Youâ€™re flying business class to a faraway land. Youâ€™re scheduled for a five hour connection between your flights and this fills you with dread.Â It is not quite long enough to leave the airport to explore and all you can think of is being trapped. Â If you have a Business or First class ticket, flying Qatar AirwaysÂ out of Doha, you have nothing to worry about.
Qatar Airways has something that no one else has at the Doha International Airport (DOH): their Premium Terminal.Â When you fly to/from/through Doha in either First or Business Class you have access to not just a lounge, but a whole VIP terminal.
There are other airlines that have private terminals for their First Class guests (Lufthansa in Frankfurt for example) but Qatar is special; they offer this amenity to Business Class guests as well.
If you are departing from Doha, you do not need to go to the main terminal first. As you enter the airport facility, you head off to the right and start your travel directly at the Premium Terminal.
From the very moment you arrive, the service begins.Â You would normally need to drag your bags to check in and then worry about where to go, navigating your way through the large facilities, finding the right counters.Â Not so here.
A porter will open the door for you, help you with your bags, even guide you up to a counter where you can sit down at a desk and the check in staff will get your boarding pass for you, without a hassle in the world.
The staff will guide you towards the private immigration and security channels. You still have to go through the same process as everyone else in the airport, but itâ€™s a little less crowded. I ended up going through during the morning rush hours and had to wait a few minutesâ€¦ the shock and horror! Even though the service before security is nice, the real treat starts after security.
On the main level is the Duty Free shop and the gates for the flights. The lounge is located up on the second floor where additional staff is there to greet you. Once complete, those with Business Class seats head left and those with First Class take a right — but not so fast.
The second floor is host to the â€œlounge areaâ€ though it is not just a lounge — There are a number of facilities.Â You have a cloak room, a games room and nursery for the kids, a smoking lounge (several of them dotted throughout the terminal) and even a clinic in case youâ€™re not feeling well.Â ATMs, phones and a lovely calming water feature are here as well.
Once you enter the lounge, the real relaxation can begin. Â Located around theÂ loungeÂ are all different areas of comfort depending on what you wish to do with your time.
If getting down to business is your thing, there are private little cubicles which are more stylish than your usual office. If you feel like a little snack and a relaxing seat while maybe enjoying an espresso… do not worry… the lounge has it covered.
If eating on a lounge chair is not your thing, there are also sit down tables. Just be weary that a big snack can make you feel tired.Â There are comfy reclined seats, blanket and pillows to get you rested before your long flight.
The food isnâ€™t your typical lounge fare of cheese cubes and snack mix.Â At breakfast you can have a hot breakfast of poached eggs on toast or even waffles with berries and whipped cream. If you want something a bit lighter there are cereal and pastry choices as well.
Of course, if you feel like a cocktail and maybe a decadent little dessert before your flight, it is there for you as well.Â Whatever your mood or taste, I am sure you will be pleased.
You probably don’t want to board your plane smelling ripe, so using one of the showers might be a great idea.
If you have a First Class ticket, you also get access to a full spa. What could be more relaxing than taking a soothing soak in a spa bath/Jacuzzi right before your flight?
Soon enough your time in the lounge will come to an end and you will need to board your flight. No need to keep checking your flight status, when it is time to board, a staff member will come around quietly announcing your departure.
Back at the bottom of the escalators is the â€œGate Area.â€Â Â There are no rows of chairs here, no crowded area filled with pushing and fighting passengers. Instead there are only a row of counters and screens where employees will check your boarding pass and direct you to the buses waiting to take you to your plane.
This isnâ€™t your typical bus either.Â When you are ready, a porter helps you onboard the and will help you with your bags (because surely you bought a lot at the duty free store right?).
Once all the seats are filled the door is shut, and your airport drive begins as you areÂ busedÂ directly to the boarding stairs for your aircraft.Â While economy board at the rear, me and the other business class passengers strolled up the forward steps.
It was now time to transition from an amazing ground-based experience to an airborne one on my Boeing 777-200LR flight back to the states (more on that soon).
Disclaimer: Qatar Airways paid for the trip to Qatar, all opinions are my own.
|This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent. Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.|