We live in Iceland and several of our family members live near Melbourne, Australia, so we decided to spend Christmas there. The two airports - Keflavík and Melbourne - are not exactly close to each other, the distance being 10,539 miles (about 17,000 kms). If there was a direct flight it would overfly Svalbard, Eastern Siberia, North-East China and Eastern Indonesia and it would take about 21 hours. But there's of course no direct flight. So how should we get there?
We knew we didn't want to fly economy and we didn't have the budget for most business class flights, so we had to look for an exceptionally good deal in business class. Connecting flights from Iceland to Africa, Asia or Australia are never good value. London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt or Germany are usually among the more expensive departure airports. Amsterdam or Paris can have better deals but none was available at that time.
We checked premium economy as well, and although Singapore Airlines' great premium economy was bookable at a reasonable price from Stockholm to Melbourne via Moscow and Singapore, we still hoped for a good price in business.
We considered for a long time, and we even held a booking for some time, to fly from Cairo. A CAI-MCT-KUL-MEL in business class was offered by Oman Air and Malaysia Airlines at a price similar to many economy class flights from Europe to Australia. But direct flights from Europe to Cairo are overpriced even in economy and connecting flights can have unfavorable schedules.
So what was the solution? Oslo is usually, maybe surprisingly for some of you, the cheapest airport for long-haul business class flights from Europe. And there came a promotional offer: Oslo to Perth with Qatar Airways and Auckland to Oslo with China Southern. Yes, we wanted to fly to Melbourne but why not to visit Western Australia for a few days? And yes, the return leg was from New Zealand but we could finally visit NZ as well - and the flight was even slightly cheaper than a return from Australia.
Our flight from Oslo landed at 00.40 and boarding for our Perth was supposed to start at 01.45 so we had about one hour to deplane, go through security, have a quick look at the lounge and get to the other gate.
The airport was quite crowded at this time as many flights arrived around midnight and many others were to leave between 1.00 and 2.00 am. The terminal is however huge, nice and well organised so we managed to get to the lounge in about 20 minutes. There are several lounges at the airport; the one you need if you travel business class is called Al Mourjan. You need to go up on an escalator and access is checked at the bottom of it.
The lounge takes a whole floor, not just a large room as at many other airports. While the main terminal area was extremely crowded and almost chaotic at this time of the day (of the night, more precisely), everything was very quite at the lounge.
There are several seating areas
Lot of space and not-always-easy-to-understand artworks
Food is available at both ends of the lounge - on the same level on one side and one level up on the other side. You can eat from the buffet but you can order from a menu.
There are game rooms both for smaller and bigger kids
A total of 34 flights depart between 01.40 and 01.55 - that's a lot!
This is what you see when you leave the lounge
Our departure was from gate C12. There were actually two gates: one for economy class and the other for business and first.
It was quite a walk from the lounge. We could have actually taken a train within the terminal building!
Boarding was slightly delayed. There was another security check and we boarded at about 2.15.
Qatar flies A380-800 aircrafts on the 5,789 mile long Doha and Perth route. The aircraft today was A7-APG, delivered two years ago in December 2016. The upper deck has eight first class seats in the front, one large cabin with 48 business class seats in the middle, a bar and a handful of economy seats in the back. The entire lower deck is used for economy.
I found the business class cabin on the A380 just as gorgeous as on the A350 on my previous flight from Oslo, and once again I felt it was closer to first class than to business. Configuration was 1-2-1 here as well. The only major difference was that there were overhead bins unlike on the A350.
I had seat 12F. The seat was very similar to the one I had on my previous flight - see my previous flight report.
The seat controls are also the same
The amenity kit, which was different from the previous flight, was already waiting next to my seat
A comfortable pajama was also offered
The cabin crew was very busy trying to look after all the passengers who already boarded. I was offered my favorite drink right after I took my seat: Qatar Airways's signature lemon mint and a choice of cold or hot towel.
I believe the same headphones are offered on all Qatar Airways flights in business class.
Push-back was at 02.50 and take-off at 03.15 for a scheduled departure time of 02.30. I followed taxi and take-off on one of the cameras:
I went to sleep shortly after take-off - it was really time to sleep at about 3.30. I changed into my new pajamas and converted the seat into its flat bed position. The bed was long enough but not wide enough. The pillow and the blankets were very comfortable.
I slept very well for about five hours and I woke up when we were South-East of Sri Lanka and west of Indonesia.
The menu was already distributed while we were still on the ground. As already mentioned there are no set meal times and set menus at Qatar: you eat when you want et what you want.
The drink menu
My table was very nicely set for breakfast
Greek yoghurt, raspberry compote and toasted granola with nuts
A selection of breakfast bakery
Emmental cheese omelette with chicken medallion
Platter of seasonal cut fruits
Fresh berries with mint syrup - my absolute favourite, I just can't describe how delicious they were
The yoghurt, the omelette, the fruits were all quite good. I could however feel that the croissant was already loaded on the plane a couple of hours earlier.
After this nice breakfast I watched two movies. As mentioned earlier Qatar Airways has a huge choice of movies and music. For more details on the in-flight entertainment please check my previous flight report about the flight from Oslo to Doha.
Some time later it was time for lunch.
Soup of the day
Fresh garden salad
Chicken kabsa skewers
And of course I ordered once again fresh berries with mint syrup to finish lunch :)
The soup and the salad were good; the chicken was average.
I went to see the bar between the economy and the business cabins. It looked stunning but I couldn't take good photos because of the very strange lights
There were just a couple of people. Maybe would it have been better to add 24 economy or 8 business class seats?
I ordered some finger food at the bar
I listened to some music and watched the air show as we approached Australia
A funny video was shown about how seriously Australia takes the laws about food import.
We're almost there!
The cabin crew came to me before landing to thank me for flying Qatar Airways and to check if every thing was OK.
Flight information about 9 minutes before landing
We landed at 19.17 for a scheduled arrival of 18.40.
Emirates' A380 arrived only a few minutes earlier.
Arrival at Perth Airport was a very pleasant experience: border control, luggage delivery and customs were quite fast.
Thank you for reading my flight report.
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge
Doha - DOH
Perth - PER
As this flight took off at 3.15, in the middle of the night, I spent about half of the time sleeping. The seat converted into a flat bed was long enough albeit a bit narrow; the pillow and the blanket were comfortable. Most of the food was good, service was quick, helpful, friendly and paid attention to details. Traveling from Northern Europe to Australia is not a short distance and we have always preferred to make a stopover but this was a very comfortable way to get Down Under.
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