Inaugural flights

Qatar Airways Launches New SEA-DOH service early

On Friday, January 29, Qatar Airways kicks off four-time per week nonstop service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Daily service is set to start in July. The airline is using its Boeing 777 aircraft with 42 business class seats and 312 economy class seats for this new service.

Courtesy Port of Seattle

This new international route for Seattle was originally set to begin on March 15, 2021. But in an unusual move, Qatar moved up the launch date by almost two months.

“Qatar Airways’ decision to begin service to the Pacific Northwest is a testament to the airline’s confidence in the strength of the region and the expectation to bounce back after the past year’s struggles with the pandemic,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Fred Felleman. “We look forward to this being one of the first steps back to recovery as we will soon welcome global travelers into the new International Arrivals Facility later this year.”

In advance of the launch, Stuck at the Airport chatted with Qatar’s Mark Drusch, SVP of Revenue Management, Alliance, and Strategy. [Answers edited for space, clarity, etc.]

Why is Seattle an important market for Qatar now?

Drusch says traffic on the airline’s Los Angeles and San Francisco flights is very strong and the airline is seeing a lot of traffic through Seattle via partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which is joining the oneworld alliance. “Seattle was the largest gateway on the west coast we weren’t operating out of. So this [new route] is just a natural,” says Drusch.

Why move up the launch?

“Our San Francisco service [launched December 15] has taken off so quickly, and the advance bookings for Seattle in March were so incredibly strong,” says Drusch. “With that and the fact that we were making great progress in establishing a partnership with Alaska, we said, ‘Why should we wait?”

Isn’t moving up a launch complicated?

“It is only complicated in that you need to work through the details with your crews – pilots and flight attendants. But we had enough advance notice that we could do that,” says Drush. “And, honestly, pre-COVID it would have been a lot more difficult. During COVID we have extra pilots and extra flight attendants, and we have more flexibility than we’ve had in the past.”

What about the partnership with Alaska Airlines?

“Alaska is joining oneworld at the end of March, and we are a member of oneworld, so we will obviously have a partnership with them via oneworld. But we’ve been talking to them about having an enhanced relationship versus the oneworld relationship. We haven’t announced anything yet, but stay tuned you might hear something shortly.”

How is the inflight service altered in response to COVID-19 concerns?

Qatar is using a Boeing 777 aircraft for this route with Qsuites in business class. The suites have sliding doors, “so when you are in your Qsuite you don’t have to use your mask,” says Drusch. Full meal service is being offered in both business class and coach, with some modifications. Flight attendants are in full PPE, including face shields. All planes are being cleaned every 24 hours with an automated UV machine.

What special events are planned for the inaugural landing and take-off of this new Qatar flight at SEA?

A social-distanced gate celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Passengers will receive gift bags with local treats from Seattle, Qatar Airways, Alaska Airlines, and Boeing.

Singapore Airlines now flies non stop to Singapore from Seattle

On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines (a codeshare partner of Alaska Airlines) celebrated the inaugural non-stop flight between Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Singapore’s Changi Airport (SIN) with a lion dance and ribbon cutting at the gate and a water canon salute.

Seattle now becomes the fourth U.S. city to boast non-stop service to Singapore, joining Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco.

During September, the flight will between Seattle and Singapore three times a week and expand to four flights a week in October.

The new SEA – SIN Singapore Airlines flight is the first-ever nonstop flight from SEA Airport to Southeast Asia. And, at 15-hours and 50-minutes, it is now also the longest longest nonstop flight from SEA airport.

The new flight is also the inspiration for a cool music video.

Singapore Airlines commissioned Seattle-based producer and musician Chong the Nomad to use an A350-900 aircraft – the same type being used for the SIA-SIN flight – as her musical instrument.

It is already a big hit!

Celebrating route launches to London, Paris, Hong Kong and other cool places

Airports and airlines around the country hosted celebrations on Sunday for the launch of several new routes.

Dallas-Fort Worth International celebrated the inaugural Air France flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle.

The flight will operate up to five time a week on the Airbus A330 aircraft.

At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the party was to welcome American Airlines’ first nonstop flight to Phoenix from London.

In Washington State, United Airlines began flying daily nonstops between Paine Field (PAE) in Everett and both San Francisco and Denver.

And on Sunday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) celebrated two new routes.

Japan Airline (JAL) started flying from SEA to Tokyo’s Narita Airport and Cathay Pacific began flying between SEA and Hong Kong.

The festivities for Cathay’s Pacific flight included a Lion Dance, a special cake and the ceremonial cutting of a roast pig, which is a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

Fun new flights!

Three new flights kicked off over the weekend that I wish I’d been on!


Air France began nonstop service to Paris from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday, March 25.

The service adds to Delta’s flights between SEA and CDG and kicks off with three times a week service (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) on a Boeing 777-200 and increases to five times a week (adding Mondays and Tuesdays) during the summer season.

Air France first served Sea-Tac between 2007-2012, when that route was given taken over by Delta.

On Saturday, March 24, United Airlines kicked off seasonal nonstop daily service on a 787-8 Dreamliner between Denver and London Heathrow (LHR).

And over the weekend Qantas completed the inaugural – historic – flight for direct service between Perth, Australia and London. The 787-9 Dreamliner made the journey in ‘just’ 17 hours and 14 minutes.


Snaps from World’s Longest Flight from the US

On Friday evening, United Airlines launched what is (for now) the World’s Longest Flight from the U.S.: an 8, 7000 flight between Los Angeles and Singapore.

Scheduled to take 17 hours and 55 minutes, the flight actually arrived more than an hour early.

I’ll be doing a few reported stories on the flight – and how to survive such a long airplane journey – but for now here are a few snaps from the pre-flight festivities.

Flight crew lines up for a group picture before United flight 37 takes off.


Plenty of props on hand to help celebrate the inaugural.

Business class seats stocked with Polaris bedding.

More pictures to come. Along with an hour by hour report on my (rough) journey. Thanks, United, the for the ride to Singapore.