DOHA stopoverBack to Forum
Tagged: DOHA Layover Dilemma
Has anyone had a problem with a long layover in Doha not knowing what to do?
The shopping is terrible. Too expensive and not much of a choice. When you have been to T5 and HKG you will not want to shop there!
But then what else can one do in the sparse business class lounge? For food and drinks one has to climb upstairs. The ground floor is cold, exacerbated by a noisy ‘pool’ of cold water in the middle. ‘Noisy’ because the jets of water burp out eery 5 seconds! The choice of newspapers and magazines is also a huge problem. Everything seems to be censored so one cannot even find an innocuous glossy like House and Garden! What is wrong with the airline? Or should I say the Government?
And because often one arrives early in the morning, one is already dead tired, but there is no sleeper couch or a comfy sofa long enough for one to stretch one’s legs. QR knows people have to endure 2-6 (or more I heard) hours of torture in this environment, but makes no effort to improve their life.
Yes one can drown in champagne but isn’t it too early? Or late if you arrive before midnight.
The only reason I choose QR is because I can collect Avios and Tier points to go to the next tier for half the price of BA! Now, shouldn’t BA learn something and adjust their fares accordingly? Or is it because ‘time is money’ and you pay less so you suffer?
Any comments?15 Sep 2016
Well if you dislike DOH so much and I agree Hamad is a bit soulless you could always choose to spend more money and fly on BA’s outdated aircraft rather than QR’s new ones.
I can’t remember the last time I had a transit time of more than two hours at DOH so maybe you are buying their rock bottom priced tickets – in which case put up or pay more. Oh, and why do you want to shop in an airport?15 Sep 2016
Hello SangFung – I remember well your Ask Alex question of a few years ago where you talked about transferring planes at DXB in the “wee hours.”
Of course much will depend on the routing you choose but as these Gulf airports (unlike those elsewhere) can function 24 hours a day you will still find the wee hours are their busy period.
As a direct/non-stop carrier you will always find BA’s prices higher than those of QR.
It’s just the way the airline market works. Indirect carriers woo passengers with lower fares.
However, the Gulf states are not so flush with cash nowadays.
As you’ve probably read in our Online news pages, the Gulf airports are for the first time introducing passenger taxes and these apply even to transit passengers (who are normally excluded from paying).
DOH’s tax takes effect from December 1. It will cost QR35 or US$10.
And now the Gulf airlines are suffering the effects of falling yield. Emirates has become the first of the Gulf carriers to introduce ancillary fees. So far they only apply to economy passengers but, as we all know, once such fees (also airport taxes) are implemented they can easily be increased or extended.15 Sep 2016
I actually found Doha really user friendly, certainly better than and friendlier than DXB
Apart from not being able to buy a souveniarOryx it ticked most of the boxes that HKG does.
Having said that I didn’t have access to a lounge but the Piano bar just around the corner from the yellow bear was quite atmospheric, reasonably priced. And was staffed with really engaging people.
A suggestion for next time you have an extended layover. Why not leave the airport entirely. I’m sure QR promotes city tours on transit times over 6 hours.15 Sep 2016
Thanks for the stopover information, was considering QR cheaper tickets & its all useful to know,the airline gets reasonable writeups & operates modern aircraft so I may save money &enjoy the adventure!15 Sep 2016
Hi John, I appreciate your comment but your shrewd remark re shopping at the airport is a bit unfair. Most airports cater for pax who are either bored (too much time to kill) or need to make a last minute purchase (for birthday, wedding, anniversary etc). Would you consider alcohol or books/magazines shopping, and therefore dismiss it as frivolous? I was merely comparing the shopping facilities between airports, and Doha seems to me less attractive than say T5 or HKG. Whereas your comment re price vs comfort (long layover etc) I absolutely agree with you – one gets what one pays for. I was fully aware of that. I did mention that I had paid half of what BA would have charged for the same routing.15 Sep 2016
Oh QR has the most incredible aircrafts (A380, The Dreamliner and 777) and their business class seats and service are way superior to most airlines. It puts BA in the shade! Choice of food and wine/champagne is outstanding!15 Sep 2016
SangFung… as you said…. ‘one gets what one pays for’
On a recent trip to/from Canada/US from Australia I flew Air China because, like you, I saved nearly 50% on a Business Class fare. And like your fare there were very lengthy transits (7+) in both directions at Beijing. But I booked my flights anyway.
Did I ‘enjoy’ the very long transits? Not really.
Did I sit there and think ‘why did I do this’? Sometimes.
Was the lounge everything that I would have liked it to be? No.
Did I need to adjust my way of thinking to my usual lounge/transit experience? Big time.
Would I do it again? Yes, because I got what I paid for and it was value for money.16 Sep 2016
I don’t really complain about tge Al Mourjan business class lounge (contrary to the business lounge for QR/OW frequent flyers).
On the other hand of the lounge, there is a second restaurant, generally less crowded. Beside it, you will find a quiet areas with sofas, quite convenient when you have an 8-hour stopover.
Shopping options are indeed quite limited. I way prefer SIN for all the extra activities you can enjoy (cinema, small park…).16 Sep 2016
Thank you Alex for reminding me. I did fly Emirates last Feb from CPT to Beijing! It was an incredible onboard experience but the return was more exhausting because we had to wait 5 hours in the wee hours of the morning. I had no choice because my client paid! And he chose Emirates. Probably because it was cheaper than CX. Anyway, the lounge compared to Doha seems more comfortable and pax friendly. Still, the MO of offloading pax early on the morning then send them off when they are supposed to be sleeping make one re-think if time=money…
As I said, once onboard the new fleet with amazingly spacious cabin (sorry I am referring to Business for the moment), great food and wine, and service of course, then perhaps it is a trade-off. Qatar is excellent too, but somehow EK seems to have an edge.16 Sep 2016
SangFung, in the last year the only thing I’ve bought in an airport was a tube of toothpaste. Magazines and newspapers are available in lounges, ‘duty free’ alcohol is usually much cheaper in the supermarket. I pass through DOH monthly and I’ve yet to visit a shop since Hamad opened.
My only view on airport shops is how intrusive they are into my journey from entrance to plane.16 Sep 2016
I actually find Doha quite a relaxing place to stop. When transiting DOH on my way to Aus I deliberately book a few hours stopover so that I have enough time to walk around, have a shower, eat, read my book and get ready for the next flight. Even during it’s busiest times, the lounge is so vast it never seems packed in the way DXB can be. When transiting through Doha it’s usually long haul for me so my main aim is to relax so that I arrive as rested as I can be. I personally like that fountain thing too and find it provides a welcome humidity instead of just dry air conditioning. On a long haul trip I’m not really looking for a multiplex of entertainment and shopping options, I guess if a crowded buzzing shopping mall is your thing then DXB is definitely your best bet.
You’ve drawn an interesting comparison with T5 of all places. Yes there are a few better shops, but I can’t imagine even a dedicated shopper being entertained for more than an hour or two there given how small it is in comparison and there’s certainly few/no relaxing or quiet spaces to park yourself on a long layover – not to mention no airside hotel options.16 Sep 2016
The airside hotel is a good place to relax if you have a long layover between flights. The Al Mourjan lounge is good, I find it quite relaxing and the food areas are also good.
I have only visited one one shop a designer one, can’t recall the name and marmalade which is quite expensive but has some interesting things to browse. Otherwise it’s standard fayre.16 Sep 2016
Thank you for sharing your experience. And YES I will most probably fly Qatar again because I can save a lot and still travel in comfort. I just have to book well in advance so that I can select the short layover slots.16 Sep 2016
John you are spot on about magazines etc being available in the lounge, except Doha! As I mentioned before their choice is sadly lacking compared to the other major airports. T5 for example provides a lot of choices. Even the innocuous FT is not available in Doha. Is censorship that strict in Qatar? Anyway, retail therapy should not be confined to an airport. There are proper places in the cities for that. As for relaxation, I’d propose to Qatar to have a dedicated ‘doze off’ section like Dubai. With lounger type seating.16 Sep 2016