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Qatar Airways Plans Flights to Seattle, Partners with Alaska Airlines
Qatar Airways is set to launch yet another route to the United States with the start of service from Doha, Qatar to Seattle. Service will begin on March 15, 2021 using the Airbus A350-900 and is expected to operate four times a week.
The flights will depart Doha at 8:00 A.M. and arrive in Seattle the same day at 11:20 A.M. The return flights will depart Seattle at 3:55 P.M. and arrive in Doha at 5:05 P.M. Flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Seattle.
This move continues Qatar Airways’ strategy of increasing operations in the United States and continually providing capacity where others have reduced flights. Seattle is Qatar’s eleventh U.S. gateway, and the airline will actually operate more flights to the U.S. than it did pre-COVID.
Qatar has announced a number of new U.S. routes since the pandemic began. Starting next week, the airline will also be launching flights from Doha to San Francisco four times a week.
Partnership with Alaska Airlines
However, this new route isn’t the only news. Qatar Airways will be partnering up with Alaska Airlines in Seattle. The partnership isn’t that surprising since Alaska Airlines will be joining Qatar Airways as a oneworld Alliance member on March 31, 2021.
Qatar Airways and Alaska Airlines are getting ahead of the game by offering reciprocal mileage earning on both airlines. Other benefits, like mileage redemptions for flights and cross-honoring elite benefits, will be in place when Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld.
While this is great news for consumers, it does have the potential to ruffle some feathers of fellow oneworld alliance partner American Airlines. Later in 2021, American is expected to launch flights from Seattle to Bangalore. Qatar Airways already offers connections to 13 cities in India from its hub in Doha.
There is a possibility that the two may end up competing over the same passengers, who may be forced to choose between a superior experience on Qatar Airways coupled with a connection in Doha vs a nonstop flight on American Airlines, which is blocked off as nearly 17 hours in both directions nonstop. The connection from Doha to India, in addition to additional flight time to India, would add several hours to the roughly 14-hour journey from Seattle to Doha.
American’s expected success in the Seattle to Bangalore route was already questionable with competitor United Airlines launching flights to Bangalore from San Francisco, an undoubtedly stronger market. The enhanced connectivity to India, albeit on a longer journey, offered by Qatar Airways may also end up throwing an additional wrench into American Airlines’ plans for the Seattle to Bangalore flights.
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