Qatar Airways had a glittering year in 2016, securing accolades from aviation industry bodies in multiple categories and continuing an ambitious expansion plan across the globe.
And despite mounting pressures on its Gulf-based competitors, Qatar Airways has remained upbeat and shown little sign of slowing down.
With a fantastic onboard product, Qatar Airways has been an increasingly popular choice for frequent flyers but it’s approach to customer service when things go wrong has sometimes left a lot to be desired.
However, AirHelp Worldwide, a passenger assistance phone app that helps passengers secure compensation and customer service responses from airlines, has just rated Qatar as the best airline for customer service in the world.
AirHelp ranked Qatar Airways as the highest ranked airline because of its customer service strategy on several levels:
- Its cabin crew were voted ‘Best in the Middle East’ for the seventh consecutive year in a row
- It scored ten out of ten for quality and onboard services
- A rating of 8.2 was awarded for on-time performance
However, it wasn’t all good news for Qatar Airways as they fell behind other airlines in quickly and efficiently responding to the concerns of its passengers when things did go wrong. It ranked in lowly 29th place for ‘claim responsiveness’, behind much smaller airlines such as Flybe of the UK and Air Canada.
Even United and American Airlines scored higher than Qatar Airways in this category. Although this news is unlikely to give the US carriers much cheer; both airlines have been rankled by the expansion of Qatar’s route network into North America which included Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles and joined 11 other destinations added to Qatar’s network in 2016 alone.
To service this fast expanding network Qatar took delivery of 19 new aircraft in 2016. Despite initial delays in the delivery schedule for its new Airbus A350 aircraft it now has 13 of these ultra modern aircraft in its 192 strong fleet. In a seemingly ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ race for the youngest aircraft fleet between Qatar and Middle East competitors Etihad and Emirates, it now boasts an average aircraft age of just 5 years.
Akbar Al Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways has congratulated his staff for helping to achieve these results. He said:
“I am extremely proud of the success that Qatar Airways has achieved together with our employees and partners in 2016. I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to all staff for their discipline and tireless pursuit of excellence. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to our loyal passengers for their continued support”
In 2016, Qatar Airways lost the title of ‘World’s Best Airline’ bestowed by industry body Skytrax to neighbouring Emirates. Instead, Qatar had to make do with awards for the Best Business Class from both Skytrax and Business Traveller.
And it sounds like things will be getting even more luxe for the Qatar Airways business class experience. New seats will be unveiled at the ITB Berlin aviation trade show in March that will be installed across its Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 fleet. An alternative seat is also being developed for the Boeing 787 jets in Qatar’s fleet as the new B777 and A350 business class seats won’t fit the dimensions of the Dreamliner.
The upbeat mood coming out of Qatar continues in 2017 with 23 aircraft to be delivered this year and the 10th of it’s passenger favourite A380 superjumbo also set to arrive in the next few weeks. More airports are also going to be seeing Qatar Airways jets before long with 15 destinations, including Dublin and Auckland to be added to their network throughout 2017/2018.
Qatar Airways is the only gulf carrier that has not dramatically slowed down its cabin crew recruitment drive. Open Days will be taking place in cities across the globe in the next few months. Although working as a flight attendant at Qatar Airways is not without its controversies (See: Qatar Airways Gets Called Out by Human Rights Group – Demands Boycott). You can apply online at the Qatar Airways recruitment website.
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Photo Credit: Qatar Airways
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.