STOP PRESS! Qatar Airways has just been announced as the 2015 overall winner of the Skytrax Airline Awards!
Baby Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Baby Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.
The second review in our series looks at the Skytrax 2014 Passengers Choice Awards runner-up Qatar Airways. A relative new kid on the block but leading the way amongst a number of Middle East airlines.
Base: Doha, Qatar
Skytrax Rating 2014: 2 (runner-up)
JACDEC Safety Rating 2015: 21
Trip Advisor Rating: 58%
Expectant mothers with an uncomplicated pregnancy can travel without a doctor’s certificate up to the 28th week of pregnancy, but they do suggest you should get one anyway to prevent any delays at the airport.
A multiple pregnancy beyond the 29th week and up to the 32nd week requires a MEDIF form to be completed and a doctor’s certificate, they will not take mothers with multiple pregnancies beyond the 33rd week.
For a single uncomplicated pregnancy a doctor’s certificate is required between the 29th and 32nd week, and additionally a MEDIF form from the 33rd to 35th week, boarding will not be allowed beyond the 36th week.
MEDIF forms must be completed between 2 to 7 days prior to the flight. They suggest expectant mothers should request the bassinet / aisle seat or a seat with a leg rest.
Passengers are only accepted from 8 days post delivery.
Infants (under 2 years)
Infants (8 days to 2 years) sitting on parents laps will pay 20% of the adult fare.
Bassinets are available; they should be booked at the point of payment. Dimensions given for their bassinets are up to 14kg (30.8lbs) 76.8cm x 29.8cm x 15.8cm. Infant care packs are provided as well as soft toys.
Only one infant is allowed per adult lap. One additional infant under 2 but over 12 months may sit in a car seat on a child’s ticket. A third infant without another adult would require an escort service to be booked (see below).
Children (2-11 years)
Their children’s tickets vary widely by route but expect to pay c80% of the adult ticket price.
Young Travellers are very well catered for with activity packs and Sponge Bob themed re-usable lunch boxes with a really good mix of food. There is a huge array of children’s entertainment channels on Oryx, their onboard entertainment system, even a baby channel!
Children between 5 and 15 are permitted to travel as unaccompanied minors and will be cared for throughout the journey by cabin crew. Qatar also offers an escort service where you pay for a member of staff to travel the entire journey with your child. Bookings for this service must be made at least 72 hours prior to departure; you will incur a full adult return fare for the escort in addition to the child’s ticket.
Checked luggage varies by route, but generally on flights from Doha to the Americas, infants can take one piece up to 23kg, children and adults 2 pieces of 23kg each. On all other routes it is a 10kg limit for infants and one piece of 23kg for children and adults. (Note if your journey is continuous to/from the Americas you get the weight allowance for the whole flight including connections).
In addition for each infant you can bring one stroller, carry cot or pushchair without additional charge. Hand luggage with a maximum weight of 10kg is also allowed.
Frequent Flyer Programs
Anyone from 2 years old can join the Privilege club to earn Qmiles. An adult can be nominated as the main family member and Qmiles can be pooled for up to 9 family members.
The Baby Globetrotters View
We undertook our recent Florida adventure with Qatar Airways and I must say, I was impressed. From the customer service through to the kids meals, comfort on board and transferring through Hamdan International Airport in Doha, I can see why they are considered a 5 star airline and they have already won our repeat business with further flights in October.
Their family points pooling is generous, and with any luck after a second round of long-haul flights we will shortly have enough points to start cashing in. The Middle East airlines are all competing for customers but Qatar seems to be coming up trumps on price every time of late when flying ex-Abu Dhabi. The irony is due to pricing structures our friends that live in Doha fly Etihad as the pricing seems to work in reverse ex-Doha.
Their luggage allowances on the ultra long-haul Americas routes are also one of the most generous I have seen. All up in terms of their family-friendliness I give them top marks, particularly the airport facilities in Doha really impressed.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is informational only, gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (May 2015). Please consult the airlines own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of Qatar Airways services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline.
Have you flown pregnant or with infants/children on Qatar Airways? Do you have a review or advice to share with travelling families?
Categories: Airline Reviews