After a long wait for borders to open and international travel to get back to normal, we’re finally made it on our honeymoon in July 2022!
The planning for the honeymoon took on a complexity like no other; guessing when Australia would lift the travel ban, guessing what the entry requirements were of the inbound European nations and the quarantine regime on return.
Initial flights booked with Cathay were cancelled due to the difficulty of transit via Hong Kong and then subsequent Finnair / JAL flights were impacted by closure of Russian airspace meant those flights shifted from different terminals in Japan making the transit impossible. We finally settled on flight from Perth to Doha and then from Doha onto Paris as the safest way to get to Europe.
Sydney to Perth – Qantas – Business Class – 787 (Dreamliner)
To get to Perth for our flight to Europe, we flew on QF5, the flight, which is the Sydney to Rome via Perth, the flight departs from the international terminal, so we were able to use the Qantas Sydney First Lounge.
We tucked into our favourites, the Salt & Pepper Squid.
We also enjoyed Neil Perry’s Burgers. We actually made these burgers at home through the international travel ban and lockdowns (Neil Perry shared the recipe on YouTube), but it was so much nicer having them in the lounge and they taste that much better with a boarding pass in hand!
We also had the trademark pavlova. I am not much of a dessert person, but my wife loves this dish.
The 787 has the Qantas Business Suites which are standard across the A380 and the A330. The suites are very private, and the seat transforms into a fully flat bed. As the flight to Perth is pretty short, we didn’t really use all the features and just enjoyed a comfortable trip across the Nullarbor.
The cuisine onboard is pretty decent with Green Papaya Salad with Poached Prawns with Chilli and Lime Dressing to start.
For the main course, I went with the Braised Lamb with Roasted Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots and Crushed Peas was beautiful… it even got a thumbs up from The Donald.
Perth to Doha – Qatar Airways – Business Class – 777 (Q-Suites)
From Perth we departed to Europe via Qatar Airways to Doha and then onward to Paris. The first flight departed from Perth late at night and was the world leading Q-Suites on the Boeing 777.
The seats in the business cabin are arranged in a 1:2:1 configuration, meaning that all passengers have direct aisle access. The Q Suite is a fully enclosed business class seat where the middle seats can convert into a double bed and groups of 3 / 4 can further adjust a block of seats to create a shared family suite.
The seat had a nice grey fabric and a leather headrest, and the Q-Suite is very spacious once the privacy divider is down. It’s almost like a private mini-cabin onboard.
Inside the Q-Suite, there are two main storage areas, and leather next to the seat (which had a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, water and magazines) and a faux marble table next to the TV which had a small area below the table for small items (e.g., mobile phone, wallet).
The suite controls are easily accessible as shown below. One can adjust the seat, the lighting or use the massage function. The charging ports, USB ports and the handset for the inflight entertainment are also located under the faux marble side table.
There are some fly well kits provided and prior to take-off we are offered a pre-flight beverage. I pot for the Charles Heidsieck, Rose Millesime (2005), France.
The champagne has beautiful cherries, pomegranate and cranberry aromas. On the palate there is a rich buttery brioche with an eclectic mix of blueberries and cherries
After take-off, a pre-dinner drink service commences with warm nuts. I opt for the Chateau Faugeres, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru Classe, 2013, France.
The wine is a gem; a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine has wonderful aromas of cassis and cherries with hints of vanilla and mocha. On the palate a medley of rich cassis flavours, savoury spice with silky smooth tannins to round out experience.
There is a foldable table from under the TV for dining or as a desk for work. The menu was pretty limited as it was a supper menu. We both opted for the Australian beef burger with dill cucumber and beetroot relish served with oven baked potato chips.
The soft plush brioche bun, with the juicy beef patty and the crisp of the lettuce, the tartness of the pickle and freshness of the tomato is quite the treat. The Beetroot relish is a touch of sweet and sour and the oven baked chips are decent, but wish they were a tad crispier.
The Amenity Kit and Pyjamas
For flights inbound to Qatar, the amenity kit comes in the form of a bespoke gift box of iconic French company; Diptyque. Amenities include a face cream, body cream, lip balm and perfume. The kit has also had a pair of socks and a Qatar branded eye mask.
As it was a night flight, we were provided with PJs from the White Company. They were soft and super comfortable and actually very similar in style to Emirates PJs.
The seat converts into a fully flat bed. We are provided with a silk pillow and cushion plus a mattress topper with a signature Qatar maroon blanket. The bed was super comfortable and we had a wonderful night sleep.
We awake to breakfast before landing in Doha. My wife opts for the platter of seasonal fruits followed by the buttermilk pancakes served with toasted macadamia & strawberry, berries and maple syrup which she says are delicious.
I go for the scrambled eggs with avocado, cherry tomatoes, rocket and salmon while watching the classic movie; Dennis the Menace.
The toast wasn’t as crispy as I would have liked. The generous dollop of avocado and the flavour of the salmon were on point and the scrambled eggs were probably one of the best I’ve tasted onboard. The croissant wasn’t particularly something to write home about.
Doha to Paris – Qatar Airways (A380)
The flight to Paris is comparatively shorter at just a touch over 7 hours. We do have some time in the Al Mourjan Business Lounge but given the time of the layover, we don’t visit the dining facilities or use many of the amenities.
These aren’t the Q-Suites and a result against a direct comparison they may appear disappointing at first. The seats on the A380 are based on the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond variety as you will see on some North American carriers.
The cabin is the same layout as the Q-Suites, 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access for each passenger. Each seat is 56 cm wide and reclines into a fully flat bed. The seats have wood grained finishes throughout and the Qatar maroon fabric with maroon leather arm rests. There’s is significantly more storage than the Q-Suites with storage areas under the windows and to the left of the TV as shown below.
The tray table is under the TV and there are seat controls on the wooden panel on the right of the seat.
I opt for the brunch platter which is a beautiful assiette of six tasting portions: Tropical fruits, Olive Brioche Pulled Beef Sandwich, Seared Tuna Tataki, Lamb Rogan Josh Pie, Vegetable Omelette with Home-made Veal Sausage and Raisin & Almond Danish.
I pair this with a beautiful glass of Chateau Batailley, Grand Cru Classe, Pauillac, 2014, France while I watched LA Confidential.
The brunch platter is perfect for the time of day when you’re transitioning through different time zones. The tuna tataki was soft and succulent, the veal sausage was delicious, but I didn’t quite take to the omelette and the pulled beef sandwich hit the spot. I simply adored the rich gravy fall apart lamb with the Rogan Josh curry. The fruit was refreshing on the palate and the danish was the perfect sugar hit!
The wine is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with strong aromas of blackcurrant and red cherries with hints of wood, anise, earth and tobacco. On the palate the cassis and the notes of deep earthy taste dominate with good acidity and soft tannins to provide well balanced structure.
After the brunch menu we are served lunch. I opt for the Seared Curry Scallops and Prawns with Heirloom Tomato, Compressed Melon, Dragon Fruit and Cream Cheese for the entree.
It was quite an eclectic dish with the spice of the curry with the fruit and cheese to offer balance. The prawns and scallops are succulent and executed well (which is always difficult onboard, particularly for scallops).
For the main course, I opt for braised beef cheek with spiced jus and parmesan polenta and seasonal vegetables.
The beef has a “melt in your mouth” texture, its soft, fatty and the spice jus oozes richness. The vegetables have a nice char and crunch which adds to the textural contrast. I couldn’t have picked a better dish given the choice of wine. It’s comfort food done well.
I finish with a cognac at the bar. The Frapin XO VIP.
It’s an excellent Cognac (100 % Grande Champagne) and perfect to sip on as the clouds pass by outside.
Without a doubt, Qatar Airways’ Bar on the A380 is the best in the world. The sleek curves of both the wooden bar and the leather banquettes, the bright red roses and the Arabic chandeliers and with a maroon colour palette exude luxury like no other.
There is a selection of tasters, nibbles and finger food and if you’re nice they do bring some select dishes to you at the lounge from the dining menu. The bar itself has a wonderful selection of spirits, champagne and wines and serves coffee or tea for those that are that way included. The bar has AC power sockets at each end of the lounge, so you work while enjoying your favourite drink. The electronic window shades allow you to create a bar style of ambience even during day flights.
The Amenity Kit
The amenity kit design is different to the previous amenity kit with a vegan leather case. The amenities are largely the same as the other kit which include a face cream, body cream, lip balm and perfume. The kit has also had a pair of socks and a Qatar branded eye mask. As this was a day flight there were no PJs provided.
After a few long flights we were glad to kick-off our honeymoon in Paris. The views of the landing were wonderful.
We are so grateful that we could finally have our honeymoon and Qatar Airways is amazing. The product of both the Q-Suites on the 777 and the bar on the A380 make it a world leading product in aviation. The service was amazing, the quality of the food and wine for business class product is often comparable to some First Class products out there. The transit through Doha was seamless and in this disruptive age of air travel all our bags made it safely to Paris.