In this post we’ll review our experience flying Economy with Qatar Airways from Delhi to Doha. This flight was part of a 3-week trip to the UAE, India and Qatar. Overall, we were impressed by Qatar’s international Economy product, but we definitely have thoughts on flying out of Delhi. Keep reading to learn about flying Qatar Airways Economy.
Our Flight Details
Let’s start by taking a quick look at the specific details for our flight and booking.
- Origin: Delhi, India (DEL)
- Destination: Doha, Qatar (DOH)
- Flight number: QR 571
- Plane: Boeing 787-8
- Airline & cabin: Qatar Airways Economy
- Seats: 21A, 21B, 21C
- Departure time: 10:14 AM local Delhi time
- Arrival time: 11:22 AM local Doha time
- Total Flight Time: 3 hours, 38 minutes
- Distance: 1,587 miles
- Cost (2 adults, 1 child age 2): $767 USD
About Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways is frequently ranked as one of the best international airlines in the world, including in 2022 by industry experts Skytrax and AirlineRatings.com. They receive praise for their new fleet of planes (averaging only five years old), passenger service and comfortable cabins, among other things.
The state-owned airline is based out of Doha and operates flights to 150 destinations around the globe. While they offer a handful of Fifth Freedom routes (flights between two destinations outside of Qatar), nearly all of the airline’s flights begin or end in Doha.
While Qatar is trying to build up its tourism industry, especially in light of hosting the 2022 World Cup, it’s not a country many international travelers spend too much time in or prioritize as a destination itself. As a result, many travelers flying Qatar Airways will connect through Doha before carrying on to another destination. For that reason, the airline offers stopover packages which allow you to stay in Doha for up to four nights without having to book separate flights. (We also have a Doha planning guide if you’re planning a stopover.)
This was our first time flying Qatar Airways. Based on previous experience with Middle Eastern airlines (specifically Emirates and Etihad), we knew we were in good hands with Qatar Airways, even in Economy. It was also a good teaser for Qatar Qsuites, which we would be flying out of Doha a couple days later.
What does Qatar Airways Economy include?
For my US readers, let me tell you — flying Economy internationally on a Middle Eastern carrier is nothing like flying Economy domestic in the US. In fact, I would say that our Qatar Economy experience was as good if not better than premium cabins we’ve experienced in the US (like Delta Comfort Plus and maybe even Delta First Class).
Here is what you can expect from an Economy flight on Qatar Airways.
- Two checked bags. Economy passengers are allowed two checked bags, weighing between 50-70 pounds depending on your fare class, at no extra cost.
- One carry-on bag. Each passenger is allowed one carry-on bag weighing no more than 15 pounds. This weight is important to note, because most decently packed carry-on sized suitcases would weigh more than that.
- Spacious, reclining seats. Qatar Airways offers one of the largest Economy seats in the industry. Details vary by plane, but seat widths range from 17 to 18.9 inches and pitch from 31 to 33 inches.
- Chef-crafted meals. Delicious 3-course meals are served on board. You can preview the exact menu for your specific flight online in advance and/or request one of 18 available special meals.
- Complimentary beverages (including alcohol). An unlimited offering of soft drinks, coffee, tea, juices, beer, wine and select liquors are available at no extra cost.
- Unlimited snacks. A selection of snacks are available in the galley which passengers can grab at anytime.
- Amenity Kit (select long-haul flights). Passengers will receive an amenity kit which includes the basics like a dental kit and eye mask.
- Kid’s activity pack & meal. Pre-order a children’s meal and it’ll come in a keepsake lunch box. Kids will also receive an activity pack. (This is advertised on their website but we personally did not receive either for our child during our flight.)
Booking Qatar Airways Economy from Delhi to Doha
Like the rest of our flights during this specific trip, this flight was a one-way journey. We had previously flown Emirates Business Class from New York to Dubai and then Air India Business Class from Dubai to Delhi. We had also already booked our flight on Qsuites from Doha back to New York, so we now just needed to get from Delhi to Doha.
When we first started planning this trip a few months out, the cheapest option was on Air India. However, that flight was late in the evening, which wasn’t ideal for traveling with our two-year-old. We preferred the timing of the Qatar Airways Economy flight, but at almost $200 more per person we couldn’t pull the trigger.
We put off booking the Air India flight with hopes of the Qatar Economy fare dropping closer to our travel date. Our gamble paid off. About three months prior to our travel date, we discovered that the Qatar Airways flight dropped to a reasonable $246 per person and we jumped on it.
Tip! You can track flights and set up email alerts in Google Flights. Simply search for the route and then toggle on Track Prices for your specific travel dates or any date. You’ll then start receiving email notifications when flights on that specific route are low. Click the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) > “Tracked flight prices” to manage email notifications.
We booked our flight in cash directly through Qatar Airways. We paid a total of $767 USD for two adults and one child. Qatar Airways offers discounted pricing for children 11 and under. The children’s rate is 75% the adult base fare, plus full priced charges and fees.
You can also book Qatar Airways with points a variety of ways, but for Economy it is not a particularly good use of points.
Airport Experience at DEL
I cannot emphasize this enough. If you are flying out of Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, get there early. We arrived at the airport at 7:15 AM for a 10 AM scheduled departure and had very little time to spare.
The first roadblock came as soon as we arrived. There were queues for passport and ticket check before even entering the airport. We didn’t yet have our boarding pass, but not seeing any other options, we got in line anyway. The guard let us through after checking our passport and looking at our booking on our phone.
Next up was the Qatar ticketing desk to check our bags and print our boarding passes. The Economy queue was long, but moved quickly. There was an additional passport check in the middle of this queue.
Qatar requires an onward ticket for foreigners flying into the country. Since our current ticket was one way to Doha, we had to prove that we had a separate ticket leaving Qatar and returning to the US. This took some time because of the poor wifi at the Delhi airport.
Then we made our way to immigrations. This line was short-ish, but moved painfully slow. We also caught them right at shift change, so we went from three agents for our queue down to just one. Once we were called, though, we were processed quickly.
The last hurdle was security, which again had a short line but moved slowly. Delhi airport requires that you take out essentially all electronics and electronic accessories. This includes but is not limited to tablets, laptops, charging cords, portable speakers, cell phones, headphones (including AirPods), hair straighteners, power adapters, etc, etc.
We only took out our core electronics (tablet, laptop, phone) the first time, so we had to unpack all of our cords and such and send our bags back through for a second scan.
By the time we reached the gate, it was 8:45 AM. We had just enough time to grab a coffee and a tuk tuk souvenir before boarding started just after 9.
Boarding Qatar Airways Economy
Qatar Airways offers priority boarding for Business and First Class passengers, as well as for guests who need assistance. The sign at the gate stated that they also had priority boarding for families with small children, but when we asked about it the gate agent told us we needed to wait for our boarding group.
We were in group 2, so it wasn’t long until our group was called. At that point, there was very little crowding at the gate and only a short line to board.
Boarding with group 2, we easily found overhead bin space for our larger carry-on and then stuck our two backpacks under the seats in front of us. As boarding continued though, overhead bin space started to run out.
The people seated behind us had a hard time finding space for their items and ended up burying our bag in the process. When we deplaned later, it was obvious how many people had to retrieve bags from different parts of the plane where they could find bin space.
Qatar Airways Economy seats on Boeing 787-8
There was a pillow, blanket and headphones on each seat when we arrived. On the Boeing 787-8, Economy seats are in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The Economy seats were a generous 17.2 inches wide and had a pitch (distance between seatbacks) of 31 inches. The seats looked new and were covered in plush, red or grey upholstery. Each seat had an adjustable leather headrest and could recline a few inches.
While the seats felt spacious enough in general (noting that we’re average heights of 5’3″ and 5’7″), it definitely felt more cramped when the seats in front of us were reclined. When their seats were fully reclined, eating at our tray table was uncomfortable and we could not fully stand our tablet on the tray table.
The seatback screens were large for Economy and impressively loaded. The airline claims there’s over 4,000 entertainment options, which I believe. I was overwhelmed by the selection which included all of the Harry Potter movies, a long list of Marvel movies, the full Bourne series, numerous Disney animated films and so much more. In addition to Hollywood hits, they also had a collection of Bollywood, Arabic and African content options.
The seatback screen had a two-prong headphone jack which supported the provided headphones. It also accommodated a standard jack if you wanted to use your own headphones. The screen also housed the overhead light controls and flight attendant call button, and it also displayed the flight status information.
The window shades on the 787 are digital and controlled by a button. Ours wasn’t working properly, which had us grumbling for a physical shade to pull down.
Food & beverage service on board Qatar Airways Economy
The food and beverage service on Qatar Airways Economy was impressive both in speed and quality. Qatar Airways actually revamped their menus in 2019 and dramatically improved the quality and quantity of their inflight meals.
There were multiple flight attendants (four I believe) serving our cabin simultaneously. We were seated in the middle of the cabin, but we were among the first to be served because of how the sections were broken up.
Shortly after take off, they began the first complimentary beverage service. They had a collection of soft drinks as well as beer, wine and a couple liquor options.
Meal service immediately followed, which was lunch on our midday flight. We are vegetarian, so we pre-ordered vegetarian special meals. The flight attendant confirmed our selection and then immediately served our meal.
(Note: If you didn’t pre-order your meal, there was a selection of two or three different entrees. She didn’t go over the details with us, so I can’t confirm exactly what was available.)
We each received a hearty entry selection with a side, bread and dessert. We had one lacto-ovo vegetarian meal and one Asian vegetarian meal. Both were really flavorful, substantial, and really quite tasty.
After the meal (quite a bit later if I recall), they cleared our trays and offered an additional beverage service. This is were things got a little inconsistent. The section in front of us had an additional full beverage service, including alcohol, while our section only received a coffee and tea service.
That is to say the only proactive beverage service. Drinks are unlimited so we could have asked for a different beverage or rang our call button if we needed something different.
Overall, we found the food and beverage service to be quite impressive for an Economy flight.
Arrival and Immigrations at DOH
Our arrival into Doha was a breeze. As I mentioned above, Doha is a popular connections hub. We were shocked at how few passengers from our plane were at immigrations and actually exiting the airport in Doha.
Despite being seated in the middle of the Economy cabin, when we arrived at immigration we seemed to be the first ones there. We walked right up to the agent with absolutely no wait and were quickly processed.
By the time we got through the passport check, bags were already coming down the carousel at baggage claim. Even though we were flying Economy and had no priority baggage retrieval, we still got our bags almost immediately and the area was almost entirely empty.
Once we had our things, we were off. The Doha Airport is really well marked, and we could easily follow signs toward the Metro. It was a bit of a hike, but it was entirely indoors with plenty of moving sidewalks and escalators to make things easy.
Closing thoughts on Qatar Airways Economy
We had a truly wonderful flight in Economy on Qatar Airways. Despite it being the only Economy leg on a trip bookended by pretty luxurious premium flights, I didn’t find myself missing any creature comforts. I was perfectly comfortable for a 3.5-hour daytime flight, the food was delicious, the flight attendants were delightful and the entertainment selection was almost too good. (I was paralyzed by choice!)
This flight reminded me of how much better international airlines are at Economy than domestic US airlines are. We fly low-cost carriers between New York and Orlando frequently, so we are used to bad service, cramped quarters and paying for drinks on board. So compared to that, Economy on Qatar feels like a substantial upgrade.
We liked flying Qatar Airways and truly enjoyed spending a couple days in Doha. There’s definitely a world in which we fly to Doha on Qatar Airways again and then connect to other Middle East destinations. However, our little one really loved Atlantis in Dubai. That means we are probably more likely to fly Emirates in the immediate future which puts us in Dubai for Middle East connections.
More From This Trip
- Emirates Business Class Review – A380 JFK to DXB
- Our Stay at Atlantis Dubai – A Perfect Place to Recharge
- Detailed 2-Day Dubai Itinerary
- Air India Business Class Review – 787 from DXB to DEL
- A Parent’s Guide to Traveling to India with Kids
- India Golden Triangle in 10 Days [Travel Guide, Itinerary &Tips]
- 3 Days in Delhi – Sample Itinerary + Planning Guide
- The Oberoi New Delhi Hotel Review
- Jaipur Itinerary – 1 or 2 Days in the Pink City
- Review of Jai Mahal Palace (Jaipur)
- Train from Jaipur to Udaipur – AC 3-Tier Sleeper Class
- The Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel Review (Udaipur)
- Udaipur Travel Guide + Things To Do
- Celebrating Holi in Udaipur (With a Kid)
- Overnight Train from Udaipur to Agra – AC First Class Sleeper
- The Oberoi Amarvilas Review: A Luxury Hotel with Taj Mahal Views
- Kerala Express Review – Agra to Delhi in AC 2-Tier Sleeper Class
- Hotel Review: JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity
- Qatar Airways Economy Review – DEL to DOH
- Doha Things To Do & Travel Guide (Perfect for a Stopover!)
- Qatar Airways Qsuite Review – 777 from DOH to JFK