Philadelphia Will Be First US City To Get A350 Service

Back in May, Qatar Airways announced some huge expansion to the US, whereby we’re seeing them add flights to Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York. The first three are new destinations altogether, while they’re adding a second daily frequency to New York.

The flight to Boston and additional frequency to New York will launch in March 2016, and will be operated by Airbus A350s. So it was looking like New York would be the first US destination to get the A350. But that’s not the case.


Qatar Airways has just announced that they will begin A350 flights between Doha and Philadelphia as of January 1, 2016. The daily flight is presently operated by a Boeing 777-200LR, with the following schedule:

QR727 Doha to Philadelphia departing 1:05AM arriving 7:30AM
QR728 Philadelphia to Doha departing 10:15AM arriving 6:50AM (+1 day)

Via Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker:

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are very pleased to announce the launch of our first A350 service to the United States. Philadelphia is the sixth largest metropolitan area in the USA and is an important international business hub that is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. With the launch of the new A350 service from January 1st next year, Qatar Airways will be further strengthening its position in Philadelphia and the US overall as an airline offering passengers a world-class travel experience.”

So why should you care about the fact that Qatar Airways is starting to operate A350s to the US, rather than 777s?

Because Qatar Airways’ A350s feature reverse herringbone business class seats and onboard wifi, so it’s a top notch hard product.

Qatar Airways A350 business class cabin

Qatar Airways A350 business class seat

Qatar Airways A350 business class meal service

Meanwhile the 777s just feature standard forward facing business class seats, and don’t feature wifi.

Qatar Airways 777 business class cabin

Qatar Airways 777 business class seat

So while Qatar Airways’ 777 business class was fine, it has never been cutting edge. Finally having A350 service to the US means Qatar Airways will finally be offering an industry leading product on their flights to the US.

Interestingly Qatar Airways’ “super business class” is supposed to debut on the 777s, so here’s to hoping I don’t regret saying this, since rumor has it that the new product could be rolled out within the next year or two, initially.

Now I’m just waiting on Qatar Airways’ next announcement, which will no doubt be hourly service between Atlanta and Doha (with convenient connections to India, of course), just for Mr. Anderson!


  1. Hey Lucky. I have a flight from Doha to Los Angeles in February. Do you think it be worth changing the flight to Philadelphia in order to be able to take advantage of the new plane? Or do you think they’ll delay it like they always seem to do with their flight plans? (a380 comes to mind)

  2. @ Jon — That’s really tough to say. Qatar is really inconsistent with scheduling, so personally I wouldn’t make the change yet. Maybe it could make sense to closer to departure if it still looks like it’ll happen, but for now I wouldn’t.

  3. I am a regular on the PHL flight and do not consider this to an upgrade. The 777 J seats are more spacious than the 787 J seats and have more video options. My track record is excellent on this route having 2 seats to myself.

    For a business traveler, reducing the number of J seats means that it is less likely that I can find a seat at the last minute, which is of critical importance to me.

  4. Is Qatar the AA partner that AA allows me to route through ME on the way to Africa? Or is that one of the other ME3?

  5. I assume Qatar’s A350 J seats are the same as the A380 ones? I’m interested in your upcoming review of the Cathay 777 J transpacific J seat. I thought the QR A380 J seat had more bells and whistles, but the CX seat was a lot roomier and more comfortable for long haul travel.

  6. Woo-hoo! Maybe the Atlanta FTU group can get a cheap Business Fare ex Cairo via Doha to PHL next year to try these seats out.

  7. I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if QR uses the 777 they save from this to begin service to Atlanta. Would teach Anderson a lesson.

    QR— Doha to Atlanta departing 7:05AM arriving 2:30PM
    QR— Atlanta to Doha departing 9:15PM arriving 6:50PM (+1 day)

    And the above schedule (which I made up) would make sense if they wanted convenient connections to India. They have flight banks with Indian flights arriving into Doha at about 4 or 5AM, and the departures at 8-ish PM.

    Man, I have no life.

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