Flickr

Qatar Airways A380 First Class seat. Qatar/Flickr

But it looks like Qatar is ready to launch a new destination with the A380 service. The airline has announced that starting June 30, 2017, they will be flying the A380 between Doha (DOH) and Melbourne (MEL). The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Doha (DOH) – Melbourne (MEL): QR904 – 2050/1720+1
  • Melbourne (MEL) – Doha (DOH):  QR905 – 2205/0525+1
Qatar Airways A380. Qatar/Flickr

Qatar Airways A380. Qatar/Flickr

These flights are already bookable, and award availability is actually pretty good far in advance. For example, you can find 2 seats in First Class on most dates in October 2017.

Award availability on the Qatar Airways A380 is decent in First Class for flights toward the end of schedule.

Award availability on the Qatar Airways A380 is decent in First Class for flights toward the end of schedule.

With the addition of Melbourne, Qatar will soon fly the A380 to a total of six destinations: Bangkok, Guangzhou, London, Paris, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Qatar Airways will soon serve a total of 6 destinations with the A380, which feature a First Class product.

Qatar Airways will soon serve a total of 6 destinations with the A380, which feature a First Class product.

For those hoping to redeem miles on Qatar Airways A380 in First Class, this is what American Airlines charges:

  • 50,000 AA miles: Doha – Bangkok or Guangzhou
  • 62,500 AA miles: Doha – London or Paris
  • 100,000 AA miles: Doha – Sydney or Melbourne (begins June 30, 2017)

I think you will get the best “bang for your buck,” however, on a Europe – Australia routing. American’s routing rules allow you to transit through Doha (on Qatar) or Dubai (on Qantas) for travel between these two regions. A a result, you can redeem just 115,000 Advantage miles for Qatar Airways A380 First Class from Europe to Australia.

You are also allowed to route through Doha for itineraries between Europe and Asia, so you can redeem 90,000 AA miles for say, London – Doha – Bangkok and fly First Class the entire way through.

While Qatar only has a handful of A380, they do seem to be paying attention to their the First Class product. Just earlier this year, they rolled out a new amenity kit for First Class passengers, and they do have a dedicated First Class lounge in their Doha hub. For the most part, I’d expect their forward-most cabin to stick around for a bit. However, with the CEO really vocal about First Class going away, perhaps First Class will really become obsolete one day (I’d take that with a grain bucket of salt).

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