• MW elephant blessing
  • MW at Tiger Fort, Jaipur
  • MW at Taj Mahal with friends
  • Mariellen Ward, Kumbh Mela, Haridwar, aarti, India

Flying Qatar Airways to India

Photograph of Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, designed by architect I.M. Pei

Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar

Qatar: The only “Q” country

In preparation for my Qatar Airways flight to India, I have been doing some research on Qatar (pronounced KAH-ter). The first thing I discovered is that it is the only country in the world that begins with a “Q.” Qatar is located on a flat peninsula that sticks out into the The Persian Gulf and is one of the wealthiest countries on earth (on a per capita basis), thanks to oil. Many people, like me, know Qatar chiefly because it is home to the highly regarded Al Jazeera news network. (If you have any doubts about Al Jazeera’s liberal reporting policies, read this article on their website, The Middle East Feminist Revolution, by Naomi Wolf.)

In my research I found out a few interesting things:

  • On World Travel Guide, I discovered that guests must drink two cups of Qatari coffee, neither more nor less (and must hold the cup with the right hand).
  • On the Lonely Planet site, I found out that Souq Waqif (the main souq in Doha) has been completely rebuilt to “look old.”
  • The Qatar Visitor site includes a detailed list of things to see in do in the capital city, Doha — and says that Qatar basically IS Doha, as 50% of the country’s population resides there.
  • Dave and Deb of ThePlanetD wrote about architect I.M. Pei’s greatest buildings and included the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha on their list.

Qatar is a constitutional monarchy. The country is controlled by Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who deposed his father in a bloodless coup in 1995, and has brought in many reforms — including suffrage for women. Politically, Qatar is called the Switzerland of the Middle East, which I think means they try to get along with just about everyone. Certainly by winning the right to host the World Cup for 2022; by funding Al Jazeera; and by turning Qatar Airways into one of the world’s leading airlines, Qatar is working hard to transform itself from an unknown pearl-fishing centre to a leading global citizen.

photograph of Qatar Airways jet in flightThe world’s five-star airline

I discovered that Qatar Airways is one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, and also one of the most highly regarded. The company’s tag line is “the world’s five star airline” — and it has earned that distinction by winning the World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Catering and Best Airline in the Middle East for the past five consecutive years. Qatar Airways Premium Terminal Doha was named one of the world’s most amazing airport lounges by Travel Leisure Magazine. (New Doha International Airport is scheduled to open in 2012.) Qatar also has an excellent safety record and flies, among other planes, the fuel efficient Boeing 777. All in all, I am thrilled to be flying Qatar from New York to Delhi, with a short stop in Doha, capital of Qatar.

Qatar was re-launched in 1997, and currently flies a modern fleet of 94 aircraft to 98 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and North and South America. Its fleet size will surpass 120 aircraft by 2013, by which time the global network will top 120 destinations.

Note: I was a guest on Qatar Airways.

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3 Responses to Flying Qatar Airways to India

  1. Alexandra March 12, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    I recently flew Qatar Airlines from NYC to Bombay and back home from Delhi, and I loved the airline! Although I did get caught in the snow storm and was stuck at the airport 24 hours, the ground crew wasnt the best and they didn’t handle the situation as well as it could’ve been, but all in all my in flight experience was incrediable and one of the best I have ever had! Warm towels, candy, extra snacks and meals upon request. Free Tv, movies and music! Better than JetBlue any day! Lol
    Btw I love your blog and it helped me prepare so much for first of many trips to India!!!!
    Thanks;-)

  2. Mariellen March 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Thanks Alexandra, both for the compliment and the feedback about Qatar Airways. Warm towels and extra snacks sound good to me :) I’m looking forward to my flight, and I will be blogging about it.

  3. Laurie March 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    I too flew Qatar airlines from London to Kathmandu last December (was ahead of the big snow storm by about 12 hours!) and was impressed with the service. I regretted not stopping off in Doha for a day or two – maybe next time!

    I am looking forward to reading the blog of your upcoming trip to India!

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