Qatar Airways is set to boost its Istanbul flights, which sees passengers heading to Melbourne and Perth spending less time in transit on the return journey.
From October 26 2014, QR243 and QR244 run daily between Qatar’s Doha hub and Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport – served by an Airbus A320 aircraft.
With a 2:10pm departure from Doha and a 5:25pm touchdown in Istanbul, QR243 isn’t a great fit with those connecting from Qatar’s Australian flights, which normally reach Doha early in the morning.
On the return, it’s a different story – QR244 is wheels-up at 6:35pm, reaching Doha at 11:30pm on the same calendar day.
That’s just enough time for Melbourne-bound flyers to freshen up in Qatar’s new Al Mourjan Business Lounge before jumping on QR904 at 12:55am.
Perth flyers have slightly longer to enjoy the opulent lounge, with QR900 pushing back at 2am for an evening arrival.
These mining capital travellers are also in for a treat – Qatar is upgrading its daily Perth-Doha flights to the larger Boeing 777-300 from October 1, just a few weeks ahead of the Istanbul ramp-up.
And, it comes ahead of a further planned boost to Madrid flights in November and upgrading Perth-Doha to the Airbus A350 from early 2015, making it one of Qatar's first routes for the new Airbus bird.
But, as we've found, you could actually wind up earning fewer points on Qatar Airways between Australia and London than you would between Perth and Melbourne on Qantas – and the prospect of status credits isn't much better for members of Qantas Frequent Flyer...
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