I was ‘lucky’ enough to travel through the new airport a few days after it had opened.
My initial impression was of a fairly standard new airport that was just coming on line.
Two jetbridges rolled out and I was quickly disembarking, and almost immediately met by ‘Meet and Greet’ Al Maha Service representative. She escorted me through the airport – a 15 minute walk – to the special lounge that they operate, accessible from the Immigration Hall.
There were not many passengers in the lounge when I arrived, and whilst I was made a coffee, my passport was checked. I had to pop and see the very friendly immigration official for my retina scan to be recorded, and once I had finished the coffee I was escorted through Customs and on to the car that was waiting for me.
My connection was the next day and so I got to experience the outbound service. I had not booked the Al Maha service for the departure and checked in with the Business Class area of the terminal, at Door 1.
Apologies for the picture but it gives an idea of the area for Business Class check-in. The one below shows the Economy check-in areas:
As you can see from above the airport has high ceilings with some windows for natural light. However, overall it is dark.
Through immigration and security I went, down the escalator and arrived close to the great central teddy bear concourse as I call it.
Like spokes on a wheel the various concourses lead from this area, and it provides access to the lounges which are currently open.
The lounges are, for the present busy and inadequate but I won’t rehearse that again here.
The connecting flight from the same gate as I have arrived the previous day. The small gate area was packed and there was no early boarding offered for Business Class and so it was something of a scrum to board.
Once on, the crew greeted me and showed me my seat. There was an empty pair at the window and so I switched and there were good views of other planes as we taxied to the runway.
My return from Thailand was a fairly depressing experience for me at Doha. Landing at a mid-field gate we were bussed to the terminal. The small number of Business Class passengers did get a nicer bus, which did leave as soon as we had all boarded:
We had to wait 15 minutes after we arrived at the terminal as there was a large number of buses waiting to offload. The escalators deposited us near the connections area, but I was quickly directed to the arrivals section. I had booked the Al Maha service for this segment but it failed to appear at the plane, presumably as it was not expected to arrive mid-field. I received a refund for the fee about 7 days later.
Quickly through immigration I was in the taxi in about 10 minutes, although it is a considerable walk from arrivals to the garage.
My connection the next day was fairly uneventful, with the lounges just as busy. There was, I discovered now a menu and the staff were able to arrange for hot food in the First Class Lounge:
Probably the worst flight. The packed lounges were packed with all the around midnight flights leaving:
There were two tiny shower rooms in First Class and I looked for an ‘arty’ shot to break up the tedium of waiting:
You can tell how bad it got – please admire the wall finishes:
Finally after a hike to the last gate in the furthest pier we were again bussed to the plane.
An airport that probably opened too soon that I hope sorts itself out, has so much potential but is just alienating in how badly it is run.