Qatar Airways has just announced some huge US expansion. In 2016, Qatar Airways will be adding flights to Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles, and will also be adding a second daily flight to New York.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the expansion is that two of the four new flights are being operated by the Airbus A350, which features a far superior business class hard product to the Boeing 777.
Qatar Airways A350 business class seat
Qatar Airways 777 business class seat
That’s because the Airbus A350 features fully flat business class seats with direct aisle access, while the 777 features forward facing fully flat seats, so they’re not nearly as private. It’s so nice to finally see these improved seats on a true longhaul flight.
Qatar Airways A350 business class cabin
Qatar Airways 777 business class cabin
With that in mind, here’s the expansion which Qatar Airways has announced:
Doha to Los Angeles as of January 1, 2016
This new flight will operate daily using a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft:
QR739 Doha to Los Angeles departing 7:45AM arriving 1:10PM
QR740 Los Angeles to Doha departing 3:10PM arriving 6:10PM (+1 day)
At over 8,300 miles this will be Qatar Airways’ longest route, and it’s blocked at 16hr25min westbound. I’m not at all surprised to see this new route. While this is an ultra longhaul flight, Emirates and Etihad have been flying to Los Angeles for quite a while, so it’s no surprise that Qatar Airways is “catching up” there. If anything, I’m surprised they didn’t announce San Francisco service at the same time.
Doha to Boston as of March 16, 2016
This new flight will operate daily using an Airbus A350 aircraft:
QR743 Doha to Boston departing 8:20AM arriving 2:30PM
QR744 Boston to Doha departing 10:55PM arriving 6:10PM (+1 day)
Boston continues to see an incredible amount of international growth, so this new route really isn’t surprising either. What makes it especially awesome is that it will be operated by an Airbus A350 aircraft. That’s a significantly better passenger experience than what Qatar Airways offers on their 777, so that’s super exciting.
Second daily Doha to New York as of March 1, 2016
Qatar Airways already operates daily service to New York with the following schedule:
QR701 Doha to New York departing 8:15AM arriving 3:15PM
QR702 New York to Doha departing 10:00PM arriving 5:35PM (+1 day)
Now Qatar Airways is adding a second daily flight on an Airbus A350 aircraft:
QR703 Doha to New York departing 1:30AM arriving 8:25AM
QR704 New York to Doha departing 10:25AM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
As you can see, the schedules complement one another quite nicely. New York is Qatar Airways’ “flagship” US destination, so I’m not surprised to see them add a second daily flight in the market. While optimistically I’m sure they’d love to fly an A380 to New York, it’s unlikely it’ll happen anytime soon given how few A380s they have on order.
Doha to Atlanta as of July 1, 2016
Given that this route is about 14 months out, the schedule for this flight hasn’t yet been announced. It is supposed to be operated by a Boeing 777, though.
This is some really exciting expansion on the part of Qatar Airways. I was expecting the service to Los Angeles, the additional flight to Boston isn’t surprising, though the new Atlanta flight certainly caught me off guard. While Atlanta is a fairly large market it’s also dominated by Delta. Generally speaking Qatar Airways follows the lead of Emirates when it comes to US expansion, and neither Emirates nor Etihad fly to Atlanta.
Just as exciting as the new destinations as such are that two of the new flights will be operated by an A350, which finally features a competitive business class product. Qatar Airways frequently publishes extremely reasonable business class fares for travel to the US, so I can’t wait to take advantage of some of them in Qatar Airways’ new business class product.
Are you more excited about Qatar Airways’ new routes as such, or the fact that they’ll partly be operated by A350s?
I am surprise,why Qatar airways did not put one its A350 in lax to Doha. I am very disappointed. For that reason I will not fly Qatar airways. They have to do lot to catch up to Emirates airline with two a380 in lax to Dubai.
Anybody been able to find A350 flights on the BA website?
How come I can't book the DOH-LAX route thru Qatar website? It's not even a month till they launch that route?!
As a Bostonian, this is great news especially with the addition of the A350 over a 777. I just wonder if its too much too soon with EK going double daily a few months before. I know having B6 and AA (for QR) connections helps but is it enough for almost 1000 seats each way per day?
@ Adam -- Ultimately the Middle Eastern airlines don't really have to turn profits, so I don't think they care all that much about filling every last seat.
I'm so glad that Qatar Air will have an Atlanta flight. For being such a large and busy airport, there's not many decent airlines that fly there.
Thanks a lot, Ben:)
Which way does the DOH=LAX take? Transatlantic or transpacific? Does it matter when routing award travel?
@ Anqi -- Hah, doesn't matter for those purposes. Presumably it will be a polar route.
oh I can only imagine the look on AAB's face right now... his *unique* smirk must be plastered on his face for days...
Come on Denver!
I'm curious to see if their A350 J seat is different than their A380 one. I was underwhelmed by the A380 seat. Lots of bells and whistles but a very tight foot well, like many other flat bed J seats. I much preferred Cathay's 777 hard product; granted it's getting long in the tooth but it feels much roomier to me.
@ travel4b -- It is indeed a roughly identical product.
You mention that they need some A380s. Malaysian may oblige...
Also, I was hoping they would add a flight to SFO.
I was looking for some award space and noticed that QR703 will start actually earlier,3/1 to be exact.As usual to QR,award space is wide open.
@ omp -- Thanks for the heads up. Updated the post to reflect that.
I hope this means lots of good QR fares ex-CMB to the USA... ;)
It would be fun, if Emirates and Etihad also announced flights to ATL. Hopefully Delta Airlines doesn't stop Qatar Airways for coming to ATL.
I think the longer wait to start ATL service was just to push it in DAL's face.
In fact, I'm surpised all three ME carriers didn't simultaneously announce service just to watch Anderson go apoplectic.
Wouldn't be surprised if they announced SFO next
@ Mattias -- Agreed, I'm sure it's only a matter of time.
It would have been fun to see a sleek new A350 roll past one of DL's air-hoopties at ATL...but oh well. Hopefully their expansion to ATL will coincide with their "super business class" launch on their 777s. Qatar's premium cabin prices when routing through Doha to African and Euro destinations are very very competitive...and the service is better, so Delta will probably up their smear campaign.
With the US airlines request to freeze Gulf state's expansion, surely this is setting off a rush to lock in the extra slots...
I like that my trips to the Middle East to Boston are getting easier, first Emirates comes in and now Qatar.
Thanks for the news Ben! Having read all your reports, am looking forward to A350 service and trying Qatar.
When are Emirates and Etihad going to start flying A380s to Atlanta to rub it in Delta's face?
@ Tom -- Hah, wouldn't be surprised if Emirates does at some point, though Etihad has such a small A380 fleet that I doubt it will ever happen.
Has QR said anything about what their long term strategy with 777 fleet is?
Replacement with A350's or upgrade off the biz cabin to a competitive hard product.
@ No Name -- It's my understanding that the 777 will be the first plane to get Qatar Airways' "super business class" (whatever that is) starting next year: