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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Ten (mostly) last-minute tips to save money when flying out of Qatar

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Passports

With less than 10 days to go before Eid Al-Fitr, many Qatar residents have already solidified travel plans for the holidays.

Some are just popping out for a few days, while others will likely be gone all August. But because everyone is leaving at the same time, airfares out of Qatar have soared some 40 percent on popular routes, according to local travel agents.

They say that a number of direct flights – to places like Istanbul, Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Geneva, Maldives and London – are almost sold out for Eid.

Speaking to Doha News, a representative at Regency Travel & Tours explained:

“Overall, European flights are almost all sold out. It’s always the way. People from this region love to travel to Europe to experience the weather and culture.”

Some flights for popular destinations have seats available, but generally in higher fare classes, as the cheaper, most restrictive tickets have already been sold out.

The airfare industry can be a tricky, complicated business, and it’s passengers who understand the system best who manage to snap up the cheapest tickets. Here are  some tips to save money the next time you fly:

India Gate, New Delhi
India Gate, New Delhi

Pick the right destination

Travel agents said that at the moment, various countries in Asia (such as China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Malaysia) appear to offer some of the cheapest prices when flying from Doha on Qatar Airways.

Another way to stay on budget is to keep close to home – so consider flying to Dubai, or elsewhere in the Gulf. The sheer volume of flights to these cities means that prices haven’t changed that much, despite higher demand.

Be flexible

If your schedule allows it, consider flying out before the Eid holidays begin, or waiting until after the first few days of Eid, when prices should be lower.

Turkey Airport

Fly to a different airport

Consider flying to an airport in your destination country that’s smaller than the main one. Though the flight times may not be as ideal, the prices could be cheaper because the airport is off the beaten path.

Don’t fly direct

Qatar Airways generally charges a premium to fly non-stop to several locations. To save money, try booking a ticket with a connecting flight. This also works for budget airlines. Another way to reduce costs if you’re traveling to multiple locations is to consider flying with a budget airline for one leg of your trip.

Morocco train

Use public transportation

Unable to reach your destination directly? Try using public transportation for the last part of your journey, instead of purchasing another flight ticket. In many cases, this can save you money, and the total journey time may not be much longer than a flight.

Riding on trains and traveling by ferries or boats can also cut out the check-in two hours before nonsense.

Sign up to be a frequent flier

Frequent flier

Though the value of airline memberships has been diminishing in recent years, Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club still offers some benefits to members, depending on the number of Q Points you have racked up from flights.

Those who have accumulated enough can upgrade their seat tiers, or even fly for free. Similarly, some banks have partnerships with airlines that can yield rewards such as free tickets.

Become a social media fan

Feel like you often miss out on offers held by various airlines? Follow them on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for an airline’s mailing list.

Airlines want to reward regular customers as well as boost the popularity of their services. Some do this by promoting discount rates and special deals only through social media.

Enter competitions

This is a long-shot type of tip, but there’s no harm in trying. As part of its Ramadan offerings, Qatar Airways is holding an Instagram competition through July 29. GCC residents can enter to win two free tickets to the airline’s latest destinations — Larnaca, Cyprus — on Business Class.

Computer

Check out online ticket-sellers

As well as visiting the airline’s homepage, take the time to explore airfare search engines. Sometimes Qatar Airways tickets and other flights are cheaper when sold through codeshare partners. Some popular flight comparison websites include: Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Skyscanner, Momondo, Kayak and Airfarewatchdog.

planes

Fly with more than one airline

Sometimes it pays to mix it up. Many airlines now sell one-way tickets for a reasonable price, and, depending on the day of travel, the outbound flight may be considerably cheaper than the inbound, or vice versa.

By putting in the extra time to compare airlines, you may save yourself money by purchasing the cheapest one-way tickets that two different airlines are offering.

What other tips do you have? Thoughts?


For more travel advice, see What you need to know about flying through Hamad International Airport this summer and Nine tips on booking flights out of Doha at the right price.

24 COMMENTS

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Grantley
Grantley
7 years ago

Here’s another suggestion….Qatar Airways don’t be so greedy. It’s not just people flying out for Eid. It’s also expats taking their one annual trip home to see family. Most of them are flying with children so they need a direct flight.

Jenny
Jenny
7 years ago

The QA privilege club system used to be quite good, but is now a joke. It’s impossible to redeem miles (particularly during Eid!) – complete months are blocked out, most dates require double the miles, no upgrade seats are available, etc. I have more than enough miles to buy tickets and upgrade, but every time I try there is nothing available. The benefits of membership was one reason I used to justify the markup in QA flight costs, but now these have disappeared as well.

Ahmed A
Ahmed A
7 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

you are right, something fishy is going on. I never used to see full months blacked out. In worst case scenarios you can buy double mile tickets if regular mile tickets were sold out, but even that now is gone.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

I guess that’s why they are always sending me emails telling me I can use my miles in the Oryx Galleria shop to buy stuff, or to use them to make purchases in the duty free stores. They aren’t any use for actual flights any more, sadly.

Chilidog
Chilidog
7 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

Completely agree. Qmiles and Qpoints are worthless unless you want a meager discount on a bottle of dung-smelling oud.

expat viewer
expat viewer
7 years ago

Check your facts first before publishing this news because few months even before the start of Ramadan, air fares are already expensive and beyond reach of meager income earners, QA exorbitant rates is a joke reason i don’t booked my flight with them for a long time.. their privilege card is a piece of crap!… just thinking aloud!

EGC
EGC
7 years ago
Reply to  expat viewer

I agree wholeheartedly with all of the above.
Greedy Qatar Airways.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago

Drive to the new airport, the parking is free …. For now

Losing Days
Losing Days
7 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

It’s not anymore!

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
7 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

The Doha Airport website lists the price for the short term parking, but makes no mention of the price for the long term carpark. Assuming it is free now, there is no indication for how long it will remain free, or what the price will be when they commence charging for it. I would be terrified to park my car there for a long weekend for fear that I’ll return and discover that they started charging and I have a bill for a few hundred riyals.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I picked up the car yesterday after parking for a week for free. But you are right to be prudent on such matters. Beware fellow citizens, as I said it’s free for now (long term).

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

You could just “lose” your ticket – 35 QAR 😉

Canadian Observer
Canadian Observer
7 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Actually they will charge you 35 QR for the lost ticket plus the price of your parking in short term. License plates are read as you enter, so they know when you arrived.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
7 years ago

Damn you to eternity Doha

Shabina921
Shabina921
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

If you park there before they start charging, you shouldn’t be charged anything. We went out of town a few days before short-term parking fees were implemented, and when we came back still got out of the parking lot for free.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

Does the last photo of all the planes make anyone else nervous?

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Nope, fly like you drive is the motto in Qatar…..

Shabina921
Shabina921
7 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

It’s a mashup of several photos. “Artsy”

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Fly qantas to Australia via dubai with Emirates Save 2 thirds of the price of direct with Qatar air.

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

Did I mention you also get the A380 from Dubai to Aus and back….yes an A380..the elusive one…

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Observant One

fly Emirates everywhere!

Jen
Jen
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

But sometimes the wait in Dubai is too long–to JNB South Africa there was an 8 hr wait!

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

Qatar Airways gouges the citizens and residents of Qatar because it can. It charges high prices and using the government to shut out any competition.

It’s privledge membership is now pretty useless as well. Looks great on paper, but in practise it can’t be used.

Jen
Jen
7 years ago

This article seems to focus mostly on Qatar airways. The biggest money tip is to not use Qatar airways as I have found most airlines cheaper than Qatar airways. Often by 50%. Last month I flew to Holland on KLM–for QR3000–the same ticket that same day on Qatar airways cost QR6100. That said however–I am flying Qatar airways to JNB for Eid holidays because it is the only direct airline. I have also managed to use my airmiles for a flight in Dec to JNB–but I did have to book it 12 months in advance! Not everyone has the luxury of being able to know what they will be doing in 12 months time. And to agree with what some people have said on here–if one looks for a flight to UK with airmiles,even a yr in advance it shows up as–not availble for whole months!

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