My admiration of the excellent airline, Emirates Airline, is an open secret, but I mean it no disrespect when I point out that increasingly its excellence is being challenged, not by the traditional dinosaur carriers, but by two other nearby airlines.
Emirates Airline is based in Dubai and was founded in 1985. Today it has a fleet of 160 aircraft and flies to over 100 destinations in 66 countries.
In 1994, a second airline started business, Qatar Airways, based in Doha, Qatar (the next country almost immediately to the northwest of the UAE.
In 2003, they were joined by a new competitor, Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, another of the seven tiny Emirates. These days Etihad flies to 70 destinations and has a fleet of 63 planes.
All three airlines have unparalleled reputations for excellence, and all three are rapidly growing.
But with this as background, today I’m focusing on Qatar Airways – an airline many of us know very little about, even though the fly to/from the US.
Like their two nearby competitors, they are an excellent airline – so much so, in fact, that they were awarded the status of ‘Airline of the Year’ in this year’s Skytrax (awards were determined based on a supposed 18 million reader votes) airline awards. Over and above that award, it is one of only seven airlines in the world considered to be worthy of a five star rating by Skytrax (the other six being Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Hainan, Kingfisher, Malaysia, and Singapore Airlines).
In October Qatar Airways took delivery of their 100th plane (and now have grown further to 102 planes), and in November they ordered 55 more (50 of the A320neo family and another five A380s). Yes, they are indeed rapidly growing, and not just in terms of planes but in terms of destinations, too.
They’ve added almost ten new routes so far this year, including starting service to Canada, and just yesterday (Thursday) announced seven new routes that will soon be started, ranging from flights to the letter ‘A’ (Perth in Australia), through to the letter ‘Z’ (both Zagreb and Zanzibar). In total, they have something like 110 destinations around the world they currently serve, but if you blink, the number will probably increase.
So clearly Qatar Airlines is one of the most interesting and exciting airlines out there. They have one of the newest fleets and offer one of the best flying experiences.
Special Thanksgiving Sale – Save up to 25%
Which brings me to the main theme of this announcement. For four days only, they are holding their own version of a ‘Black Friday’ sale, offering up to 25% off their economy class fares, 20% on business class and 15% on first class fares.
They go all sorts of interesting places, and have tie-ins to both UA’s Mileage Plus and US’s Dividend Miles programs. Why not visit Qatar Airways’ website and see if something tempts you.
There are of course various rules and restrictions associated with this special deal, most notable of which is that it expires at the end of Monday 28th, and that travel has to be between 1 Jan and 30 April 2012.