Qatar First Class: The Complete Guide

Qatar Airways may be better known for its business class Qsuite, but its first class cabin is more luxurious.
Elina Geller
Bethany Walsh
By Bethany Walsh and  Elina Geller 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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Qatar Airways is Qatar’s national airline and, via its Doha hub, flies to more than 170 international destinations. The carrier is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, which means that passengers have access to more than 900 destinations due to the alliance’s global reach.

The airline offers a luxurious first class product that includes premium dining, spacious lie-flat seats, ample entertainment and a bar on board. Here’s what you need to know about Qatar’s first class, including the flight experience and how to book it with miles.

What to expect flying Qatar Airways first class

Expect excellent service, access to the world-renowned first class lounge (Al Safwa First Lounge at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar), a sizable baggage allowance, and lavish onboard extras, like the bar, exclusive amenity kits, luxurious pajamas and more.

Baggage allowance

The Qatar Airways first class baggage allowance permits up to two carry-on bags totaling up to 33 pounds. For checked luggage, the number and weight of bags you’re allowed depends on the route you’re flying and the cabin class of the original ticket you purchased (as opposed to the cabin you end up flying).

First class passengers flying to or from the Americas or Africa are allowed to bring two bags up to 70 pounds each. For all other routes, first class passengers can bring as many bags as they want, as long as they do not exceed 110 pounds in total.

Boarding process

Qatar boards in zones, with first class passengers receiving priority. If you’re flying out of Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, you have a designated check-in section as a first class passenger. To reach the designated section, head to the Al Safwa First counter in row 1, which offers private seated check-in desks, a bellhop, concierge and some additional facilities.

Access to Al Safwa First Lounge and other lounges

First class passengers and Qatar Privilege Club Platinum elites flying in business can visit the Al Safwa First Lounge, which has a dedicated entrance right after immigration and security and is located on Level 3 at DOH.

The Al Safwa First Lounge is luxuriously appointed and provides many amenities like a cinematic media room, a 250-seat restaurant offering high-end dining, various spaces to sit and relax and the Qspa. The Qspa has nine treatment rooms, a thermal jacuzzi and a relaxation room.

In addition, first class passengers have access to all of the first and business class lounges offered by Qatar, plus over 600 Oneworld alliance member airline lounges around the world.

Qatar A380 first class layout and seats

Qatar first class is only available on the A380 double-decker aircraft. The first class cabin has only eight seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing aisle access for every seat. There are also aisle dividers, which can be raised or lowered.

When in the seated position, Qatar's first class seats are 23 inches wide between armrests. They fully recline to flat beds that measure 81 inches long and 33 inches wide. Each seat offers electrical window shades that can be controlled from the seat and a 26-inch entertainment screen with plenty of options.

Food and beverage options

The Qatar Airways first class food and drink options are luxurious and plentiful. Passengers receive caviar served on Italian crystal dishes, along with oven-fresh breads and various olive oils. Other dining options include fresh appetizers, entrees and dessert.

First class offers an on-demand a la carte menu so you can eat whenever you’d like.

Lounge on board the A380

An on-board lounge is a special feature of the A380. The lounge offers first and business class passengers a place to sit, relax, eat and enjoy some drinks. So, if you’re bored of just sitting and luxuriating in your seat, you can head over to the lounge to mingle and walk around.

How to book Qatar Airways first class with cash

Currently, Qatar first class is available on four routes. So if you want to experience first class on the A380, you’ll need to book a flight between these destinations.

  • Doha (DOH) - London (LHR).

  • Doha (DOH) - Paris (CDG).

  • Doha (DOH) - Bangkok (BKK).

  • Doha (DOH) - Sydney (SYD).

Booking a first class ticket with Qatar Airways is pretty straightforward, as you can complete the entire process online. From the Qatar Airways homepage, select the Book option and then choose flights. Enter your preferred route and travel dates, mark your cabin preference as Premium and click Show Flights.

This will bring up a list of available flights so you can see your booking options. Here’s an available one-way first class ticket, which costs a whopping $6,935.

If you want to experience Qatar’s first class, you also can book it with miles and save yourself a lot of cash.

How to book Qatar award flights in first class

You can book a Qatar first class award ticket on Qatar’s website or through a Oneworld partner airline.

Use Qatar Avios to book first class

The easiest way to book a first class award ticket is by using your Qatar Avios. You will first need to log into your Privilege Club account, which is Qatar’s frequent flyer program. To see how many Avios you will need, use the calculator provided on Qatar’s website.

An example award search from Bangkok to Doha reveals that it costs 64,500 Avios for a first class seat. Notably, the website also mentions that award redemptions are not currently available on flights to/from London. This is disappointing to read, since that leaves only three routes for first class award tickets.

The calculator shows that a first class award from Bangkok to Doha prices out at 75,000 Avios, and the Sydney to Doha flight costs 105,000 Avios.

Here’s an example award search from Bangkok to Doha, which shows the ticket price in Avios along with any associated taxes. The award flight costs 75,000 Avios + $94 in taxes.

If you don’t have any Avios with Qatar, you can still book this award as long as you have Citi ThankYou points or Marriott Bonvoy points, which you can convert into Qatar Avios. Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio and Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio. When you transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to Qatar, you will get an extra 5,000 Qatar Avios every time you transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, resulting in 25,000 Qatar miles.

In addition, since Qatar and British Airways both use Avios, you can link your accounts to combine your Avios balances. So if you have a lot of Avios with British Airways, by combining your accounts, you can book award tickets on Qatar’s website.

Book Qatar first class with Oneworld partner airlines

You also can book Qatar award tickets on American Airlines, British Airways or Alaska Airlines. These Oneworld airline partners show Qatar awards on its website, resulting in a straightforward booking process.

American Airlines AAdvantage award ticket

Here’s an example flight search on American Airlines showing the same flight from Bangkok to Doha. Priced at 50,000 AAdvantage miles + $24 in taxes, booking this flight on American Airlines is much cheaper than on Qatar’s website.

British Airways Avios award ticket

On British Airways, which also uses Avios, the price of the flight (75,000 Avios + $94 in taxes) is identical to what is displayed on Qatar’s website.

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan award ticket

If you want to use your Alaska MileagePlan miles, it will cost you 100,000 miles + $37 in taxes. Booking with Alaska is the most expensive option.

Take advantage of a Qatar Airways stopover

Qatar Airways has an extremely generous stopover program for passengers who transit through Doha. Not only do the free stopovers include a free visa, but they also allow you to select either a 4- or 5-star hotel from one to four nights at great rates.

Currently, you can enjoy a stopover at a 4-star hotel for as little as $14 per night, and if you decide to stay two nights, your nightly hotel cost drops to $11 per night.

Final thoughts on flying Qatar Airways first class

Though Qatar Airways is best known for Qsuite — its ultra-luxurious business class offering — you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to book its exclusive first class cabin, especially if you’re transiting through the Middle East.

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