Ranked amongst the best airlines in the world, flying with Qatar is a pleasant experience. I flew with them from Edinburgh to Bangkok, via their hub city Doha and wrote this airline guide from my experiences.
During my flights, I got to travel in both their economy and business class cabins, on board their Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes.
I also took a look around their flagship lounge at Hamad International Airport, which is a huge facility with all the mod-cons you could want.The lounge is the size of a football field, with a formal ala-carte restaurant and a less formal buffet style one. There are many relaxation and workspace areas too, along with quiet spaces and a prayer room.
Qatar were named the best airline in the world, at the recent Skytrax 2017 world airline awards. They are three-time previous winners, so have been providing optimum quality for a number of years now.
On Tripadvisor, the airline receives a 4.2/5 rating in general, with the customer service and staff maintenance elements getting the highest scores.
We would recommend booking directly with Qatar Airways, on their own website. It’s fine to use search engines to get an idea of what’s out there, flight times and costs but I wouldn’t book through an unknown web-based company, when I’m paying thousands of pounds for flights. I want to know where my money is going.
When you book direct, you can go to the airline for customer service and help. Qatar have offices in London, USA, Australia and all over the world.
If you book through a third-party, then you will be refered back to them if you need to ask questions, check info or discuss anything. I prefer to deal direct.
Also, when you change flights or cancel your trip, you will pay more with third parties, as they will add an administration cost. This is often a small charge, like £50 or so, but can go right up to thousands of pounds, in some cases.
Book direct here on our Qatar referral link to get the best service.
Changing or Cancelling Your Flight
Most of the tickets on sale from Qatar are cancellable for a fee. Many of the most restrictive ticket have a cancel fee of first $450 / £315. That means if you paid $900 or £630, that you’d get half back.
Changing dates will likely incur a minimum change fee $200 / £125 and could go up from there.
Some business class tickets have no fees to change or cancel but the best value ones, normally have the most restrictive rules. These have $800 / £550 cancellation fees and $400 / £280 change fees.
If the booking class you bought your ticket in, is no longer available on your new flight, then you’ll need to pay the fare different along with the change fee too.
Booking with Qatar direct means the costs to cancel or change are lowest. Other bookings will add admin fees, on top of Qatar’s fee, to do this.
Economy class seats normally provide a seat pitch of 32 inches, which is fairly standard for a high quality long-haul operator. They can range between 31-34 inches however. Economy seat width is 18.5 inches typically.
I would say that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has the smallest seats of Qatar’s fleet right now but it is a well designed seat, so is ergonomically more comfortable that the size alone would suggest.
The largest economy seats tend to be on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 planes. I personally like the Dreamliner more because the design is more advanced, the cabin pressure is lower (reducing jet-lag) and the plane is more fuel-efficient for the environment.
There isn’t a blanket rule for checked baggage allowances on Qatar, which complicates matters. Most flights however, have a 30kg baggage allowance in Economy, a 40KG allowance in Business and a 50kg allowance in First Class.
Hand luggage is limited to 7kg per person and needs to fit in the overhead locker, with dimensions no greater than 50x37x25cm in size. You may also take a personal bag, like a handbag or laptop bag for under your seat.
Qatar have a nifty feature online, where you can track your bag. In the unlikely event it gets put on the wrong plane or gets lost, you can look it up and see where it is.
Sales, Offers & Best Time to Book
Booking as far in advance is generally the best. Yes sometimes it is possible for the price of a flight to go down but they generally just go up with the advance saver fares selling first.
The reason a flight price might go down, is because the airline haven’t sold as many seats up to now, as they planned too. This is very hard to predict, so if you see a fare you want, book it now.
For this reason, we have compiled a list of links below with all of the offers by region for flights which are currently selling at sale rates…
Click here to see the latest, up-to-date information on sales for flights departing from:
These links will take you to the relevant Qatar offers for your home region. They are updated instantly by the airline, as and when new low rates are released.
As I talked about earlier, I like the Dreamliner planes most of all in the Qatar fleet but their general economy experience is good.
They have the facilities to take on-board wifi at an additional cost and devices are easily kept full of power using the USB charging points.
Qatar are arguably the best business class airline in the world. Their smaller planes like the Dreamliner have intimate business cabins. The larger Airbus A380 plane, even has a wonderful bar on-board.
There is usually a combination of single seats, by the windows and couple seats with an optional divide that can be pulled up, in the centre of the plane.
The seats recline back to lie-flat-beds with a ‘dentist chair’ style electronic motion, that provides a two meter space to sleep in.
I thoroughly enjoyed using the bar on my flight from Doha to Bangkok. As it was late at night, it was quiet enough for me and my three other companions to relax and enjoy the ambiance at 30k feet.
You will get complimentary sleep-wear and a high-end amenity kit for your comfort on-board. The food was very good in the business class cabin and the welcome glass of champagne was a nice touch.
Travelling with kids
Qatar provide on-board games for kids, including Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, Connect 4 and Twister. Alongside this, they also provide kids lunchbox meals which are a nice touch, if you order the kid’s meal when booking.
Qatar has 214 planes in operation, across their network at the moment. Of them, the flagship aircraft are the Airbus A350 (24 in service), the Airbus A320 (39 in service), the Boeing 777 (41 in service) and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (30 in service).
Qatar also have 9 Airbus A380s flying on their heaviest passenger number routes, from Doha to Bangkok, London, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and other key cities.
Connections at Hamad International Airport
The layout at Hamad International Airport makes it very easy to navigate through, for your next flight. It was designed specifically with transit customers in mind, using a wheel-spoke design.
You’ll recognise you’re in the centre of the airport because you’ll see the giant yellow bear.
Hamad is a silent airport, meaning that you won’t hear announcement and passenger shout outs, making it a much more tranquil airport.
If you are flying business class, then you will have full use of Qatar’s incredible Al Mourjan Business Lounge.
There are a number of other lounges, for your comfort. Some are pay-to-enter, some can be entered with membership status of airlines and others you can enter if you are flying with other airlines in business class.
Right at the top of the airport is a gym with swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi so this really is an airport built with the comfort of travellers in mind.
As a member of the One World Alliance, you can cross-accrue air miles from all member flights. Qatar also run their own club called Privilege Club and it is worth joining, if you will be flying with Qatar the majority of the time.
Qatar is one of the nicest airlines to fly with in any cabin. The service is great, the have a good safety record and the equipment is always modern. One of the best airlines out there, along with Singapore, Emirates and Air New Zealand.