March 18, 2016

Why fly Qatar Airways?

Have you flown on Qatar Airways? The award-winning Middle Eastern carrier is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines and is a popular airline of choice for travelling from South Africa. Jenna who heads up Digital Communications & PR at Sure Travel HQ, was curious to see if the Airline of the Year (awarded in the 2015 Skytrax Awards) lives up to all the hype…

Not only is Qatar Airways one of the youngest global airlines to serve all six continents, they are also the fastest-growing airline in the world.  Here’s why I think you should choose to go places with Qatar Airways.

150+ destinations

Qatar flies to more than 150 destinations across 6 continents.

Search, compare and book Qatar flights here

Hot off the press, Qatar has just announced at ITB Berlin that they're expanding to 14 new destinations. You can fly Qatar via Doha to Pisa, Helsinki, Nice, Marrakech, the Seychelles, Krabi, Chiang Mai, LA and more. Qatar's daily service to Auckland, New Zealand, from 3 December 2016, will also be the world's longest flight!

Qatar Airways Dreamliner getting ready to depart Cape Town. Photo: Jenna Berndt
Heading to Thailand last year October, I flew direct from Cape Town to Bangkok via Doha. It was great not having the hassle of connecting in Joburg and actually made the flight seem shorter. We arrived in Bangkok at midday which gave us enough time to drop our bags at the hotel and do some sightseeing on our first day of Bangkok exploring.

Qatar Airways flies direct to Doha from:
• Joburg - daily
• Cape Town - daily
• Durban - 4 times a week (with a quick stop in Joburg to refuel and pick up passengers)

Great special offers

Qatar often has incredible special offers and discounts on airfares from South Africa. Just recently there have been some airfare specials for flying to the USA, Far East and Australia! Contact your nearest Sure Travel agency and ask them about specials for your chosen dates and destination.

Safe and modern fleet

Qatar operates one of the most modern fleets in the sky. They have more than 340 aircraft including the Boeing 777 and 787 (Dreamliner) and Airbus A380 and A350 (Qatar is the launch customer of this next-generation aircraft).

Qatar flights from South Africa to Doha operate on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

I flew in economy class and got to experience some of the Dreamliner's distinctive features including the larger windows (which can be dimmed electronically) and the LED lighting which helps you adjust to time zones ( I can't say I noticed that effect but it certainly does make for a good-looking cabin). Entertainment wise, there was a dual-screen interface which lets you control your settings or play games on the hand-held device while watching something on your main screen. Apparently there are over 2000 options on the Oryx One inflight entertainment system – I certainly never counted them all! There's also on board Wifi (at a charge) but I was too nervous about the international roaming charges to test it! I was impressed by the professionalism of the crew and the food on board, and liked the fact that they still give you a little amenity kit in economy.

Qatar's Dreamliner entertainment system, economy class.
Qatar's Dreamliner economy class.
Qatar's Dreamliner business class

Doha Airport

Hamad International Airport, duty free shopping. Photo: Jenna Berndt
Hamad International Airport, Doha’s international airport, certainly is something. Both my Doha flights landed between 11pm and 2am in the morning and it may as well have been the middle of the day. It was full of people (but not too crowded – it’s spacious enough), everything was open and looked glittering and new. Lots of luxury duty free shopping if your credit card can handle it!

It was also relatively easy to navigate which is always a huge plus in airports. My connection was about 2 and a half hours which was enough time to walk around checking everything out without needing to rush.

Hamad International Airport, complete with stylish cars! Photo: Jenna Berndt

Doha Airport Hotel

If you've got a long connection and need a recharge between flights, you should consider the Airport Hotel. You can check in no matter what time you arrive and can book a room for a minimum of 3 hours. The rooms look modern and spacious and you'll have access to the wellness centre and 25 metre indoor swimming pool (now that's the way to beat jet lag!)

Doha Airport Hotel swimming pool.
If you're not a hotel guest, you can use the wellness centre facilities (pool, gym, showers and changing rooms) for a fee of 130 QAR (about R560). I didn’t take advantage of this but next time I'm there with a long connection, I’m definitely having a swim in that pool…

Free Doha city tour

If you want to see some of the city, Qatar offers a complimentary 3 hour Doha city tour between 7am and 7pm to transit passengers that will take you to 4 of Doha's key landmarks.
T&Cs apply. Eligibility is subject to immigration approval.

Stopover in Doha 

If you’d like a longer visit, Qatar also offers some great stopover programmes. You can stop over in Doha for a night or two and explore this fascinating, fast-growing city in the desert.

Read more about the Qatar Stopover Program here and ask your Sure Travel consultant for more info.

I was really impressed flying with Qatar Airways and would definitely choose them again.

To book a Qatar flight and for more info on their network and special offers, contact your nearest Sure Travel consultant.

Have you flown Qatar? Comment below and let us know.

Photo credits (where not indicated): Qatar Airways


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