Qatar Airways experience

Mort Hill

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I just returned from a trip to South Africa in Limpopo. I have seen many post asking about Qatar airways on the site, so thought I would give a review of my experience.
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I flew from Nashville to Dallas on American. Dallas to Doha, Qatar. Doha to Johannesburg. Return was the same except flew through Philly on return flight. I flew on business class with my son. I did this because two Business class tickets were less roundtrip than a single business class ticket on South African Air.

The only drawback was it was two long leg flights versus one, and lengthy layovers (8hrs) in Doha, but I had time.

Qatar ticketing staff were excellent. I emailed special services with Qatar( specialservices@us.qatarairways.com ) about travel with my guns. I emailed them my itinerary, my US 4457 forms, letter of invite, and copy of passport. They quickly responded that all airports would be notified in advance. All locations were aware in advance, but take a hard copy of the above info as they will still want to see it at ticket counters both at origin and destination. My guns were locked in a Pelican double rifle case, and ammo was in two cheap, lockable survival containers I got from Cabelas($9 each). You will be directed to take rifle case directly from ticket counter to TSA oversize location and they will also check guns, then you relock and leave with them.

Qatar business class is great. Comfortable and very attentive and courteous staff. Just awesome service.

Doha airport is world class, and just voted best airport in world by traveler survey. When you depart plane to head to transfers, you will go through an additional security screening. Very quick, but you do have to take ALL electronics, camera, phone, laptop, CPAP out of your bag. Large bins are provided.

From there we went to Al Mourjan Business Lounge. It is located past the huge teddy bear sculpture, across from the BumbleBee Store(with dinosaur display) and then up private escalator.

The lounge is spacious, comfortable, and well attended.
If you do not travel business class, there is a hotel in the airport(inside security) where you can get a day room(I think it was about $300), or you can get a pool and fitness room pass for $52.

The lounge has numerous areas to chill out, including a business center with reclined couches for sleeping. The buffet is traditional middle eastern food, but is excellent and spacious. There are drink stations and bars located throughout(except no alcohol during Ramadan). The main bathroom has large private commodes, and attendants who are very polite and engaging. There is also a shower area with security if you need to refresh.

I was quite fond of the smoking lounge as I love my cigars. It is large, well ventilated, with leather chairs, glass ashtrays, and individual metal tables. There is an attendant 24/7, it is spotless, and they will come through and take beverage orders, as well as announce last call for flights departing.

There are no loud flight announcements. There are multiple boards with flight info. In addition, you may give them your flight details, and one of a dozen attendees will track you down prior to your flight.

All in all, for the money, it is an excellent value. I would equate the overall level of service to that of Disney. Everyone is courteous, helpful, and goes beyond the norm.

The only thing I would say is that plan to get to your return flight out of J’burg at least 3 hours before flight. The ticketing agents for Qatar in J’burg are African. While courteous, they operate at African pace. They seemed confused when dealing with the whole gun transport thing, and it took me about 45 minutes at the counter. Not bad unless you breakdown on way back to airport as we did and arrived only an hour before flight. We still made our flight, with our luggage and guns, but it was tight. Your funs will have to be cleared by airport security after you check in, but the officer was nice enough, and a handed him a $20 once in inspection room and we were in and out in under 1 minute. I consider it a preemptive tip, not a bribe. It worked.

I have many many more notes. But this is long enough as is. If you have questions, I will be more than happy to answer.

One last note. When we arrived back in Philly and cleared passport, everyone must collect bags to transfer before traveling home. A Qatar representative already had my guns and bags. He took us through customs/gun inspection. Everything in order the officer then escorted the Qatar agent and us thru customs, with no further inspections, and the Qatar agent carried our guns/baggage to the American ticketing counter where he made sure we were taken care of. Very nice at the end of a long flight. While he was just doing his job, these are the guys who deserve a tip because of his level of service.

Best of luck in your future travels and I highly recommend Qatar Airways!
 
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PHOENIX PHIL

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Your detailed report is appreciated. Glad you had a good experience, I believe you and also @lwaters have traveled on Qatar Airways now. He had a good experience too.
 

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Qatar out of Philly and back there? PERFECT! That's my home airport and the one to use if going the Delta Bus with Wings straight through to Joburg. Research mode is on. Thanks for the report.
 

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I'm an economy flyer, so from a different perspective I used them last year when my wife and I traveller to Spain and the UK. I did really like them and thought the airport was fairly good. But my favourite is still Singapore airlines and changi airport. Not sure if they offer flights to Africa from usa though.
 

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@Mort Hill Interesting that you could get the two for the price of one. That’s a steal if you ask me. Were the seats you had able to recline for 180 degree beds?
The lounge sounds nice as well.
What plane did you fly on the two legs? A380, Boeing 777 or A 350?
 

Mort Hill

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Yep. Jumped on the flights about 9 months in advance. I’ll be honest with you. I use a travel agent who brokers miles. I was going to use Delta miles I got, but she convinced me to try Qatar. If I remember, it was $4200 per ticket. Delta/SA was just north of $8K. May not have been exactly two for one, but close in my book. All legs were on airbus A 380 over, A 350 back, and yes, the seats lay 180 deg flat, with a little padded shelf at your feet for plenty of room. I am 6’2”, my son is 6’4”. I slept 8 solid hours headed over without waking(no ambian or cocktails) and 10 hours out of 13 on the return trip. Constant service from hot or cold wash clothes before and after meals, and dine when you care to. No set schedule. You just tell them at take-off, and if you are sleeping, they hold the meal until you awake. Flexible too. My son ate two different meals at one dinner because he could not decide. So they brought him both.
 

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I was looking at some flights last night to Joburg. I was playing with some different airports and classes and stumbled on one for Qatar flight that was listed as a Premium Economy. After you clicked on the details it was listed as business class when you went to buy it. The total was only $1380.. I don’t know if it would stay as business class, but it kept doing that for multiple dates. May be a little flight glitch that could turnout pretty sweet. If you’re going anytime soon and we’re going economy anyway, might give them a try.
 

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I was looking at some flights last night to Joburg. I was playing with some different airports and classes and stumbled on one for Qatar flight that was listed as a Premium Economy. After you clicked on the details it was listed as business class when you went to buy it. The total was only $1380.. I don’t know if it would stay as business class, but it kept doing that for multiple dates. May be a little flight glitch that could turnout pretty sweet. If you’re going anytime soon and we’re going economy anyway, might give them a try.

Qatar does not have Premium Eco.
 

lil 2 sleepy

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I was using the kayak app. It was searching as a premium economy but apparently brought up a business class flight for that amount. Anyone going might won’t to play with the options and may find a deal.
 

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Good report.
 

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I just returned from a trip to South Africa in Limpopo. I have seen many post asking about Qatar airways on the site, so thought I would give a review of my experience.
View attachment 234141View attachment 234142View attachment 234143View attachment 234144View attachment 234145View attachment 234146View attachment 234147

I flew from Nashville to Dallas on American. Dallas to Doha, Qatar. Doha to Johannesburg. Return was the same except flew through Philly on return flight. I flew on business class with my son. I did this because two Business class tickets were less roundtrip than a single business class ticket on South African Air.

The only drawback was it was two long leg flights versus one, and lengthy layovers (8hrs) in Doha, but I had time.

Qatar ticketing staff were excellent. I emailed special services with Qatar( specialservices@us.qatarairways.com ) about travel with my guns. I emailed them my itinerary, my US 4457 forms, letter of invite, and copy of passport. They quickly responded that all airports would be notified in advance. All locations were aware in advance, but take a hard copy of the above info as they will still want to see it at ticket counters both at origin and destination. My guns were locked in a Pelican double rifle case, and ammo was in two cheap, lockable survival containers I got from Cabelas($9 each). You will be directed to take rifle case directly from ticket counter to TSA oversize location and they will also check guns, then you relock and leave with them.

Qatar business class is great. Comfortable and very attentive and courteous staff. Just awesome service.

Doha airport is world class, and just voted best airport in world by traveler survey. When you depart plane to head to transfers, you will go through an additional security screening. Very quick, but you do have to take ALL electronics, camera, phone, laptop, CPAP out of your bag. Large bins are provided.

From there we went to Al Mourjan Business Lounge. It is located past the huge teddy bear sculpture, across from the BumbleBee Store(with dinosaur display) and then up private escalator.

The lounge is spacious, comfortable, and well attended.
If you do not travel business class, there is a hotel in the airport(inside security) where you can get a day room(I think it was about $300), or you can get a pool and fitness room pass for $52.

The lounge has numerous areas to chill out, including a business center with reclined couches for sleeping. The buffet is traditional middle eastern food, but is excellent and spacious. There are drink stations and bars located throughout(except no alcohol during Ramadan). The main bathroom has large private commodes, and attendants who are very polite and engaging. There is also a shower area with security if you need to refresh.

I was quite fond of the smoking lounge as I love my cigars. It is large, well ventilated, with leather chairs, glass ashtrays, and individual metal tables. There is an attendant 24/7, it is spotless, and they will come through and take beverage orders, as well as announce last call for flights departing.

There are no loud flight announcements. There are multiple boards with flight info. In addition, you may give them your flight details, and one of a dozen attendees will track you down prior to your flight.

All in all, for the money, it is an excellent value. I would equate the overall level of service to that of Disney. Everyone is courteous, helpful, and goes beyond the norm.

The only thing I would say is that plan to get to your return flight out of J’burg at least 3 hours before flight. The ticketing agents for Qatar in J’burg are African. While courteous, they operate at African pace. They seemed confused when dealing with the whole gun transport thing, and it took me about 45 minutes at the counter. Not bad unless you breakdown on way back to airport as we did and arrived only an hour before flight. We still made our flight, with our luggage and guns, but it was tight. Your funs will have to be cleared by airport security after you check in, but the officer was nice enough, and a handed him a $20 once in inspection room and we were in and out in under 1 minute. I consider it a preemptive tip, not a bribe. It worked.

I have many many more notes. But this is long enough as is. If you have questions, I will be more than happy to answer.

One last note. When we arrived back in Philly and cleared passport, everyone must collect bags to transfer before traveling home. A Qatar representative already had my guns and bags. He took us through customs/gun inspection. Everything in order the officer then escorted the Qatar agent and us thru customs, with no further inspections, and the Qatar agent carried our guns/baggage to the American ticketing counter where he made sure we were taken care of. Very nice at the end of a long flight. While he was just doing his job, these are the guys who deserve a tip because of his level of service.

Best of luck in your future travels and I highly recommend Qatar Airways!

Sounds very good and I’m glad you arrived fresh fir what matters most.
 

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i flew on Qatar on two hunting trips(2016-2017 from philly-joberg and they were good trips, no problems at all.

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Hi guys - I am about to purchase tickets for South Africa. We typically fly Delta one way from Atlanta. But their price is just absolutely ridiculous right now at $2900. It took all we could to save for this hunt. I can't see throwing away part of our hunt funds on this airfare price. So I have been watching Qatar airways. Their price right now is $1446. However I have to admit I am extremely concerned about our luggage not arriving with us and possibly arriving a couple of days later, which would cut into our once in a lifetime hunting trip. I have been reading some good responses about Qatar and luggage arriving, and then I have been reading some horrible nightmare responses about luggage arriving 3 days late.

Can anyone tell me anything about Qatar that might help me to lean towards flying with Qatar and take away this fear of our luggage not arrving???? I really appreciate any input whether it be positive or negative.
 

Hogpatrol

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Hi guys - I am about to purchase tickets for South Africa. We typically fly Delta one way from Atlanta. But their price is just absolutely ridiculous right now at $2900. It took all we could to save for this hunt. I can't see throwing away part of our hunt funds on this airfare price. So I have been watching Qatar airways. Their price right now is $1446. However I have to admit I am extremely concerned about our luggage not arriving with us and possibly arriving a couple of days later, which would cut into our once in a lifetime hunting trip. I have been reading some good responses about Qatar and luggage arriving, and then I have been reading some horrible nightmare responses about luggage arriving 3 days late.

Can anyone tell me anything about Qatar that might help me to lean towards flying with Qatar and take away this fear of our luggage not arrving???? I really appreciate any input whether it be positive or negative.

Use a dedicated travel agent like Gracy Travel or @Travel Express to get all your ducks in a row. YMMV but for a first and maybe last trip, I would NOT try and wing it.
 
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Archerholic

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Use a dedicated travel agent like Gracy Travel or Travel Express to get all your ducks in a row. YMMV but for a first and maybe last trip, I would NOT try and wing it.
I have actually been twice but those were 5 day only hunts. We decided to save for our 10 day hunt as our dream hunt that we will most likely not be doing or not be able to afford to do again. During the first two hunts we used Delta. This was a nonstop flight. Price was around $1700. That was last year. Today Delta is charging between $2600-$2900 for the same trip. Qatar is charging $1450. It just seems to be a gamble on whether or not your luggage makes it with Qatar.
 

Hogpatrol

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Have you checked SAA? They're usually 500 or less than Delta. IIRC, they've taken delivery on some new aircraft too.
 

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Can anyone tell me anything about Qatar that might help me to lean towards flying with Qatar and take away this fear of our luggage not arriving???? I really appreciate any input whether it be positive or negative.

Why are you more concerned about Qatar losing your luggage as opposed to any other airline? I flew SAA last year and they lost one of my bags for a week. As I recall, the layover you'll have in Doha is quite long, so I would think your bags will make it. I had friends fly Qatar about 4-5 years ago, Houston to Joberg via Doha and they raved about the service and price. B-class tickets half the price of Delta. If you don't mind the long layovers and added travel time, Qatar is a good option.
 

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Ive flown Qatar Airways several times over the years.. The only complaint I have about them is if you are flying regionally in the Middle East into or out of Doha, you will transfer from Terminal A (the big main terminal where all of the international flights fly in and out of) to Terminal B.

Terminal B sucks. Its small, crowded, very few food/shopping options, etc.. and the only way to transit between A and B is a bus.. whose schedule is erratic.. and typical of anywhere in the middle east.. forming a que and then loading onto the bus is an experience unto itself..

Other than that, I find them to be an excellent experience.. The main terminal in Doha is superb.. the planes are all in great shape.. the staff are always friendly.. and typically flights are very affordable..
 

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Why are you more concerned about Qatar losing your luggage as opposed to any other airline? I flew SAA last year and they lost one of my bags for a week. As I recall, the layover you'll have in Doha is quite long, so I would think your bags will make it. I had friends fly Qatar about 4-5 years ago, Houston to Joberg via Doha and they raved about the service and price. B-class tickets half the price of Delta. If you don't mind the long layovers and added travel time, Qatar is a good option.

You asked why am I concerned regarding Qatar. It is because Qatar is the only other airline that I am looking at flying due to their reasonable price. Typically we fly Delta nonstop which means the luggage from Atlanta is going to be on the same plane that we are flying. So no worries there. But with Delta's increase in airfare Qatar seems to be the next most reasonable option. Sorry to hear about your experience where SAA lost one of your bags for a week! That's terrible.
 

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Have you checked SAA? They're usually 500 or less than Delta. IIRC, they've taken delivery on some new aircraft too.
I have checked with SAA. Their reviews with luggage was way worse than I care to chance.
 

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