Sunday, February 13, 2011

A cheap flight to Singapore with Qatar Airways

I have experienced my first Singapore - Istanbul flight with Qatar Airways in December 2009. At that time I had to fly to Istanbul urgently for a company meeting and both Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines did not have an available flight on the day I had to return to Singapore. After some googling I have came across Qatar Airways and booked an economy class flight with it. It was also a cheaper flight than both Singapore Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Qatar airways use Doha, the capital city of Qatar, as a hub for international flights. The plane between Singapore and Qatar is a large airliner, Boeing 777 300 ER. You change the plane at Doha International Airport. The transfers are served exclusively by bus gates, it has been the first time I took an airport bus in an international flight. The plane between Istanbul and Doha is a smaller Airbus 320. These planes do not have private entertaintment system but this did not bother me so much since it is only a 4 hours flight.

Doha International Airport is a small airport, far smaller and basic then Dubai Airport (where Emirates stops), Singapore Changi Airport or Istanbul Ataturk Airport. But it has a service I have not seen in these others. There are quite rooms where you can rest and sleep while waiting for your flight. These rooms are really quite and seats for sleep are confortable. Do not oversleep and miss your flight.

Qatar Airways Logo Qatari Orynx
Qatar Airways Logo (The animal on the logo is a qatari oryx,
an antelope species native to Qatar)

This week I had another (cheap and comfortable) flight from Istanbul to Singapore with Qatar Airways. My previous flight was with Singapore Airlines. But since October, Singapore Airlines started to fly directly between Singapore and Istanbul and it seems like ticket prices are doubled. Turkish Airlines is out of option for me unless my company is paying because they were always very expensive (but the direct flights are very comfortable). This time I again saw that Qatar Airways is cheaper and I have booked a flight with it.

There are occasional Qatar Airways special offers in their web sites so I tried to use one. There was none during the days I fly but I have still paid around 550 SGD for a one way ticket from Istanbul to Singapore which is not a bad deal (If you are flying from Singapore I suggest you to check Qatar Airways deals from Singapore). At that time SIA was around 1000 SGD and Turkish Airlines was a little higher. But this came with a price. The flight started at 18:30 local time in Istanbul and we were in Doha at around 11:30 local time. I had to wait 3 hours in the airport for my flight from Qatar to Singapore. It would be no problem if the free wireless internet in the airport was working but unfortunetly it did not. So I ate something, got bored for 3 hours and took my plane.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777 in Doha International Airport
Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER at Doha International Airport, Qatar
One thing you need to be careful about is that when you leave your first plane for transfer, there are more than one terminals that your next flight can depart from! If you have more than one hour between your flights you will end up in "Transfer & Departure" terminal. There is also another terminal for flights with less than an hour gap between its legs. Be sure that you keep your ticket and its envelope + your cabin lugagge strip visible on the bus and ask questions if you are not sure where you will leave the bus.

The second leg of the flight starts at morning time of Singapore and ends at 15:00 Singapore time. I usually try to sleep with the local time of destination but with this flight it was not possible.

Cheaps does not mean lower quality. I really enjoy Qatar Airways in-flight entertaintment system, Oryx, on its Boeing 777s. It is far better than Singapore Airlines' or Turkish Airlines'. It is fully on demand like a DVD, its screen is larger, movie, TV show and game choices are better. You can never get bored on one of this planes. I also like the food served and the service on the planes, the food is nearly as good as the food on Turkish Airlines and the service is comparable to Singapore Airlines (their cabin crew was voted Best Cabin Crew in the Middle East for the seventh consecutive year at the 2009 Skytrax airline awards!). Cheap here means a transfer and a 3 hours waiting time and it is OK for me since I do not think these 4 hours extra worth 500+ SGD to pay.

Qatar Airways In-Flight Entertaintment System - Oryx
I have a trick in economy class which usually works and ensures a comfortable flight for me. I buy window side from one of the last 3-seat rows or 2-seat rows. The planes usually fill from front to back and from window side to corridor side and then middle seats. Occasionally I end up with 2 empty seats next to me and a great bed to sleep :) This was also the case in my last flight. So I have comfortably slept 6 hours of 7 hours of flight between Qatar and Istanbul.

Qatar Airways is in the Worlds Five Star Airlines official list by SkyTrax and I think it well deserves it. 


  1. Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
    Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

  2. Qatar is a beautiful country and people of Qatar can get cheap ticket to pakistan through Qatar airline it is plus point for Qatar's people.