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Horizons: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways: Five Star Service, Five Star Prices?

The information in this article was originally put together for a Business Studies lesson. The students were somewhat astonished by the findings so I polished it up a little and turned it into an article. Prior to posting on this website I attempted to contact Qatar Airways on two occasions; on the first they were uninformative and on the second did not reply. It would have been interesting to hear what they had to say.

Qatar Airways, Doha, Qatar

I will of course await with bated breath for comments from any source, which can be made on the last page of this article.

In defence of Qatar Airways they are not the only carrier that pursues the policies outlined in the article below. My Business Studies students identified similar hub pricing patterns with Etihad, Thai, Emirates and Middle Eastern airlines, although none were quite as ludicrous as Qatar Airways Johannesburg prices.

At the very least this might give some potential purchasers, in the Middle East and for routes passing through it, pause for thought and quite possibly might save them some money. I hope so!

Qatar Airways, Africa, routesHave you ever leapt joyously off the arrivals terminal bus at Doha Airport and wondered why only three disembarked whilst one hundred and eighty-seven others remained on board for the transfer terminal?

Has a huge empty feeling developed in your wallet, as your Qatar Airways flight circles into its landing pattern over Al Wakrah, and you blame the high taxes at Doha airport?

Did you ever think it bizarre that your short hop to Dubai was more expensive than a trip to Sri Lanka?

Yes! Then read on!

No! Then you’re probably not paying for your own flight or you have far too much more money than is good for you! Read on anyway; circumstances change!

Anyone who has looked into purchasing flights directly into or out of Doha will know that the prices are high, particularly on the flag carrying airline. My own employer, on the initial commencement of our contract, purchased tickets from North America via Dubai on Emirates, so disturbed were they at the expense, and thus avoided the unsavoury taste of paying over the odds. For those seeking other options some creative thinking is required.

This piece is dedicated to economy passengers. No thought has been given to those who swan around in large armchairs or beds at the front of the aircraft; by my reckoning they can look after themselves! It is the coach class flier who suffers from the whims of the airlines and, incidentally, suffers from deep vein thrombosis more often. However, Qatar Airways are up there with the best when it comes to their economy class service and seats, in a life of international travel only Virgin and Vietnam Airlines have bettered them in my experience, but if QA’s product is good then their prices are stratospheric. Or so it seems.

Qatar Airways, pricesBut let’s give Qatar Airways a break first. Most of those routes that are utilised by the manual and semi-skilled migrant workers are cheap. Flights to Colombo in Sri Lanka, Trivandrum in Kerala, India, and Cebu in the Philippines are particularly attractive. Each of the three are also low cost destinations when you’re searching for accommodation or tours and they are particularly attractive in the November to April period. One minor problem is that Qatar Airways legendary service does seem to slip a bit on these routes; not quite the same attention to detail as on the Doha to Heathrow route for example.

EmiratesFor the more adventurous, trips to Lahore in Pakistan or Dhaka in Bangladesh are also very competitively priced, although they’re possibly not ideal destinations for family holidays at the moment unless you have contacts there.

In contrast to the southern Asian holiday spots, the African destinations prove to carry Qatar Airways most diabolical pricing policies. A date in November was picked and the prices compared for flight from both London and Doha. If you think they’ve been reversed, let me assure you they have not!

Qatar Airways, Africa, pricesIt should also be pointed out that Nairobi is closer to Doha than Colombo; in fact these three destinations compare quite well with the mileage of those in the table for southern Asian flights.

Just in case someone’s not getting it yet: Travelling the shorter distance from Doha to Kenya is not only more than twice as much as travelling from Doha to Sri Lanka, it is also much more expensive than flying from London to Kenya with Qatar Airways, which is twice the distance!

Be honest; you’re confused! Just imagine the poor pricing clerks who have to make this stuff up! Let me admit a little sympathy; I used to run a pricing unit for a major UK tour operator and may well have used some of the techniques outlined on these pages, although my memory isn't what it used to be!

It’s worth drawing attention to the fact that a standard return from London to Doha, for the same dates, costs $1023 and therefore Brits travelling to South Africa via Doha not only pay nearly $400 less than Qatar residents they seem to get the $1000 London to Doha flight for free!