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Bigger meals, new seats – but is Qatar miffed with Qantas?

March 8, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Qatar Airways stole the limelight on the opening day of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest international travel and tourism trade show, by unveiling a stunning new economy class and seven new global destinations – but behind the scenes the airline is reportedly peeved by some of its oneworld partners including Qantas.

Qatar Airways may soon withdraw from oneworld.

The airline’s new economy class experience features more food (meals are bigger) and a seat with an innovative 19-degree recline system, allowing passengers to recline seats without annoying the passenger behind – a frequent cause of in-flight conflict.

It’s outlined in the one-minute video clip below:

Qatar’s new economy class also features additional legroom, dual trays, 13.3-inch (33.8cm) 4 K widescreens and type ‘C’ fast charging USB port. The airline’s new in-flight dining experience ‘Quisine’ includes new retail-style tableware, a menu offering more choices, 25% larger main courses, 20% larger appetisers, and 50% larger desserts.

The airline say it is “going green with Quisine”, as the new economy class proposition sees a significant increase in rotable, recyclable and biodegradable products and reduction in single-use plastic. Economy Class passengers will also be able to enjoy improved connectivity, including up to 10 times faster broadband, as well as more than 4000 entertainment options on Qatar Airways’ Oryx One in-flight entertainment system.

At a press conference attended by nearly 200 members of the media, Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker also revealed an array of forthcoming global destinations the airline will launch in 2019, including Lisbon, Malta, Rabat in Morocco, Izmir in Turkey, Mogadishu in Somalia, and in Australia’s region, Langkawi, Malaysia and Davao in the Philippines.

AFTER LAUNCHING THE NEW PRODUCTS and revealing the destinations, Al Baker reiterated to the media that Qatar Airways was likely to leave the oneworld alliance – and it could happen in just a few weeks.

The Points Guy (an American travel website that produces news and stories on travel, aviation, points and miles and credit cards) quoted Al Baker saying he would within “a month or two” deliver the decision on whether the airline would stay or withdraw from oneworld. The Qatar chief added ominously “I think it is the latter that will happen”.

Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker, centre, launches the new seat

Al Baker said a decision to withdraw from oneworld would create “a big hole for them in their entire connectivity”.

According to The Points Guy’s report, the often outspoken Al Baker expressed frustration with certain members of the alliance – “specifically, though not explicitly mentioning, American Airlines and Qantas” – for not treating Qatar Airways with the same respect as other oneworld members.

Al Baker said he had given the erring oneworld members “breathing space to get their act together”.

Qatar Airways demanded respect and would not submit to anybody “trying to bully us”, he declared.

Written by Peter Needham

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