Qatar Airways will resume daily flights to both Sydney and Melbourne from December 1, making it easier for Australians to plan that long-awaited international trip, as well as helping bring home more Australians who remain overseas.
While the Qantas partner and Oneworld member has been running a pared-back schedule throughout the pandemic, it's among the airlines which has continued connecting Australia with the rest of the world.
That includes flights to Brisbane, which the airline hopes to continue across 2022 and beyond.
But for now, in line with New South Wales and Victoria removing the need for fully-vaccinated travellers to head into quarantine on their arrival, here's the shape of Qatar Airways' local schedule from December 1.
- Sydney-Doha: QR909 departs Sydney at 9.45pm-10pm (depending on the day of the week) to reach Doha at 4.35-4.50am the following day
- Melbourne-Doha: QR905 departs Melbourne at 10.55pm, to reach Doha at 5.20am the following day
Those schedules will align with Qantas' evening departures to Los Angeles, with lounge-worthy passengers on the Qatar Airways flights enjoying access to the Qantas international first class lounges at Sydney and Melbourne.
For the time being, those will be the only international Qantas lounges open at either airport – the Qantas business lounges will remain closed, which means that business class travellers and Gold-grade Qantas and Qatar Airways frequent flyers can visit the first class lounge and enjoy its refined surroundings, à la carte menu and drinks selection.
And for business class passengers, the rest of the journey will be in similar style, as both the Sydney Boeing 777-300ER and Melbourne Airbus A350-1000 jets sport Qatar Airways' superb Qsuites – which offer a fully private experience in a well-appointed cocoon with its own doors and a 'dine on demand' menu.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker says that travellers can expect the same service as before the pandemic.
"The only thing we do is to (follow) Covid protocols, because we are still not out of the woods... for example, wearing a mask when you'e sitting on your seat and not eating, or if you're moving around the aisles," he tells Executive Traveller.
However, Al Baker indicated that masking rules are relaxed in the high-walled private Qsuites because "you are already isolated in the Qsuite."
"When you are in a Qsuite, you are fully enclosed, so then you don't need to really wear a mask when you're sitting."
The early morning arrivals into Doha dovetail into Qatar Airways' schedule for connections to Europe and the UK – some of which (London and Paris) will once again feature the Airbus A380.
That said, the airline's lounges and Doha Airport's in-terminal hotels provide showers and other facilities for winding down if there's a few extra hours' break in your journey.