Advice on flights for Portrait of Arabia?

We are on the eastbound Jan 10 Dubai to Muscat. All info appreciated.


  • We live by Philadelphia so booked with Qatar, we love the airline. If you live elsewhere, Emirates might be a better option., they don’t fly from Philly

  • Business class on Emirates was nice. We flew it from Dubai to LA. While nice, the differences were small, such as having a different swag bag for men and women. Otherwise, it was a lie-flat seat similar to one you'd get on most other airlines.

  • I've done business on Emirates from Boston to Hanoi, with a change of planes in Dubai. It was great, although the configuration was 2-2-2. As a solo, I prefer 1-2-1, but an aisle seat in the middle section was fine. Easy access to the bathrooms, and no one disturbed me to get up when he or she needed to.

  • thanks so much, British, MikeH and MCD!

  • We went to Africa once with Qatar airlines and the next time with Emirates. Both airlines are just wonderful and you will have a great experience with either one. The reason I prefer Qatar is because their lounge in Doha is absolutely gorgeous with a 5 star restaurant. I am attaching a photo of the bar on Emirates.

  • I agree with Noreen about the lounge in Doha with one proviso. Depending on when you arrive the lounge can be so crowded that you’re lucky to find a seat, little lone get into the 5-star restaurant. To take real advantage of the lounge you need to a) arrive at the start of peak hours or b) have a really, really long layover.

    We transited through Doha both directions for our Egypt: Jewels of the Nile tour. We had plus or minus 3 hours each way. Going we arrived well into the peak hours. We were lucky to find a seat anywhere. No chance to get into the restaurant. There was almost a two hour waiting list to get in. On the way home we arrived very early so seating wasn’t an issue, but the time of day was such that we opted to sit in the smaller, coffee shop style restaurant.

  • I echo the support for Qatar airlines. We flew them to India last October...liked them so much we flew them again in February, and just booked our Egypt/Petra tickets on them for next February. Qsuites are amazing. If you travel with a partner, get the middle Q suite seats that face backward. The partition between them drops fully, and the two seats become almost a double bed. Plus the suite doors close providing maximum privacy. Service is top notch as well. Over the years, we've been fortunate to experience business and first travel on many major airlines, and Qatar is the best we've ever had.

    As for the lounge, we found it to be amazing as well. Doha is becoming our favorite airport now to transit through.

  • Every time we have been in the lounge it has not been busy. Sam, are you sure that you went to the correct lounge, there is one nearby. It’s confusing.

  • British - We went to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge. The fancy restaurant was up one level from the level where the main check-in. I guess we were just unlucky. We did visit near the time when Qatar was hosting the World Cup. Perhaps it was busy beyond the normal at that time.

    As far as Qatar airlines goes, they were great, as was the food. Here's a few pictures of some of the food on the way to Doha from Seattle.

  • I agree that Qatar is great. I have flown them four times. However, my last 2 flights this February were a disappointment since I booked as Q suites and a typical business class 2-2-2 plane was substituted. I was notified of the change going from ORD (Chciago) to Doha a week prior to flight. Their website continued to show Q suites for that flight and many customers were very disappointed. On the return flight, there was no notification and again no Q suites. I understand a necessary change of planes in certain situations, but to knowingly sell tickets as a Q suite and not deliver even all aisle access is definitely below par for an airline. I tried to substitute my non Q suite on the going flight by traveling from another US city, but was not able to. The flight was "fine" but not the experience I was hoping for. I would encourage those traveling from ORD to Doha to know this is a new staple for the flight from ORD to Doha. Hard to understand for such a long flight (13 hours) when my 4 hour flight from Mumbai to Doha was on a Q suite. Seat guru shows the true layout of the Qatar flight but the Qatar website continues to show a Q suite.

  • The same happened to us on our last Qatar flights from Philly, just a few days notice, but we still found the other type of aircraft just as comfortable. We were a good distance from others which is our main concern these days and you still get the pajamas to wear! The price of flights are so high these days, we just hope we can continue flying business class that we have become used to over the past few years. When we fly to Europe next month it’s premium economy ☹️ Extra trip or business class, a no brainer.

  • British - When we fly to Europe next month it’s premium economy ☹️ Extra trip or business class, a no brainer.

    The flights to Europe from Philly aren't as long as the flights from Philly to Asia. You might think differently about your 'Extra trip or business class' statement on a 14 hour flight. Plus the difference in Business Class and Premium Economy might be $4K-$5K less per person, hardly enough for another Tauck trip (but I get your point).

  • Denise Rei
    I agree that Qatar is great. I have flown them four times. However, my last 2 flights this February were a disappointment since I booked as Q suites and a typical business class 2-2-2 plane was substituted. . . .

    Turkish Airlines, an otherwise excellent carrier, does the same thing. It happened to us for our flights to J&E- one leg was change to a 2 - 3 - 2 seating and they moved us to the 3 seat section. It was nearly impossible to contact the US office of Turkish to make changes. An incorrect cabin layout (for the wrong aircraft) displayed on their website and a bit of a language barrier didn't help either. Luckily we were able to change our flight to another gateway city and get better aircraft and seats. In the end the only aircraft change we had was on the Istanbul to Amman leg.

    It is tough when some carriers are still building the size of and have a wide mix of aircraft types in their fleet.

  • It is stressful flying these days, especially with airlines canceling and substituting planes at the last minute. I am flying to Portugal in a couple of weeks for a Photography Workshop from Charlotte-Newark-Lisbon. My original booking from 2 months ago had me flying on standard aircraft with a 3 hour connection in Newark, which was acceptable. United just cancelled my first leg and substituted a small regional plane with a 6 hour layover in Newark. Luckily I booked Business and can at least be somewhat comfortable during the layover using the Polaris Lounge in Newark and the price at booking was under $5K. I looked at the prices yesterday and Economy was $7000 and Business had jumped to $12000. I understand that prices would go up with only 2 weeks to go, but this is a bit ridiculous in my opinion. All of the last minute changes and uncertainty are very stressful.

  • Thanks to all of you. We booked Qatar.

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