Flying Qatar Airways on repatriation flights during COVID-19

Six months ago, I was flying on Qatar Airways on repatriation flights from India to Canada.

I can’t believe I just typed that. I don’t recall the last time I went so long without flying.

A lot of you may recall that I was stuck in India when the first COVID-19 lockdowns happened in March. After about 8 weeks under strict lockdown, I decided to get on repatriation flights back to Canada, via Doha on Qatar Airways. It was quite the adventure and I’d promised many of you detailed trip reports.

So six months on, I’ve decided to release the trip reports in three parts. The first part (released here) is focused on getting on the repatriation flights and making our way to the Mumbai airport. I have intentionally added no pictures, but lots of emotions in those ten pages.

This is the second part of the trip report, which is a detailed experience flying Qatar Airways on repatriation flights via Doha. Flying with kids long haul is not easy anytime. Flying with kids for 22 hours in masks was something else. Especially when during COVID-19, there is a gamut of new sanitisation and biosafety measures in place.

Flying Qatar Airways from Mumbai during #COVID-19 by Shashank Nigam

Ultimately, despite the long and tiring journey, we felt hopeful about the future of travel. As parents travelling with young kids, we met people who were more patient and more understanding than usual. No one gave me looks when our younger one cried in the middle of the night. The person next to me graciously stood up multiple times in the same hour when the kids had to use the washrooms. And the flight attendants went above and beyond to calm the nerves of travelling during COVID-19.

So while travel is down, I’m still hopeful about the future. Thanks to Qatar Airways for taking us home.

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
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