Qatar Airways has announced that it will be adding its flagship A380 aircraft to the Doha – Guangzhou route later in the year and, from the fall, the A380 will make an appearance on the Doha – Sydney route as well. While Qatar Airways flyers to Guangzhou and Sydney will be enjoying the A380 later in the year, flyers to Bangkok are seeing a significant reduction in A380 service on their route.
From 1 July 2016 the Qatar Airways 777-300ER that currently operates the Doha – Guangzhou route will be replaced by an Airbus A380. The schedule remains the same, it’s just the aircraft that’s changing:
QR874 DOH 02:30 – 15:30 CAN (Daily)
QR875 CAN 00:55 – 04:00 DOH (Daily)
From 15 September 2016 Qatar Airways will deploy an Airbus A380 on its Doha – Sydney route in the place of one of its 777-300ER aircraft.
QR908 DOH 22:15 – 19:15+1 day SYD (Daily)
QR909 SY D21:50 – 05:20+1 day DOH (Daily)
Qatar Airways Airbus A380 – Image courtesy of Eric Salard via Flickr
These aircraft changes are a big boost for Sydney and Guangzhou travelers (across all classes) as Qatar Airways’ A380 onboard products are considerably better than what is currently available on their Boeing 777-300ERs.
The first difference that flyers may notice is that the Airbus A380 comes with a first class cabin – a feature that’s missing from all the airline’s Boeing aircraft.
The 8 First Class seats at the front of the upper deck of the A380 are the pinnacle in what Qatar Airways offers on board their aircraft and is a big step up from anything found on the Boeing 777-300ER.
The Business Class seats on the 777’s are an older product compared to the seats that have been fitted to the airline’s newer aircraft (like the A380, A350 and 787).
On the 777 aircraft the airline offers lie-flat Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 layout meaning that the seats by the windows do not have direct aisle access – on the A380 the Business Class cabin is configured in a much more appealing 1-2-1 layout and the increased space and privacy is noticeable.
The introduction of the A380 on the Sydney and Guangzhou routes even offers a respite to those sitting in the Economy Class cabin. In a past post I described the Economy Class cabin on Qatar Airways’ 777-300ER as “The Economy Class To Avoid If You Can” thanks to its horrible, high-density, 10-across seating.
In the 777, Economy Class passengers are afforded just 31″ of seat pitch and around 17.5″ of seat width which, to my mind, simply isn’t enough if you’re going to be on the aircraft for 14+ hours.
The A380 is comparatively civilised offering an inch more seat pitch and and inch more in seat width throughout the Economy Class cabin.
Passengers flying the Doha – Bangkok route are the ones losing out in this aircraft merry-go-round.
While at one point 3 of the 4 daily flights between the Doha and Bangkok were served by the Qatar Airways A380, come 16 September that will be down to just one – so pick your flights carefully if you want the best possible experience.