MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: QATAR AIRWAYS INTRODUCES DAILY FLIGHTS AND QSUITE SERVICE TO SOUTH FLORIDA PASSENGERS; SAYS REPATRIATION EFFORTS DURING PANDEMIC CONTRIBUTE TO AIRLINE RATINGS “BEST AIRLINE IN THE WORLD” AWARD
Qatar Airways landed its specially branded FIFA World Cup 2022 Boeing 777-300 aircraft in Miami, Florida July 20 with multiple aviation announcements: Daily flights and new QSuite business class service now available to Miami International Airport passengers, increased overall capacity, humanitarian initiatives that factored into its “Best Airline in the World” award, and what VP Sales Americas Eric Odone calls “unexpected” popularity to new destinations from pandemic restrictions.
“Throughout the pandemic, we never stopped flying, we did a lot of charter flights to repatriate people who were scattered throughout Asia,” says Odone “and continued to fly to Australia, despite strict limitations of 50 people per flight, so moneywise it was costly to operate, then we did charters for crews who were stuck at sea on cruise ships,” he says.
Beyond Qatar’s service and product quality, Odone points to the emotional connection of flying throughout the pandemic to countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Lebanon, and South Africa where “flights were limited to get people home who were stranded,” he says.
Qatar Airways is introducing its luxury QSuite business class product out of Miami International Airport for the first time, pointing to a South Florida demographic interested in heightened long-haul comfort in the airline’s quad space with its fully lie-flat double beds, suite doors, Do Not Disturb indicators, rosewater-scented hot towels, Doha dates, and Dining on Demand for meals served when passengers want within 15-minutes of a request. Turndown service comes complete with This is My Happy Place pillows, quilted mattress, soft duvet, and The White Company sleepwear and slippers on long-haul night flights. QSuite menus are designed using passenger demographics, incorporate sustainable products, and are environmentally and eco-friendly.
Where are these well-heeled South Floridians going? Among Qatar Airways’ 140 destinations around the globe connecting through Hamad International Airport, Odone says South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya top the list. “You can’t go to Bali anymore,” he says. “Bangkok is very restricted, so we’re’ seeing these unexpected spikes to these three adventurous destinations.”
In May 2020, Qatar reduced its 10 U.S. gateways to two: Dallas and Chicago. As of July 2021, Qatar replenished its 10 gateways, added two – San Francisco and Seattle – added double daily flights from Los Angeles, JFK, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Dallas, and have 50 percent more capacity than in 2019, says Odone.