The US Will Get Its First-Ever A350-1000 Flight — And There's Award Availability
In February 2018, the first-ever Airbus A350-1000 was delivered to Qatar Airways. TPG was there for the ceremony and delivery flight from Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France to Doha, Qatar.
As part of the media event, Qatar's CEO Akbar Al Baker noted that the US "East Coast" would see the brand-new aircraft "soon." A few weeks later in March 2018, I asked Al Baker when we could expect the US route announcement. He deferred, saying that the A350-1000 is running “proving exercises at the moment,” and the airline wants to “make sure that the aircraft is performing well” before launching flights to the US East Coast.
Over four months later, we finally know when the first A350-1000 flight to the US East Coast will be... but, the bad news is that it's just a one-off flight between Doha (DOH) and Philadelphia (PHL) which is occurring in just over a week.
According to RoutesOnline — which TPG has confirmed with airline schedules published through ExpertFlyer — the following flights will operate on July 23, 2018:
- QR727 Doha (DOH) 8:00 departure => 14:45 Philadelphia (PHL) arrival
- QR728 Philadelphia (PHL) 21:00 departure => 16:25 Doha (DOH) arrival +1 day
Qatar currently runs an Airbus A350-900 on this route, which features an excellent business class product:
While it's disappointing that this is just a one-time flight, this flight is still notable as it'll mark the first-ever Airbus A350-1000 revenue flight to the United States, and — as far as I can tell — is the first-ever time the new aircraft type will touch US soil. Also, this is hopefully a "route proving" test run before a US route is announced using the Airbus A350-1000.
There's also plenty of reason to be excited about this aircraft. Qatar has factory-installed its award-winning Qsuite business class product on this new aircraft. While the airline is known for its grandiose claims, we do concur that the Qsuite is "First in Business Class."
Want to try the new aircraft for yourself? Well, you're in luck. There are a lot of empty seats available in business class.
Note: the middle seats in the Qsuite quad are blocked for couples and larger groups to reserve. These seats are still available and can be selected during booking.
Even better, there's currently three business class saver award seats available on the flight from Philadelphia to Doha:
Unfortunately, since there's only three available business class award seats, you won't be able to reserve the entire Qsuite quad.
One of the best ways of booking this award is through American Airlines' AAdvantage program. AA will charge you 70,000 miles for the one-way award from the US to the Middle East. And you can connect anywhere in the Middle East or the Indian Subcontinent region. Or, you can connect anywhere in Africa for 75,000 miles one-way. Unfortunately, AAdvantage rules don't allow connections to Asia Region 1 or 2 or the South Pacific on the same award ticket.