July 25, 2024

Redefining the inflight customer experience | Qatar Airways

Cabin Concept of the Year Award 2021 GOLD winner

Launched: From ideation to implementation: May to December 2020

While many airlines used the pandemic as an opportunity to cut back their offering, Qatar Airways continued to fly and saw itself as a beacon of hope. It found new and innovative ways to hold on to and deliver its signature high standards across all cabins, adapting its operations, service propositions, processes and equipment to provide customers with confidence in air travel and the chance to experience the joy of flying again.

While a lot changed for the industry, Qatar’s team remained true to one guiding principle: ‘endeavour at all costs to keep our superior levels of care, comfort and service our passengers have come to love, while keeping our cabin crew and our customers safe’.

This inspired the teams to invest in new brands and enhanced products, sustain the amenities offered, introduce new dining concepts and redefine technology and service processes to offer the highest hygiene and service standards.


Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the airline applied necessary health and safety measures, including in the preparation and serving of food. Business Class meals are served covered on a tray instead of the usual table set up, and a cutlery wrap is offered as an alternative to individual cutlery service, in an effort to minimise contact between crew and passengers. Qatar continues to offer its renowned Dine Anytime service and full beverage selection including wines. The airline also introduced single-use menu cards and sealed refreshing wipes. In Economy Class, the full dining experience ‘Quisine’ is available, with all food and cutlery served completely sealed. In addition, the airline’s first range of fully vegan dishes was added to the Business Class a la carte menu.


The airline empowered its passengers to take control of their journey through their personal devices and introduced touchless IFE which allows them to control the IFE systems, call the crew or activate their reading light through their mobile devices.

To create a more contactless and enhanced experience onboard, Qatar Airways partnered with PressReader to offer unlimited access to 6000+ global digital magazine and newspaper titles through QR scan code and Oryx One app for personal mobile devices. In Economy, new digital menus are available pre-flight and throughout the journey via the app or via the onboard wifi portal.


While other airlines reduced comfort amenities onboard, Qatar Airways continued to provide a wide-range of luxurious products from world-class brands like Narumi, BRIC’S, Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio and The White Company, and introduced new brands including diptyque and TWG Tea.

The airline also invested in festive activities onboard celebrating Ramadan, Eid, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year and the Festive Season, to bring the joy back to flying. The aim was to make the customers journey even more memorable with bespoke menus, décor, gifts and heartwarming moments throughout the customer experience.

Personal protection kits were developed containing a face mask, gloves and a sanitiser, with additional sanitisers available in the galley areas.


Cabin crew wear personal protective equipment but the airline increased the emotional intelligence training given to cabin crew to help them be more empathetic and caring, providing an elevated service to customers even during the pandemic.

The overall goal was to redefine the onboard service and keep passengers safe, but to also ensure delivery of world’s class inflight experience.

The airline closely evaluated its end-to-end experience to find products and services that could be improved through smart service design. And also sought to transform other touchpoints to a digital platform to facilitate contactless experiences that minimised crew to passenger interaction while still engaging with them on a personal level, full of special memorable moments.

The effects of the pandemic and the changing nature of travel restrictions resulted in many passengers arriving to the airport anxious and Qatar’s crew wanted to provide them with an on board experience that worked to relieve their stress and anxiety to allow them to truly enjoy their flight. By doing this, they continued to win the confidence of customers, maintained high levels of customer satisfaction throughout and enhanced the customer experience, setting themselves a part from any other airline flying during the pandemic.

Here’s what our judges had to say…