Qatar Airways Is Adding Flights To San Francisco In 2018

Filed Under: Qatar

During a press conference today, Qatar Airways announced their intentions to launch flights between Doha and San Francisco as of 2018, using the Boeing 777-300ER. As of now, no exact launch date or frequency information has been provided, as I suspect they haven’t exactly ironed out those details yet.


This announcement comes just days after Emirates announced that they’re cutting 15x weekly flights between Dubai and the US, following the travel ban and electronics ban that the US recently implemented.

Qatar Airways is known for announcing new routes and then delaying them. For example, Qatar Airways announced that they planned to launch daily 777-300ER flights between Doha and Las Vegas as of January 2017, and then later announced their intentions to instead launch the route 4x weekly using a 777-200LR as of January 2018. Today they also announced that the Doha to Las Vegas route will be delayed again, until June 2018.

So in reality the new route to San Francisco may be launched in 2018, or 2019, 2020, or maybe even never. 😉


As of now Qatar Airways operates flights to 10 US destinations. Las Vegas will be their 11th destination (well, if that actually happens), and San Francisco will be their 12th.

This new route is logical enough. San Francisco is the only US destination presently served by both Emirates and Etihad, but not by Qatar.

Qatar Airways’ 777-300ER aircraft feature 42 business class seats and 316 economy seats. Business class seats are fully flat and in 2-2-2 configuration, so they’re perfectly comfortable, but not the most private if traveling alone.


Qatar Airways has also announced their new Qsuites, which should eventually be installed throughout their 777-300ER fleet. The first plane with the new suites should be in service in the coming months, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see substantial delays, and also to see the retrofitting process for the rest of the fleet to take a while. So I wouldn’t expect to see the San Francisco route immediately feature the new seats.


Bottom line

San Francisco is the logical next city for Qatar Airways to expand to, and I’m surprised it took them that long. You would have thought that San Francisco would be launched ahead of markets like Atlanta and Las Vegas, for example. Qatar Airways is saying that the route will be launched in 2018, though I wouldn’t count on it as of now, as they’re notorious for delaying routes.

While the route as such was expected, the timing is interesting, following Emirates’ latest US route cuts, and Etihad’s recent announcement that they wouldn’t expand US service.

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ new planned Doha to San Francisco route?

  1. I don’t think this will ever launch. The Gulf carriers are in for a rough 4-8 years trying to do business in the U.S. especially Qatar Airways. Keep in mind Qatar Airways is 100% owned by the Qatar government and the Qatar government is about to get in Trump’s crosshairs over their financial backing of the muslim brotherhood. Their funding of terrorism is so overt and undefendable that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE have broken off relations and withdrawn their ambassadors to Qatar. Not to mention the fact that buying an airline ticket from QA is essentially 1 step removed from the terrorist who will spend that money to try to kill westerners any way it can. I don’t judge folks that want to fly with them, but my compass puts a Qatar Airways ticket in the same category as buying a blood diamond or ordering shark-fin soup.

  2. Etihad recently reduced the number of weekly flights to SFO (and increased dfw). Etihad also has been operating this route on a lower capacity 200LR. There’s competition from Air India too for Indian passengers which has increased the frequency operating to SFO. So seriously doubt this route will take off for Qatar.

  3. I think the route makes sense. If we assume they actually do open the route, I do wonder how Qatar (and really any of the ME 3) will make money flying to the US in the next few years with the electronics ban.

  4. Qatar has been in Atlanta since Summer 2016 because there is a pretty decent sized market to be served as Atlanta is quite ethnically diverse and Delta cut their direct flights to Dubai and Mumbai. Likely decent business for them AND a chance to kick Delta in the groin. 😉

    I’m curious how Turkish is doing out of Atlanta – good hopefully as they have such a massive list of connection options

  5. @Rob:

    I do understand what your saying..but for people that live (and work) in Qatar..85% of the traffic coming in and out of DOH is with QA..certainly with AA or BA. The only other options is if I fly Etihad/Emirates or take an inconviently timed flight on Lufthansa if I want to get back to the states or in reality anywhere else for vacation.

  6. Do you have any business travelers reading your blog at all? Or is this just a “yes i burned my miles for a free flight” crowd? If not, how could you justify the load statement for SFO flights? I fly over 400K miles a year on Qatar, CX and BA to Asia and Europe and I can assure you that the #1 ask of BUSINESS from SFO connecting via LAX on QR is to start flights from SFO. Plus they can see that in connecting traffic patterns. Also, I would bet that SFO starts before LAS. Business revenue drives these decisions, not non rev flights (and the reviews aimed at them).
    My 2 cents!

  7. @ Stuart, no judgments here, do what you gotta do, I would do same in your situation. I’m no holy roller on any crusade or anything. I just feel like folks are too enthusiastic about the mideast carriers. I feel like I regularly read about how much better or smarter they are than U.S. carriers just because they have nicer products for the price. Which, of course they do because the governments are purposely price dumping in anti-competitive behavior in order to take over aviation from privately funded carriers that can’t compete with a perpetual loss machine propped up by a foreign government. And in the case of Qatar, a government which is also heavily investing in the muslim brotherhood. I just feel like Delta and American’s products would be a whole lot nicer too if Trump gave them $50 billion and allowed them to hire southeast asian non-citizen workers at slave wages while holding on to their passports for leverage like the ME3 do. People in this game don’t seem to realize they are the bad guys. We give them a pass because we like their award rates and in flight showers.

  8. @Rob

    Are you serious? perhaps you should do some google search on Qatar-US interests before typing all that shit…

  9. @Rob

    You need to Get your facts right.

    (1) Qatar supported Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt for a certain time and this stopped. The issue with Saudi/Bahrain/UAE was over support for Egypt’s military government and was resolved 2 years ago. The dispute had nothing to do with so called “terrorist financing” it was essentially a difference on what and who to support in Egypt and the threat to the future of the tint monarchies in the wake of the Arab spring. Both sides supported equally incompetent Egyptian government.

    (2) Any informed person would take a lot of issues with The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that was supported for some time by Qatar. But it is far from being ISIS. They are ideologically different and to ISIS they are in the same bag as “non-Muslim”

    (3) Qatar hosts one of the largest US air force presence outside the US and it hosts the central command where it conducts its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (try googling: Al-Udaid Air Base)

    (4) Several giant US corporations, such as Exxon Mobil has long term investments in the country.

    (5) while the claim is often made that Qatar and other Arab states finance terrorism. But no one tries to give a reason as to why would a tiny monarchy that is effectively relying on US for its own security to finance terror groups and put its relationship with the US in jeopardy. What’s more, anyone would know that such a claim is so dumb as these terror groups put the monarchies in the same basket as the Western infidels and it would prefer to take down the monarchies to establish the Islamic State. These terror groups are a threat to the existence of countries like Qatar and that’s what make such claims, which you echoed in your comment, so dumb.

  10. @A
    Yeah, all of that about U.S. relations, investment and military is not in dispute, not by me. Perhaps you are taking issue with the fact that I called them the bad guys, when what I was trying to communicate was that their intent in the airline industry is hostile as is their support of muslim brotherhood. Respectfully, I think your statements demonstrate “western thinking” lacking perspective on the relationship between Sunni and Shia. We in the West try to put the middle east in boxes and think of them as countries, which is why we have a hard time understanding what’s going on. But your point 5 is just wrong (as well as offensive). Maybe before calling an idea dumb, make sure it’s not just because it’s over your head. Forbes doesn’t think the idea is so dumb, nor does a 5 star General.

  11. @Rob – I have no idea who @A is. But I can tell with his posts that he/she is definitely much much more informed than the average western thinker about the intricacies of middle eastern politics.

  12. SFO is a major destination for Indians. This is reflected by the high PLFs on the DEL-SFO non-stop of Air India. Even LH flies an almost full business class (no upgrades) on its BLR-FRA-SFO flights.

    QR leverages its oneworld links and extends its DFW and PHL service to SFO via AA (and former US) code-shares. Given the high percentage of QR’s traffic from India, especially from the more demanding and higher paying tech and corporate structure, LAS may not happen, but SFO sure will.

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