Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Planning to fly on Qatar Airways soon? Here’s some great news: The carrier recently earned the distinction of “World’s Best Airline” in this year’s World Airline Awards—an honor it’s familiar with, as this marks their fifth win in the category. But that’s not all: In the annual awards, which is done by Skytrax, Qatar Airways nabbed “World’s Best Business Class” and a slew of other honors.
To learn more about the company, we caught up with Eric Odone, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President – The Americas. Here, we talk amazing amenities, top tips for flying, and what’s next for the airline.
Q. Qatar Airlines was recently named “World’s Best Airline” by Skytrax—a distinction it’s had five times. What do you think sets the airline apart from others?
A. Qatar Airways is an airline that dedicates itself to its passengers. Passengers always come first and that’s what sets us apart. We want to make them feel at home while flying abroad. Because of this, they are not just numbers to us. When we transport them to another location (whether for business or pleasure), we want to transport them in style. We do this by offering an array of comforts that put the needs of the individual first and emphasizes their well-being. Our award-winning cabin crew provides the best hospitality to our passengers, which is exclusively tailored to surpassing their expectations. We pride ourselves on what we like to call the “Qsuite Experience.” When flyers decide to fly in our Qsuite, it really is a business-class experience unlike any other. Our airline dining now revolves around the passenger; cuisine designed by the best chefs in the world allows you to “dine on-demand,” where the passenger can enjoy world-class meals whenever they’d like. Our Qsuite pampers the passenger with luxury, spaciousness and all of the amenities that help them arrive at their destination feeling as refreshed as possible.
Q. Are there particular amenities that flyers rave about?
A. We are fortunate to have fantastic amenities onboard Qatar Airways that keep our passengers needs in mind and help to create an environment where they feel comfortable and entertained. Our entertainment system, Oryx One, allows you to stream over 4,000 entertainment options on any personal device. Oryx One heightens the entertainment experience for our passengers and allows them to control what they watch and how they watch it. This is the very first dual-screen interface, on board all our A350, A380 and B787 aircrafts. It allows the flyer to multitask; they can now watch television or movies on their personal screen while playing games on their handheld device. This is the flying experience of the future.
Although our entertainment experience surely has something for everyone’s taste, we also include WiFi on the majority of our flights. Another passenger favorite is our luxury brand Italian BRIC’s and Castello Monte Vibiano amenity kits. They include a range of skin care products and in-flight necessities that passengers can use to freshen up with during the flight and then take on the go.
Q. The airline also won in the “World’s Best Business Class” category. What do business travelers, in particular, look for when they fly?
A. Many business travelers fly the Qsuite and are looking forward to landing at their destination ready to take on the day. They do not have time to go to their hotel and sleep off the jet lag. This means finding a business class that provides comfort that feels like home, so that they can get the necessary rest on the flight and have energy once they arrive. This can be achieved by providing a comfortable lounge space with enough leg room, satisfying meal options and attentive service that is always available upon request.
Q. What tips do you have for flyers in general—whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure?
A. I always tell passengers to be as selective with the airline they fly as they are with the hotel they choose. When we are crossing oceans or continents, we spend what can feel like endless hours sitting on a plane. To add to that, we even spend some of our precious days off flying alone. A terrible flight experience can either make or break a passenger’s adventure, whether it is for work or holiday. Therefore, I say don’t be afraid to put some extra money toward having more leg room or having WiFi. Your state of mind will thank you for it once the hours have flown by and you’ve suddenly landed at your destination well-rested and ready to take advantage of the opportunities before you.
Q. What’s next for Qatar Airlines?
A. There is a lot lined up for Qatar Airways in the coming months that I can’t exclusively disclose. However, as we continue offering the world’s best in-air experience, Qatar Airways will be expanding to all corners of the world. We are looking forward to launching our Qsuite onto more of our current flights, specifically in the United States. In addition, you can expect Qatar Airways to launch new routes from Doha to more far away destinations like Gaborone, Botswana, which is due to launch October 27, 2019. Our airline is devoted to always putting the passenger first and bringing a luxurious experience to all passengers who choose us as their airline of choice, and that will never change.
Eric Odone, SVP of Qatar Airways, is currently based in New York and has over 21 years in the industry.