Qatar Airways operated the world's first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight today from Doha. The flight QR6421, operated by A350-1000 and with registration A7-ANF, carried 144 vaccinated passengers and 18 crew on-board. I was invited to observe this flight.
Flight QR6421 departed Hamad International Airport at 11:45, flight time was 3 hours 15 minutes. The special flight landed in Doha at 15:00.
The flight route was over Persian Gulf, into the UAE and Oman with a turn just 30 miles East of Salalah, Oman.
This was an invite only flight, as most of the passengers were elite frequent flyers of Qatar Airways and some staff. All passengers were treated to Business Class dining onboard.
The flight service onboard had the same standard of a usual Qatar Airways flight. However, I think this flight represented a positive step towards normality of travel. Most of the passengers hadn't travelled for over a year, so they were extremely glad to be flying again.
The flight has left a few open questions:
Will we need to be vaccinated to fly?
At this point it is to early to say, but this largely depends on the country's entry requirements.
Why do you still wear a mask to fly on fully vaccinated flight?
I’ve been also wondering about this and feel that it may be counter-intuitive. I know in both the US and the UAE (where I’ve been the last few months) many have been vaccinated but are still required to wear a mask in all public spaces. I think it will take some time to have an updated policy on travel requirements and we will have to continue to observe mask wearing for the time being.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said:
“Today’s special flight demonstrates the next stage in the recovery of international travel is not far away. We are proud to continue leading the industry by operating the first flight with a fully vaccinated crew and passengers, and providing a beacon of hope for the future of international aviation.”Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker
On 10th April, Emirates will also operate a fully vaccinated flight from Dubai. Tickets are on sale now.