Qatar Airways started operating from Helsinki to Doha, Qatar one year ago. Ever since, I’ve flown the airline eight times already. So it was high time that I write to you about Qatar Airways. A direct flight from Helsinki to Doha Hamad International Airport takes about 6 hours. Although Doha itself seems to be an interesting destination, the majority of Finnish tourists continue to travel from Qatar to the East.
Qatar Airways is definitely one of my favorite airlines, and it’s often my first choice when travelling to many destinations. In short, Qatar Airways, a part of Oneworld, is a safe and customer-friendly company with an excellent fleet of aircrafts.
The best destinations from Finland & Scandinavia
Qatar Airways has been operating from Helsinki to Doha once a day, but has just added a second daily flight to its schedule. Qatar Airways, at least for now, is the only Middle Eastern leading carrier flying from Helsinki. However, there are currently route exemptions in the Middle East, as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut down diplomatic trade relations with Qatar. See up-to- date information here. However, cutting diplomatic trade relations does not affect safety or flights to any other destinations.
I have used Qatar Airways to fly to Vietnam and Thailand. Qatar Airways is also great for Indonesian destinations (the best route to Bali), Maldives, Seychelles, Australia and New Zealand from northern Europe.
Qatar Airways fleet
In the first year, the airline operated on the A320 aircraft between Helsinki and Doha, but a few weeks ago, the company acquired the Boeing Dreamliner. Dreamliner is a new mid-size, twin-engine long haul aircraft. I have also flown in Qatar Airways B777, A320 and A330 aircraft types. Although Qatar Airways A320 interior is modern and comfortable, Dreamliner is definitely a positive change for this route! Next time I hope to travel their A380 in Business Class as there is a champagne bar at the front of the front of the plane…
The average age of Qatar Airways fleet is only five years, which is considerably better than the average in commercial aviation.
World’s Best Business Class
Most of my flights with Qatar Airways have been in Business Class, but I have also flown two flights in Economy. This autumn, Qatar Airways offered me an upgrade to their Business Class for collaboration, but all other Business Class flights I’ve purchased myself. Of course, traveling in Business Class can be expensive, but Qatar Airways often has excellent offers – so I really recommend subscribing to their newsletter. I paid about EUR 800 for one-way Business Class flights from Helsinki to Bangkok via Doha. You can also request a Business Class upgrade at check-in or Hamad airport service desk. So far, the price for one long flight (eg Ho Chi Minh City-Doha) has been around 400 euros for me.
On Qatar Airways Economy Class, the service is usually superior in comparison to many others. I’ve noticed though that the level of service may differ a lot though due to cultural differences of the crew.
Seats on the A320 Economy Class are more comfortable than the usual and at least I felt as if they were a little more spacious. For the time being, all the meals I have enjoyed in the economy class of Qatar Airways have been good and are often slightly more versatile than on most airlines, I mean they even serve their bread hot, which in economy is a winner.
The movie selection is also really versatile, so there’s no time to be bored onboard Qatar Airways.
Hamad International Airport and stopover in Doha
Hamas International Airport in Doha was only opened in spring 2014, so it’s still brand new state of the art hub for travellers in The Middle East. Doha is the perfect transit hub for many travellers en routes especially between Europe, Asia and Africa. Just a couple of weeks ago I had 9 hours to spend at the airport in the middle of the night on a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Helsinki. I did not have the access to a lounge, but was able to purchase one with 55 USD at Oryx lounge, which is not the greatest of lounges, but perfect for hours of napping and eating and trying to get some work done. Find more lounge options at Hamad International Airport here.
Doha in itself is an interesting rising destination and can easily be explored on a stopover. If you are stopping in Doha for over 5 hours during the day, find out options for tours here.
So all in all, Qatar Airways on is a comfortable and safe choice for a long-haul flight!
*Note! Photos of Doha & the economy class of A320 are provided by Qatar Airways for this blog post. Qatar Airways also sponsored my upgrade to business class en route to Ho Chi Minh City.0