Qatar Airways Announces Cardiff Service Launch

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You know that summer is drawing to a close when airlines start ramping up their new route/service/schedule announcements. Recently we’ve heard from United about its new routes to Europe for 2018, Delta scheduling its Atlanta – Shanghai service, United Airlines (again) announcing a new route to Sydney and Cathay Pacific announcing new routes to Europe.

Now we have news that Qatar Airways has finally settled on a start date for its proposed route between Doha and Cardiff, the schedule has been set and fares loaded into the system. More importantly, Business Class awards are currently available on the new route.

For those readers not completely at home with world geography, Cardiff is in Wales (which is part of the UK) and Qatar Airways will be flying there in 2018.

From 1 May 2018 Qatar Airways will fly between Doha and Cardiff on the following schedule

QR321 DOH 07:25 – 12:50 CWL (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat)
QR323 DOH 01:15 – 06:40 CWL (Tue, Thu & Sun)

QR322 CWL 15:55 – 00:50+1 day DOH (Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat)
QR324 CWL 08:10 – 17:05 DOH (Tue, Thu & Sun)

In further good news for the population of Cardiff (and those within reach of the airport), Qatar Airways has rostered a 787 Dreamliner to operate this route….and the Dreamliner has Qatar Airways’ best readily bookable Business Class cabin (QSuites are better but are only found on a handful of planes right now).

Qatar Airways 787 Business Class Cabin

The bad news is that the aircraft isn’t exactly roomy in Economy Class – with seats just 31″ wide and a seat pitch of just 31″ I’ll be looking elsewhere if I’m not going to be flying in the front cabin.

Cardiff will be the 5th UK destination for Qatar Airways (London, Manchester, Birmingham & Edinburgh are already served).

Pricing & Awards

I don’t know if Qatar Airways has loaded its full set of fares into the reservations systems yet as prices seem a bit high on a number of days…but award availability appears to be great right now.

I picked a few random dates for flights between Cardiff and Doha and all looked like this:

Unsurprisingly the BA website isn’t working properly and keeps offering an error message when I try to price the award up…but Avios isn’t the best currency to use for these awards anyway.

A one-way Business Class award to Doha would set you back 42,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles (85,000 for a round-trip award) but, because one leg of the journey is departing the UK there will probably be some annoying taxes to pay.

You could always convert Starwood’s Starpoints to JAL Mileage Bank (I explain about this here) and then use JAL miles to book the Qatar Airways awards….but I prefer to spend AAdvantage Miles in this instance. AAdvantage Miles are getting harder and hard to use economically while there will always be other great uses of Starpoints.

Bottom Line

I have to confess to not having a clue about how Qatar Airways plans to make money on this route but I’m not about to complain when my favorite Business Class airline adds a new route.

We may see some promotional fares posted in the next few weeks and months as Qatar Airways publicises the route before its launch but I’d be surprised if this route offered up any regular great deals – routes out of the UK rarely do.

This route is now bookable at Qatar and I’ll keep my eye open for any good promotional pre-launch offers I see.

Featured image: Qatar Airways