Qatar Airways A380 Inaugural Flight Delayed

Qatar Airways will be the next carrier to dispatch A380s on their longhaul routes, and announced back in April that their inaugural A380 flight would be from Doha to London on June 17, 2014. The plane would offer daily service between Doha and London on the QR3/QR4 service.

Qatar-Airways-First-Class-1
Qatar Airways A380 first class cabin

They then announced that the next A380 destination for them would be Paris, with A380 service on that route inaugurating on July 3, 2014.

I booked the inaugural London Heathrow A380 flight in first class, using a reasonable paid first class fare out of Cairo. I figured it would be a good chance to write one of the first reviews of their first class, and also to maybe meet one of the most confident guys in the airline industry, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker (I figured with near certainty he’d show up at the inaugural to “show off” his plane).

Well, while there hasn’t been an official announcement, it does appear as if Qatar Airways has delayed their A380 launch.

I was booked on the June 17 inaugural flight, which now shows as a 777-300ER, and doesn’t even feature a first class cabin. The first date with A380 service now shows as July 1, 2014, once again on the QR3/4 service.

Qatar-Airways-A380-Inaugural

Interestingly the Paris A380 launch hasn’t been delayed (yet), and still shows as an A380 for July 3, 2014.

I find it really embarrassing that they announce an inaugural route just seven weeks out, and then delay it further. Especially since the A380 has already been delayed quite a bit due to the delayed opening of the Hamad International Airport.

But I’m sure His Excellency will chime in soon with an explanation. My guess? “I told Airbus almost three weeks ago that I wanted to install a third floor private villa with falcon quarters, and they told me it would take at least six weeks. This is ridiculous, what am I suppose to tell the royal family?” Or something like that. šŸ˜‰

Comments

  1. @Lucky –

    When the airline changes equipment like that can you change or cancel your flight w/out penalty, regardless of purpose of your reason to be traveling?

  2. @ Drew — Since I’m in first class I assume I can, since they totally eliminated the cabin and will downgrade me. It’s a tougher sell in business class, since they still operate that cabin. So would need to convince an agent you booked it just to be on the inaugural. Which should be possible, though will require a bit of work I’m sure.

  3. @ Hong Kong Airline News — I assume I would automatically be downgraded to business class. That being said, not taking this trip just to review 777 business class, so will likely rebook.

  4. A reader on another post alerted you of this change, right? Did you get any other notification from the airline? Is this how airlines normally handle downgrades due to equipment changes? I’ve never dealt with this issue before. It seems really shady that they wouldn’t notify people of the equipment/class change when paying customers are paying thousands of dollars more for a first class seat but being shoved into business class due to the airline’s equipment issues.

  5. @ Reine — My guess is that they probably will get around to notifying people, though it seems that the change has JUST been loaded. So I’ll give them 24 hours before passing too much judgment.

  6. Too bad, Lucky, though it would be nice if you decide to review QRs BC product anyway. Oh well.

    With regards to Asiana, I saw a TR of their new suites on Youtube the other day, and sadly, they not only kept the god awful fabric design of their old FC seats, the suite shell also has the same look as China Southern’s does (ie, cheap gray plastic). Now, it may be a fantastic seat, and I’m sure it’s a step up from their previous seat, but as far as aesthetics go, I think Singapore and Etihad have the nicest looking full suites overall.

  7. @ wwk5d — Plan to review Qatar’s business class in a few weeks anyway. Just not on a paid ticket, since there’s no reason to do so when award space is fairly readily available.

  8. @lucky – Unrelated to this, but it looks like AA is having issues booking EY award tickets. I was on the phone with the EXP line and they couldn’t make a reservation LHR-AUH. They spoke to their liaison and told me that there is a “broad” issues with EY. Maybe you can try and see if you have better luck?

  9. @ Angel — Hmm, haven’t had any issues. Did you try other dates/flights? How many award seats was Etihad showing?

  10. In case you were wondering, this is pretty much how everything here in Doha goes. As you mentioned, the new airport has been delayed numerous times and April 1, 2013 when it was supposed to open, they cancelled the grand opening about an hour before the first plane was about to land.

  11. QR hasn’t released yet which route the 3rd QR A380 will take (or have they?.) Perhaps all three A380s will debut their inaugural flights first week of July?

  12. @lucky: it was a very simple MXP-LHR on BA and then LHR-AUH on EY….I’ll call again. KVS is showing 2F and 2J on the flight.

  13. Just tried a different agent and she said nothing comes up for EY….I guess they have a problem after all.

  14. @ Angel — There are sometimes availability discrepancies, but it’s rare. When they happen, not much that can be done, sadly. Has been happening for a while.

  15. My brother and sister-in-law are booked on the same flight as he really wants to try their A380 product. I just texted him when I read this, and he is freaking out. He just tweeted at Qatariyya, so let’s see what comes out of this.

  16. @lucky I told you about the AA-EY issues….Gary via TravelingBetter is reporting the problems they are having at the moment….

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