Get a Drink at the Best Airplane Bar in the Sky Before it Disappears
It may feel like plane seats are getting smaller and smaller every year. Yet if you want to live large and drink cocktails at a bar while hurtling 550 mph through the air, you’ve got a surprising amount of options.
Virgin Atlantic has an onboard bar for almost all its business class passengers. Emirates, of Jennifer Aniston commercial fame, has a bar for first and business class flyers. So does Etihad, a fellow United Arab Emirates airline. You can even stretch out with a drink in a dedicated lounge on some Korean Air jets. Yet one blows them all out of the water: the bars on board the Airbus A380s flown by Qatar Airways.
Just look at that. There’s a dedicated bartender who will pour you a glass of champagne or whip up whatever drink you’re craving while you stretch your legs. There’s seating along both sides of the cabin, along with the ample bar space covered in snacks. The whole space is quiet and spacious, beautifully lit and tastefully designed.
But sadly, these won’t be around for much longer. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker told Aviation Analyst said it will get rid of these massive planes, onboard bar and all, starting as soon as 2024.
“For the A380s, on the 10th anniversary, we will retire them,” Al Baker said. “Once we have paid our financial obligations, they will go.”
Qatar has 10 of these planes in its fleet, the first four of which it received in 2014, the last of which it got in 2018. So these big, beautiful planes likely won’t be in service for too much longer.
That’s a shame, as this is the only plane with Qatar’s outstanding bar on board. It’s also the only plane in Qatar’s fleet that has a first class seat, which is one of the most luxurious first class seats in the world.
But it’s a sign of the times for the troubled whale jet. Airbus announced Thursday it will shut down A380 production entirely by 2021.
And that’s bad news for airplane bars as a whole. With few exceptions, only the A380s are big enough to support these awesome, in-air gathering spaces.
How to Fly Qatar Airways and Drink at the Bar
Bad news for the A380, but it’s not all bad news here. You’ve still got time to check “drinking champagne at the swankiest bar in the sky” off your bucket list. And there’s an easy way to do it with miles.
Qatar flies the Airbus A380 with these onboard bars out of its Doha (DOH) hub to a handful of major cities. Unfortunately, none of these fly in and out of the U.S., so you’ll need to squeeze it into a longer trip. Note that by the end of March, it will stop flying to Bangkok (BKK) and instead fly to Frankfurt (FRA).
You can only sidle up to the bar when flying business or first class, and those tickets aren’t cheap. Expect to fork over a few thousand dollars each way. But you’re thrifty – you’re not using cash.
You’re using American Airlines AAdvantage miles. Thanks to their partnership through the Oneworld Alliance, you can book these flights with AAdvantage miles online. And you can do it for as few as 40,000 AAdvantage miles.
- Bangkok (BKK) to/from Doha (DOH): 40,000 miles Business Class, 50,000 miles First Class
- Guangzhou (CAN) to/from Doha (DOH): 40,000 miles Business Class, 50,000 miles First Class
- Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to/from Doha (DOH): 42,500 miles Business Class, 62,500 miles First Class
- London-Heathrow (LHR) to/from Doha (DOH): 42,500 miles Business Class, 62,500 miles First Class
- Sydney (SYD) to/from Doha (DOH): 80,000 miles Business Class, 100,000 miles First Class
- Melbourne (MEL) to/from Doha (DOH): 80,000 miles Business Class, 100,000 miles First Class
- Perth (PER) to/from Doha (DOH): 80,000 miles Business Class, 100,000 miles First Class
You’ve still got a few years to drink at this awesome airborne bar, but time is ticking away. If this is on your checklist, get those American AAdvantage miles and make it happen before it’s too late!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.