We’ve got a scoop for you.
An interesting tidbit to come out of the IATA Global Summit that’s currently ongoing – Qatar Airways (QR) is to commence flights direct from Doha, Qatar (DOH) to interestingly, the ultimate of ‘Haram’ destinations – yes, Sin City itself, Las Vegas (LAS).
At this point we have no official press release from the airline yet so this is well and truly breaking news coming from industry insiders at the IATA summit, but it has been announced by Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker to a closed door audience.
From what has come out of the summit, flights will begin in January 2017 on Qatar’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Qatar has three different layouts for their 777-300ER fleet – Version 1 will be the layout that’ll operate the flight with 42 lie flat Business Class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and with 316 seats in the dreaded 3-4-3 arrangement in Economy. The product on this aircraft is by no means industry leading by any means, but it will be a comfortable ride for those who shell out on a premium cabin ticket.
This will make QR the first of the big three Middle Eastern carriers to operate into the city, and will also be the first direct link to the Middle East from LAS.
Currently Las Vegas only has a trickle of long haul operations: you’ve got services to London via British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, Philippine Airlines to Manila, Korean Air to Seoul and Japan Airlines to Tokyo – other than that, LAS is pretty much a ‘feeder’ airport to LAX or San Francisco for folks who want to venture further past the continental United States. So this is indeed massive good news for oneworld fliers based out of Las Vegas – Qatar’s new services will open the door for pretty much over 50 or so international destinations through a transit in Doha. It does also help that LAS has some considerable operations from fellow oneworld member American Airlines as it is likely we’re going to see some very good deals on Qatar from Vegas to the rest of their network to start with. So given how good deals are going to be, it might be well worth it for you to get a flight to position yourself for a long haul flight out of Las Vegas to Doha and beyond. We do know from experience from QR’s launch of their Boston and Philadelphia flights that good introductory deals are bound to come. We’re talking sub-$800 fares in Economy, sub-$2000 in Biz to India.
It’s not yet clear if QR will attach an AA code to this flight, but we’d imagine that it’s a foregone conclusion given their oneworld partnership. Let’s see what the redemption the charts look like for AAdvantage Miles for this flight but again – we foresee some pretty favorable deals for this new flight.
We also can’t yet say what the schedule will look like – the airline hasn’t released the schedules but we’ll keep you posted. If we were to guess, it might mirror the rest of their West Coast operations with a pre noon arrival time and a mid to late afternoon departure back to Doha which will then connect well to their bank of flights to the Indian Sub-Continent, the Middle East and East Africa.
We’ll wait and see.
But in the meantime, let’s bask in the irony behind this flight and the massive one-stop options that have now opened up for LAS based international fliers, especially those aligned with oneworld and/or American.
Would you see it worth your while to fly out to Vegas for a night of gambling before grabbing your Qatar flight out to somewhere in the world if were on the cheap?