Even a global pandemic can’t keep international carriers away from San Francisco International and the booming Silicon Valley. After years of teasing its arrival, Qatar Airways will finally land at SFO on December 15, 2020 with four weekly flights using a new Airbus A350-900.
The widebody jet will offer 247 economy class and 36 business class seats (no first class) on the 17-hour, 8,061-mile flight between SFO and Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar (DOH).
With the temporary shutdown of Emirates Airline’s SFO-Dubai nonstops through at least this winter, Qatar Airways will be the only Middle East carrier serving SFO.
Flights will depart SFO at 2:55 pm and arriving in Doha at 5:15 pm the following day. On the return to SFO, flights depart Doha at 8:15 am, and arrive at 12:55 pm on the same day. Flights will operate on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Qatar’s new Qsuite business class seat permits creation of private double-bedded accommodations.
Qatar Airways is known for having one of best business class seats flying, which it calls the Qsuite. Seats are configured 1-2-1, and include privacy doors with the option of using a “Do not disturb” indicator. In its typically boastful style, the airline describes it as “the most spacious, fully private, comfortable and social distanced business class product in the sky.” An airport spokesperson told SFGATE that business class lounge arrangements have yet to be confirmed for Qatar Airways passengers.
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Qatar Airways configures its A350-900 economy class seats 3-3-3 across with a relatively standard 18-inch wide seat with a pitch of 31-32 inches. See more about Qatar Airways A350-900 on Seatguru.com. Nice: Even in economy class, inflight wi-fi is free for all passengers through at least the end of January, according to the airline. (See more about economy class here.)
Some Americans got a taste of what flying Qatar Airways is like if they flew on Air Italy last year from several US cities (including SFO) to Milan. The airline was partially owned by Qatar Airways used its planes, and trained its cabin staff. (Read our MXP-SFO Trip Report here.) Air Italy dissolved earlier this year.
Economy class on a Qatar Airways widebody. (Image: Qatar Airways)
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are thrilled to welcome San Francisco as our newest destination, and our ninth current gateway in the U.S. As we navigate the crisis, we have made it a priority to not only reinstate our existing destinations and be the airline travellers can rely on, but to also grow our network and increase connectivity with new and relevant destinations for our customers to enjoy…As the gateway to Silicon Valley and the vibrant tech economy, the San Francisco Bay Area is a globally important destination, both from a business and leisure perspective.”
Currently, Qatar Airways flies to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. It’s a member of the Oneworld Alliance, led by American and British Airways.
Like most carriers, Qatar Airways allows unlimited date and destination (within 5,000 miles) changes on tickets issued before Dec. 31, 2020.
Onboard, the airline said that it “has stringently implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures, including the provision of personal protective equipment for cabin crew and a complimentary protective kit and disposable face shields for passengers.” Additionally, the carrier said that it recently became the first international carrier to use ultraviolet lights to sanitize plane interiors.
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Chris McGinnis is SFGATE’s senior travel correspondent. You can reach him via email or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t miss a shred of important travel news by signing up for his FREE weekly email updates!
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