Qatar's Operating the A380 on Its Inaugural Doha-Atlanta Flight
Last year, Qatar Airways announced a handful of new routes between its hub in Doha and Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles. The latter two of those flights have already launched, operating on 777 and A350 aircraft, while service to and from Atlanta will start in a little over a month. Like DOH-LAX, this route will be operated by a Boeing 777, but it appears that Qatar's planning to offer something special (and quite a bit more splashy) for its inaugural flight from Doha on June 1: one-time A380 service.
While this aircraft swap will only affect you if you plan to travel on the inaugural, this appears to be the first time Qatar has operated its A380 on a flight to the US. As One Mile at a Time points out, fellow ME3 airline Emirates often uses an A380 to operate an inaugural flight and then switches to 777 service, but Qatar hasn't been known to do this itself.
As for why Qatar's operating the A380 on the first flight, well, it likely comes back to the carrier's ongoing feud with Delta. When Qatar Airways announced the addition of a Doha-Atlanta route, CEO Akbar Al Baker said it was intended to "rub salt in the wounds of Delta," since the US-based airline has a major hub at ATL. Swapping in a superior aircraft for the launch of this new route ostensibly adds more salt, but for travelers lucky enough to enjoy the A380 on June 1, it's definitely a win. Of course, additional aircraft swaps are always possible — just yesterday we reported that Qatar's moving the A350 from its Doha-Philadelphia route in May, likely to fly Doha-Adelaide instead; flights to PHL will operate on a mix of 777-200LRs and 777-300ERs throughout the month.
TPG flew in first class on Qatar's A380 between Paris and Doha last year, and he enjoyed the onboard service, not to mention the Krug-stocked bar (seen in the featured image up top). The business-class cabin on the A380 looks plenty nice as well, offering 48 lie-flat seats on the plane's upper deck, with access to the onboard bar and its premium beverages.
Qatar will operate the A380 both to and from Doha on June 1. Here's the schedule, according to airlineroute.net:
- QR755 Doha (DOH) 9:05am Departure ⇒ Atlanta (ATL) 4:55pm Arrival
- QR756 Alanta (ATL) 7:25pm Departure ⇒ Doha (DOH) 4:15 (+1) Arrival
If you're looking to score a seat on this upcoming inaugural flight, note that as of this morning two business-class awards were still available from Doha to Atlanta, as seen with a search on British Airways' website:
Using AAdvantage miles, it'll cost you 70,000 miles one-way. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any award availability for the return ATL-DOH segment, so the outbound inaugural connection could be a good option if you're already in the Middle East and don't need to book a round-trip.
H/T: One Mile at a Time