While Qatar Airways has A380s, they have only 10 of them in their fleet, with no further A380s on order. As a point of comparison, Emirates has over 100 of them in their fleet.
While Emirates flies A380s to all kinds of destinations, Qatar Airways has to be much more selective with where they send these planes.
As of now, Qatar Airways flies the A380 to London, Paris, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. The airline has now announced their next A380 destination.
Qatar Airways will begin flying the A380 daily between Doha and Frankfurt as of March 31, 2019.
Qatar Airways offers twice daily flights between Doha and Frankfurt. The earlier frequency in the day will continue to be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER featuring Qsuites, with the following schedule:
QR69 Doha to Frankfurt departing 1:35AM arriving 7:10AM
QR70 Frankfurt to Doha departing 10:55AM arriving 5:55PM
Meanwhile the later frequency will be operated by an A380, with the following schedule:
QR67 Doha to Frankfurt departing 8:05AM arriving 1:40PM
QR68 Frankfurt to Doha departing 5:35PM arriving 12:35AM (+1 day)
The later flight being changed to an A380 does represent a significant capacity upgrade. However, it’s not necessarily good news for everyone.
On the plus side, the A380 features a first class cabin consisting of eight seats, which the 777 doesn’t. I don’t think Qatar’s A380 first class is that amazing, as the seats aren’t that great, and also the service isn’t that much better than business class (which is largely a testament to how good Qatar’s business class service is).
Qatar Airways’ A380 first class
Qatar Airways’ A380 first class
In business class, the A380 features reverse herringbone seats.
Qatar Airways’ A380 business class
While these are good, they’re not as good as the Qsuites on the 777, which is the plane being replaced on this route.
Qatar Airways’ 777 business class
The one benefit for business class passengers is that the A380 has an excellent onboard bar, which I’d argue is the nicest bar in the sky.
Qatar Airways’ A380 bar
In economy I’d also say the A380 is a more comfortable ride — both planes have 10 seats per row in economy, and the A380 is wider.
Best I can tell, the A380 for this route is coming at the expense of an A380 on the Bangkok route. As of March 31, 2019, the QR832/833 frequency will be operated by a 777-300ER rather than an A380.
If you want to redeem miles for Qatar Airways’ A380 first class between Doha and Frankfurt, availability is wide open in both directions, and you can search space on either aa.com or ba.com.
As far as the cost of such a ticket goes:
- If redeeming American AAdvantage miles you’d pay 62,500 miles one-way for a first class ticket between Europe and the Middle East/India; there are no carrier imposed surcharges
- If redeeming British Airways Executive Club Avios you’d pay 50,000 Avios one-way for a first class ticket between Doha and Frankfurt, and any additional segments would cost extra; they pass on any carrier imposed surcharges, though they’re pretty mild
With just about any other airline I’d say a plane swap to an A380 is great news. However, in the case of Qatar Airways, they have a better business class product on their 777s, and I’d argue their service in business class is so good that their first class is unmemorable by comparison.
Still, I’d say on balance this is good news in economy, first class, and for those in business class who really like a bar.
Would you choose to fly the A380 or 777 between Doha and Frankfurt?