Qatar Airways’ New A380 Destinations: Sydney & Guangzhou!

Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are all known for their incredible flagship A380 aircraft. As far as the highlights go, I’d say:

Emirates is the world’s largest A380 operator, with 76 A380s in service and another 66 on order. Meanwhile Etihad and Qatar have much smaller A380 fleets, with a total of 10 A380s on order for each airline.

Qatar presently flies the A380 exclusively to London, Paris, and Bangkok. On a one off basis they’ll be operating the A380 to Atlanta on June 1, 2016, though that’s mostly just to piss off Delta.

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Well, Qatar Airways is taking delivery of a couple more A380s, and has just announced their two newest A380 destinations — Guangzhou and Sydney, via airlineroute.net.

QR-A380-Routes

Qatar Airways will be launching nonstop daily A380 flights between Doha and Guangzhou as of July 1, 2016. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

QR874 Doha to Guangzhou departing 2:30AM arriving 3:30PM (+1 day)
QR875 Guangzhou to Doha departing 12:55AM arriving 4:00AM

Qatar Airways will also launch nonstop daily A380 flights between Doha and Sydney as of September 16, 2016. The flight will operate with the following schedule:

QR908 Doha to Sydney departing 10:15PM arriving 7:15PM (+1 day)
QR909 Sydney to Doha departing 9:50PM arriving 5:20AM (+1 day)

In both instances the A380 will replace once daily Boeing 777-300ER service which is presently available in both markets. The flight to Sydney is actually a new one, as Qatar only launched their Doha to Sydney route as of March 2016.

Not only does this upgrade to an A380 represent a huge increase in capacity, but it also represents a very nice upgrade to the onboard product.

Unlike the 777, the A380 features a first class cabin, consisting of a total of eight seats, spread across two rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

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Qatar-Airways-A380-First-Class-004

The A380 also has a great reverse herringbone business class product in a 1-2-1 configuration, similar to what Qatar Airways has on the A350.

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There’s also an onboard bar on the A380, which I’d argue the nicest one in the sky.

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All of that is a huge improvement over Qatar Airways’ 777 business class product, which is mediocre at best (Qatar promises they’ll soon have a new “super business class” product on the 777, but we’re still waiting).

Qatar-Airways-777-1

What’s also extremely exciting about this aircraft swap is that Qatar Airways is making first class awards available on these flights. Qatar Airways seems to be making two first class award seats available on many of these new flights.

Qatar-A380-Award-1

Qatar-A380-Award-2

Unfortunately American recently devalued their award chart, which was the best way to book Qatar Airways first class awards. Even after the devaluation, their rates are probably still the best. As a reminder, one way travel on these new flights costs the following number of miles:

  • Doha to Guangzhou: 40,000 miles business class, 50,000 miles first class
  • Doha to Sydney: 80,000 miles business class, 100,000 miles first class
  • Europe to Doha to Guangzhou: 75,000 miles business class, 90,000 miles first class
  • Europe to Doha to Sydney: 85,000 miles business class, 115,000 miles first class

Bottom line

It’s exciting to see Qatar Airways add more A380 destinations, and especially exciting to see them finally put an A380 on a longhaul flight. Previously the furthest Qatar Airways flew the A380 was London, which is a 7-8 hour flight. That’s not long enough to enjoy a great product. This 14 hour flight to Sydney will be a much better way to experience Qatar Airways’ product.

While the Sydney A380 service is no surprise, Guangzhou seems like an odd pick. That’s not to suggest it isn’t a high demand destination, but they only operate once daily service there. Furthermore, given how limited Qatar’s A380 fleet is, I figured they’d choose destinations where they can really showcase the plane, and Guangzhou just seems like an odd pick for that.

What do you make of Qatar Airways’ new A380 destinations?

Comments

  1. I found out about the change from 77W to A380 on the SYD route earlier today. Now looking forward to experience the QR A380 on SYD-DOH in October on my longest flight ever (14h40′) 🙂

  2. Thanks Ben! I was able to change our biz seats in Jan to F.. Bought miles at the discount best 1k I’ve ever spent!!! So excited it will be my first a380!

  3. After flying Etihad’s A380 on the AUH-SYD route in F Class, I’m not sure how I can top that experience.

  4. i think they had no choice, especially with competition from Emirates, Qantas and Etihad flying down under with the A380 , they needed to up their game and compete,

  5. @JJ-Na only for the inaugural, I think… that hardly counts

    I wasn’t able to book TPE-HKG-CAN-DOH-MLE because of MPM. Lame.

  6. I flew DOH-BKK in J on the 380 the other day. Very nice but not really thrilled with some aspects of the seat: the window seat is awkwardly placed: you have to lean across a bit far to get a view ( didn’t matter much as this was almost all darkness 2050-0650). Also, the retractable armrest gives the sense of being a bit too exposed to the aisle. Frankly I prefer the arrangement on AY and VN A350.
    Still : a great lounge in Doha, lovely crew and I would not hesitate to do it again ( on a super cheap ex Cairo fare).

  7. The reason Qatar hasn’t increased their frequency serving Guangzhou is that the PRC Government is limiting ME3 from having too much market share (aka more than one daily) in PEK, PVG, and CAN, the main hubs of the Chinese BIG 3. Nevertheless, since Guangzhou is the main East Asian trading hub to Middle East & Africa, the market here is large enough for QR to send in an A380. In addition, recently Egyptair has also announced that they will increase their service to Guangzhou from 5 weekly to 1 daily, using their 77W.

  8. Correction to the previous post: actually EK has twice daily services to PVG and PEK. However, the flight right restriction on ME3 at the three major Chinese airports does exist.

  9. Why is QR874 Doha to Guangzhou listed as “(+1)”? It leaves after midnight and arrives same day, so…

  10. Next September, I have a ticket from DOH to BKK in first class on the a380.

    Without notice and without refund of money have changed me to business class on the B777. I’m quite unhappy and disgusted with this policy changes

  11. To have the a380 for these new China routes, Qatar have reduced their A380 service from Doha to BKK to once daily (evening flight) like the above poster, Qatar never informed me and although I am travelling with a companion, Qatar decided to seat us in different rows of the cabin on the 777! How inconsiderate! You would expect the airline to make the effort with their business class passengers! Surely they knew of this change months in advance buy they still let you but a ticket for the a380, then change it! Let’s home we are not downgraded due to a fully booked business cabin and our tickets being business saver fare effectively makes us first for the chop.

  12. @Brad Hearn:

    Why the fear of getting downgraded? The A380 has 44 seats in C, wheras the 777 you are likely gonna get will have 42 seats in C.
    I’m sure there will be a reasonable solution in case the A380 was indeed sold out to the last seat in C (and F).

    Also, have you tried changing your seat assignments online or by calling?

  13. @david- at the time of posting, there were no 2 seats next to each other for me and my travel companion….luckily someone’s moved so have now got 2 seats together! Yay! I’m really looking forward to the A380 but equally excited to experience the 777 product!

    The version of the 777 I’m travelling on only has 24 seats in business and with all seats showing as taken I was worried about an offload! Luckily there are 2 Qatar 777’s leaving at the same time DOHA-BKK so hopefully we would only be shifted to the other aircraft in the event of overbooking….I feel sorry for those with F tickets who will now be downgraded to business lol

  14. Does anyone know what Qatar does with passengers who are downgraded from F to J/C? I don’t think a few miles in your account is fair compensation!

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