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How to ease the pain of flying Economy on Qatar Airways

by on Tue March 7, 2017 • 2 Comments


Flying long haul in economy isn’t the most desirable experience in the world, but with many beautiful places to be seen and experienced around the world, flying is the most feasible way to get there quickly, and flying economy is the most cost effective method.

Here we’re going to help you out with everything you need to know to make the most of flying Qatar Airways in long haul economy class.

Flying Qatar Airways in economy is a pretty comfortable experience, especially if you are primarily used to flying the U.S. carriers on long haul flights.

There are two things to note about flying Qatar Airways in economy that really sets them apart from many other airlines (especially U.S. carriers). First off – you’ll receive an amenity kit. This kit has socks, an eye mask, and ear plugs in it to make your flight just a little bit more comfortable.

Secondly, the meal is actually decent. Granted, it is still airplane food, but it’s airplane food that you probably won’t mind eating.

The most frustrating thing is getting a good seat assignment, which we’ll cover here.

Getting a good seat

How and when to get a seat assignment

When you make your booking on, you will have the opportunity to select your seat, but only after you pay for your flight.

To make things more frustrating, you can’t see the seat map of a flight before you buy on Qatar’s site, so you could end up on a flight with nothing but middle seats available.

A workaround is to use a site like Travelocity to search for the flight. There, you can see seats before you have to make a payment, then you can go to the Qatar site to make the booking.

If you didn’t get to choose a seat while booking, you can choose your seat on Qatar Airways through ‘Manage Booking’ or by calling 1-877-777-2827.

You can change seats online through ‘Manage Booking’ up to 24 hours before departure.


How late you can change a seat online?

It is beneficial to check the seat assignments regularly for your flight because you might have the opportunity to have a whole row or an extra seat to yourself. Unfortunately, Qatar Airways only will allow you to change your seat online through ‘Manage Booking’ up to 24 hours before departure.

Within 24 hours of departure, you can check-in for your flight online and will have another opportunity to change your seat then. The online checkin window closes 90 minutes before departure, and after then you’ll need an agent to change your seat.

How to get exit row and bulkhead seats

Exit row and bulkhead seats with Qatar Airways are excluded from pre-selection due to safety reasons but can be assigned at the check-in counter.

These seats do have extra legroom, and you’ll want to get to the airport early to grab one. If you have a connecting flight, you might not be able to assign exit row seating for your connecting flight until you get to Doha.

Qatar Airways offers preferred seats on their flights, which are simply regular seats closer to the front of the plane and don’t have any extra legroom. Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum, Gold and Silver members, as well as oneworld Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby members, their accompanying guests, and passengers paying for the highest economy fares are eligible for preferred seating.

These seats can be chosen by anyone within 72 hours of departure if you originally booked your flight with

Baggage policies for U.S. flights

When flying Qatar Airways long haul from the U.S., you are allowed to have two checked bags that do not exceed 23kg (50lb) each and a maximum dimension of 158cm (62in) when flying in economy. When flying in business class, your two bags can weigh a maximum of 32kg (70lb) each.

In addition to your checked bags, as an economy flyer you are allowed one piece of cabin baggage that doesn’t weigh more than 7kg (15lb). Business class passengers are allowed two pieces of cabin baggage that don’t exceed 7kg (15lb) when weighed together.


Online / mobile check-in windows

Online check-in for flights from the U.S. opens 24 hours before departure from the U.S. and check-in for flights from Doha to the U.S. opens 24 hours before the departure from Doha. For all other flights, online check-in is available from 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure.

Online check-in is very straight forward. You’ll first input your booking reference (or frequent flyer or e-ticket number) and last name and then confirm the passenger you are checking in.



You will then need to enter in the passport information for the passengers who are traveling.


Following this you can select or change your seat. After you have checked in you can still go back through online check in and update your seat if a more desirable seat is available.


Upgrade opportunities

To be eligible for an upgrade, you must be booked on a Qatar Airways ticket (meaning your ticket number should start with 157), so if you booked via another airline like American Airlines you won’t be able to upgrade your Qatar flight.

Option 1: Paid Upgrades

Qatar Airways regularly sells upgrades to business class within the week leading up to departure if there are seats available. We have personally seen the following offers:

  • ORD – DOH Upgrade for $1,050 – Scheduled for 13 hours 5 minutes
  • JNB – DOH Upgrade for $450 – Scheduled for 8 hours 15 minutes
  • DOH – VIE Upgrade for $450 – Scheduled for 5 hours 45 minutes

If you’re considering one of these options you should also check whether paying the difference to the lowest available business class fare is cheaper than paying the upgrade charge.

Option 2: Upgrade with Miles

If you are booked in the most flexible (and usually most expensive) economy fare classes of Y, H, and B, you can have an upgrade for the least number of miles. If you are booked in lower-cost V, S, Q, N, M, L, K, and G fare classes, but will cost more miles, and this calculator will tell you exactly how many miles you’ll need for an upgrade.

From New York to Doha you’ll pay 50,000 miles one way for an upgrade to business on most fares, 42,500 miles on higher Y, H, and B fares. You can confirm an upgrade as soon as you book if there’s availability, but if there isn’t you can upgrade at the airport using your miles.

Upgrades are not available if you are booked in the lowest-priced G, O, T, and W fare classes.

Option 3: Upgrade with Qcredits

Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum members are gifted Qcredits by Qatar Airways as a reward for their loyalty once per year. These Qcredits can be used to upgrade to business class. The number of credits required to upgrade varies by route and upgrades are subject to availability.


How to book with miles

If you want to book travel on Qatar Airways with miles, you have quite a few options. Below we will give you the prices for both Economy and Business Class award tickets between the U.S. and Doha with various mileage currencies.

American AAdvantage

American AAdvantage charges 40,000 miles to fly in economy or 70,000 miles to fly in business from anywhere in the contiguous U.S. to Doha, Qatar one-way.

British Airways Avios

British Airways has a distance based award chart, so the price will depend on where you are flying from in the U.S. If you book a flight from Chicago to Doha, you will pay 50,000 miles in economy or 150,000 miles in business class each way.

Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles also has a distance based award chart, but it’s just a touch more complicated than British Airways’. If you are flying one way between Chicago and Doha, you will pay 40,000 miles to fly in economy or 70,000 miles to fly in business class.

There’s a bit of a savings if you book round trip travel. Round trip economy class is only 60,000 miles and round trip business class is a bargain at 120,000 miles.

For this pricing to be valid, you must only fly on Qatar Airways – meaning if you are coming from a different part of the U.S. and need an American Airlines flight, there is a whole separate award chart that applies.

Qatar Privilege

Using Qatar’s own miles, which are transferrable from Citi ThankYou points, the price depends on the route you’re flying.

This calculator will tell you exactly how many miles you need.

A New York to Doha one way costs 35,000 miles in Economy and 70,000 miles in Business Class, which is pretty reasonable, and even better, Qatar imposes no fuel surcharges on rewards booked with its miles.

Chase Ultimate Rewards

You have two options to book Qatar flights with Chase points – either transfer your miles to an airline partner or book through Chase’s travel portal. You can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways.

You can also book directly through Chase’s travel portal with your points being worth 1.25-1.5 cents each depending on which credit card you have. If you book through Chase’s travel portal, the number of points required will be dependent on what the cash price of the ticket is.

Amex Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards points can transfer to British Airways, but not at a 1:1 ratio. The transfer ratio is 1,000 Membership Rewards to 800 British Airways Avios. For this reason, it’s not an ideal transfer – you are better off transferring from Chase.

Amex is also a transfer partner of Asia Miles, so that gives you another chance to use your Amex points for travel on Qatar Airways.

Citi ThankYou

Citi offers you the opportunity to transfer your points to Asia Miles and directly to Qatar. You can see award prices using Qatar miles using this calculator, but Asia Miles is usually going to cost you fewer miles. If you want to upgrade a ticket that you have already paid for, transferring to Qatar might come in handy.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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2 thoughts on How to ease the pain of flying Economy on Qatar Airways

  1. Ann Munday

    Booked are seats online only to discover less than 24hrs before our flight that you have allocated us different seats.
    To me this makes a mockery of booking seat allocation on line.
    I would like the answer on why as an airline that you do this.


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