BA and Doha

Old May 10, 17, 4:46 pm
  #1  
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BA and Doha

Serious question - not just a "BA bashing" / Qatar comparison...honest


Just tracked BA123 to Doha over the house, and it got me thinking...what is the rationale for BA still flying to Doha on their own metal? Genuine question because:


- Qatar run six (six!) daily flights between LHR and Doha: clearly selling onward connections heavily, but presumably also soaking up at least some of the point-to-point traffic: how many passengers can BA really fight for on the route?


- No issue with timing of flights: Qatar have two departures from LHR within 40 minutes of the BA flight


- Let's not compare fares: although Qatar are often (relatively) cheap in J (and indeed Y) for connecting flights, their point-to-point fares are generally not dissimilar to BA


- Quality / experience: you can love BA as much as you like, but objectively it's hard to see why one would choose to fly BA Club World (on one of the old Middle East 772s...) as opposed to Qatar business class (choice of 787/A350/A380)


- Point-to-point traffic aside, hard to see how BA make this work with connections out of the EU, when Qatar have many European cities covered directly


- I can *just* about see that BA might be feeding US/Canada passengers onto Doha, but even there Qatar run direct flights to the major US cities so I struggle to see the obvious market...


- Connections / tier points / alliances cannot count for all that much here, given Qatar is a member of OneWorld alongside BA...(yes, I know you earn slightly fewer Avios on Qatar than on BA, but come on...)


I just don't get it - wouldn't BA be better off just agreeing some sort of code-share or joint venture with Qatar and taking their own metal off this route and onto something more useful?


What am I missing? What's the point of this route for BA? Cargo? Some mega-lucrative corporate contract? A brigade of die-hard BA lovers spending big on F tickets regularly...? Someone please explain how this works...


I know the economics of any given route are complicated / multi-factor, but this one I am really, really struggling with.
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Old May 10, 17, 5:11 pm
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QR/BA = his excellency owns of both he probably demands BA fly to QR to benefit from codeshares out of Doha to Asia and Africa it's pretty much just a token route I think to validate that.
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Old May 10, 17, 5:11 pm
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As someone booked on BA123 in First, I have also wondered this. For me it's just because there's no avios availability in F on QR.

Got my fingers crossed that BA cancels the route before I fly and rebooks me on QR, so interested to understand the logic behind its existence.
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Old May 10, 17, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by ratypus View Post
I just don't get it - wouldn't BA be better off just agreeing some sort of code-share or joint venture with Qatar and taking their own metal off this route and onto something more useful?
BA/QR already have a JV ex-UK, so BA don't mind whether you fly QR or BA.

Why do BA still operate their own flight? Must be worth it somehow - maybe it's necessary for their to actually be a JV, and for BA to get a share of the revenue from all the QR flights, not just from LHR, but from the UK regions too.
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Old May 10, 17, 5:22 pm
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The BA flight is the only one between LHR and DOH that offers Premium Economy
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Old May 10, 17, 5:23 pm
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QR own part of IAG so its probably mandatory for BA to go to DOH.

Also wasn't doha a tag on to Bahrain or Muscat or was this always its own flight?
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Old May 10, 17, 5:38 pm
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Having flown AMS-DOH yesterday, QR don't always have the edge on BA; food consisted of a lamb burger with no accompaniment and their 'express breakfast' of pastries was a bread roll and mini-muffin. Admittedly, this route was on an old QR 777 which bed was uncomfortable with little mattress padding. The service was formulaic and things such as the welcome onboard felt disingenuous. The IFE selection was poor in comparison to the current BA selection. However,despite the flight being an hour late following late arrival of the incoming aircraft, the plane was certainly clean.

In contrast, the DOH-HKG flight was much better on their 787 and on the plus side , no K2 for a damage bag, just given cash there and then at the airport.

Although I appreciate many people will shout me down saying QR is better than BA, given the choice, I would still personally fly BA than QR price dependent, it suits my personal tastes better. Perhaps I have been lucky and not had a terrible flight with BA that many on here complain about. The load factors indicate that others do feel the same and I therefore doubt you will get your reroute from BA to QR s1362083.
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Old May 10, 17, 6:41 pm
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Thanks all - stands to reason it is indeed some 'political' reason: either to do with shareholders, or with the terms of the existing JV (more likely?) - didn't realise that JV already existed, though seems pretty one-sided compared with the other JVs out there (BA/AA and the like...)

Exceptions notwithstanding (such as the old QR 777 from some EU destinations), it has to be something like this rather than there being a significant / lucrative contingent who are actually choosing to fly BA over QR in the premium cabins on this route...
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Old May 10, 17, 6:51 pm
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Only other thing I can think of for passengers is that some may prefer the better EU compensation rules for the return leg that you'd have flying with BA.
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Old May 10, 17, 7:51 pm
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Just asked my friends that live in Qatar, they say they enjoy flying BA for the "Britishness", guess it's something we take for granted.

In any case, it's more of a business route than its neighbour (DXB) so a lot travelling will be on a corporate contract rather than free to select upon individual preferences.
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Old May 10, 17, 10:26 pm
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Although I flew on the old BA125, I have never done the BA123.

In the olden days way before Qatar really got going BA promised a non-stop flight for ages but never got around to it. I was surprised when it finally materialised as the fact that the horse had bolted was a distant memory. QR then started to other places in the U.K. And that was that.

My parents ran a business in Doha for over 20 years and paid for staff flights. In the beginning everyone was on BA but now pretty much all of the staff go on QR.

From an FT point of view the BAH-DOH leg was treated as l/h and earned the corresponding TPs so you would get 180 each way in F, a ticket that could be got very clearly!
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Old May 10, 17, 10:28 pm
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Also in the olden days they used to let you off the plane at BAH for the stop which was quite nice. When they stopped doing that it was utter purgatory.
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Old May 11, 17, 12:24 am
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Having flown BAH-LHR via DXB outbound (Emirates) and DOH inbound this year - most recently on QR recently this week in J I was going to post a similar thread asking why on earth I should stick with BA.

Both QR and Emirates are not perfect, but when I look at the experience I had on my daytime flight, with a superb lunch, attentive service, comfortable seat and good amenity kit etc, plus access to the 1st class lounge in Doha (on QR their local J is marketed as F and permits access), for less than half the price of a BA direct flight and only about 4 hours longer travel, its a complete no brainer.

I want to love BA, but the more I see of QR and Emirates and what a good experience should be like, the less inclined I feel to fly BA. I'm on the BAH-LHR next week with BA, which anecdotally has been a lot quieter than usual since the ending of the DOH shuttle, particularly as its got tough competition from Gulf Air and feeder flights (at the bottom end of the market you can with reasonable notice get flights with Turkish for 125 from BAH to LHR). I'm not expecting anything great, and as I'm flying VS PE to NYC at the back end of next week, I almost expect to see a better service there than on the CW sleeper.
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Old May 11, 17, 1:04 am
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I fly BA out of the GCC region because I can get Premium Economy with them. I have been doing this since 2009 at least once a year, and BA's extra TPs has given me Silver status. I also often get upgraded to CW on one of the 4 sectors which is also nice.

I also despise long flights (over 7 or 8 hours) so QR and EK are out on that regard as they only have direct long hauls to YYZ and YUL. Stopping for some champas at the Gallery Lounge in T5 is nice too.

OTOH, flying with BA out of DXB is a lot less expensive than flying out of DOH - even when I need to pay for a RT DOH-DXB with QR or someone else.
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Old May 11, 17, 1:14 am
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Am currently book on F going to Doha next year. At present we are the only ones on the flight.

The only reason we chose Doha as a destination is because there is excellent redemption availability.

BA must want this route to test out demand for the World Cup in 2022. I can't think of any other reason the have this route.
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