Many travelers have been waiting for Qatar Airways to resume flights between the US and India since some green corridors were set up for air bubble flights to and from India. Is Qatar Airways flying to India Now? Yes, but only from Doha as part of the Qatar-India air travel bubble agreement – which took effect on August 18, 2020. Currently, only Qatari nationals, OCI cardholders with Qatari passports, and Indians stranded in Qatar can travel on Qatar Airways’ air bubble flights to India.
However, Qatar Airways has announced its winter schedule starting this December 2020, giving us some hope about the most-awaited resumption of its normal passenger flights between India and USA. In one of the recent press briefings, the civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that India, most probably, would resume normal international civil flights by Diwali 2020 – which is another indication about Qatar Airways planning to restart its US-India services via Doha.
As per the winter schedule announced on October 2, 2020, Qatar Airways will operate flights to 124 destinations including some of the major cities in India and the United States. By the end of 2020, Qatar Airways is likely to serve New York (JFK), Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington DC (IAD). Atlanta and Miami have been dropped from the winter schedule. New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Kozhikode, Goa, Nagpur, Amritsar, and Trivandrum are Qatar Airways’ India destinations for the upcoming season.
“Many of our customers, whose Qatar Airways flights to India were cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, are planning to rebook their travel early in 2021. We hope to continue booking cheap Qatar flight tickets to India from USA as we had been doing before the pandemic disrupted travel. Qatar Airways is one of our trusted, long-time airline partners,” said the chief customer relations officer of Indian Eagle.
San Francisco is all set to be Qatar Airways’ ninth destination in the United States and the second destination in California. Starting December 15, Qatar Airways will operate four weekly flights to San Francisco, using an A350 which features the award-winning QSuite business class. The A350-900 with QSuite has earned kudos for making long-haul business travel equally comfortable and luxurious. Qatar Airways’ SFO-Doha direct flights will connect with India and other countries, and go into competition with Emirates Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways, Air India and United Airlines.
With air travel pacing up across geographies, San Francisco is eyeing to reposition itself as a key business and leisure destination. United Airlines announced to connect between San Francisco and Bengaluru, India with nonstop flights in 2021.
There is yet no clue to whether Qatar Airways is planning to offer pre-flight COVID tests like Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Lufthansa. A negative COVID-19 test report from the port of origin is one of the few ways to get exempted from institutional quarantine in India. Recently, IATA (International Air Transport Association) called for governments to share the COVID-19 testing costs with airports and airlines, so that the flying public feels confident about air travel amid the current pandemic.
Subject to the Indian aviation regulator’s approval, Qatar Airways will serve most of its US-India routes with daily or more frequencies. If certain countries, including India, uphold their travel/entry restrictions affecting Qatar Airways flights, passengers will be given “the most flexible and generous options to reschedule their plans,” said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group CEO.