Qatar Airways will begin flights between its Doha hub and Sydney from 1 March, 2016. The airline will become the third of the major Middle Eastern carriers to fly to Sydney. With Qatar flying to most major cities in the Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, the new route provides another convenient, one-stop oneworld option for Sydneysiders.
Despite being oneworld alliance partners, it would appear that Qantas will continue to encourage its own customers onto Qantas or Emirates, rather than Qatar Airways. Qantas Frequent Flyer members flying on Qatar already earn around half as many status credits and significantly fewer points, compared to flying on Qantas or an Emirates codeshare. However, unlike with Emirates, some status credits are still earned on Qatar flights booked under a “QR” flight number.
The new route does come as good news for those wishing to use Qantas points, or points in another oneworld program (e.g. American Airlines AAdvantage) to fly to Europe, the Middle East or Africa. Following the announcement of the new route, a large amount of award availability was released on the Sydney-Doha flights.
The flights will be operated by Boeing 777 aircraft featuring Economy and Business Class. Qatar Airways has a reputation as one of the highest quality airlines in the world and, in particular, its Business Class is said to be of very high quality. In addition, the airline often offers some very competitive airfares.
For me personally QR is the best J class I have ever flown long haul. I have flown all major carriers (ex-Aus) within the last 3 years or so.
Qatar already flies to Melbourne and Perth from Doha. The airline’s CEO had previously said that Qatar would not fly to Sydney unless the 11pm curfew was lifted. A departure from Sydney at around midnight would have been ideal for passengers connecting from Doha to Europe. However, with the curfew unlikely to change anytime soon, it seems the airline has decided to continue with its expansion into Australia anyway.
The inbound flight from Doha to Sydney will depart the Qatari capital at 8.10pm, arriving in Sydney at around 6pm the following day. The return leg departs Sydney at 10.25pm, arriving in Doha early the following morning in time for connections to most European destinations.
If you do fly on the new route, don’t forget that Qatar Airways is one of a number of airlines to offer free hotel accommodation in Doha if schedules necessitate a stopover between 8 and 24 hours. So, if there are no short connections available to your destination, be sure to enquire about their “Stopover Paid by Carrier”, or STPC.
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