A little over two years ago I wrote a piece for eTN about Qatar Airways’ efficient and time-saving connections from Southeast Asia to the United States. I pointed out that it was no longer necessary to suffer the longer flights as well as the stress of transiting airports such as Heathrow or Charles de Gaulle, when considering a trip to the states from say Kuala Lumpur to New York, or Chicago.
These “Gulf” carriers (the big three being Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad) have pretty much transformed the way we fly around the world. They have caused quite a stir among the American legacy airlines, who were the first to preach the open skies agreement, affording airlines liberal access to new markets. Now they want to turn it around as it doesn’t “suit” them. A sort of knee-jerk reaction and “sour grapes attitude.”
The Gulf carriers have fought back with excellent service as well as demonstrating they add fuel to the US economy by providing thousands of jobs to US citizens as well as buying Boeing aircraft.
A perfect example and case study would be Qatar Airways, which recently won the accolade of “Airline of the Year.” The airline continues to improve its service levels and continuously adds new aircraft to its fleet. From my perspective based in SE Asia, I now can still choose from seven destinations in the United States to fly to, via Doha. There are 21 weekly flights to Doha from Kuala Lumpur most of which offer a myriad of connections at the new Hamad International Airport. Apart from the original seven destinations (New York, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas and Miami) already served, the airline will add service to Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta in 2016.
For aircraft buffs, Qatar Airways was one of the first airlines to fly the Dreamliner and now will launch its new Boston route with world’s newest aircraft the A350 XWB.
For Malaysia-based passengers, Qatar Airways offers the best and most efficient way of getting to the United States. The new airport in Doha is hassle free and very rarely plagued by the delays that its neighbor, Dubai, suffers from. Its new business class lounge, the Al Mourjan, has earned praise from the most discerning travelers, as one of the world’s best, with a sit-down meal service, a deli restaurant (which I love) and most important it is on two levels giving it an airy and spacious feel to it.
Traveling to the USA from Southeast Asia has just become a little easier.