Inside Qatar Airport Tips

Take a peak inside Qatar airport and prepare yourself for your trip! Here you will find a set of useful info and tips to help you plan for your journey.

Inside Qatar Airport Tips pin picture

📕 What you need to know

The Qatar airport is located in the capital city Doha. It is known as the hamad international airport, short HIA, and its airport code is DOH.

The international airport was inaugurated in 2014, replacing the previous nearby, much smaller airport. Located south of the city, the airport measures a whooping 5,500 acres.

Various important airlines fly into Doha and of course the country’s 5 star airline, Qatar Airways. Most global travelers transit or stay for 2 days in Doha.

Yet, HIA, is better known as THE luxury airport. The inner architecture and ambiance are almost surreal, dotted with art installations and bold statements, bringing travelers from all over the world closer to this middle eastern rich world.

In fact, the airport received an award in 2021 for the best airport in the world.

Lamp Bear by Artist Urs Fischer
Lamp Bear by Artist Urs Fischer

👍 Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of the Doha hamad airport.

Pros

  • Qatar airways has the best connections between Western and Eastern countries.
  • Cleanliness is spotless
  • Quiet airport
  • Toilet facilities everywhere.
  • Helpful staff
  • Elegant area and inspiring artwork
  • Multicultural
  • Quick security passage.
  • Top facilities such as lounges and hotels.
  • Free WIFI
  • Duty Free shopping
  • You can rest in a quiet area
  • Kid’s play area

Cons

  • It’s huge – getting from A to B can take time.
  • Seats at the gates and waiting areas are not super comfortable and if you don’t know your gate, you will be left looking for free seats.
  • Charging points are not always that common.
  • Things are highly priced. From food to paid facilities, lounges and hotel stays, nothing comes cheap in this airport. Having money as a traveler, makes this airport a top facility.
  • You don’t really get to see anything showcasing the local culture of Qatar in this airport.
  • Heavy AC environment – some people might feel cool.
  • Men and women gender are separated in quiet (resting) areas, which is an odd problem for traveling couples.
  • This airport is very busy during peak seasons and for special event (i.e., world cup).
concourse A
Concourse A
hire a cart in qatar airport
Hire a cart in Qatar airport

🛍️ Shopping & Food

The duty-free area inside Qatar airport will have you gleefully empty your wallet if you love shopping!

All major luxury brands can be found in the duty-free plaza, which is located at the center of everything. The yellow lamp bear art installation is at the center of the plaza, and you can’t miss it.

Here you will find Burberry, Swarovski, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Gucci, Mont Blanc and many other top brands.

There is a dedicated makeup section, a perfume duty-free section and a candy corner.

The stores and adjoining food court are located on your way to the concourses A to E where your departure gate is located, so you really can’t miss any of that.

The food court includes a Burger King, Starbucks, Le Grand Comptoir, Emporio Armani Restaurant Cafe, a Vegan Evergreen Organics and some other food places.

Just keep in mind that the local currency is the Qatari Rial and that all shops and restaurants take Qatari Rial as a currency.

Some do take USD, EUR and INR but the change that you will get back will be in Qatari Rial.

You can exchange money at the exchange counter located in the duty-free plaza near the Information desk. The better option is to pay with your credit card.

When paying with your credit card make sure to pick your local currency, don’t pick the Qatari rial because exchange rates will be added and deducted from your bank account.

duty free qatar airport

🛏️ Relaxing

Lounges

You will be pleased to know that the Doha’s hamad international airport offers a good choice of first class and business class lounges.

Here are your choices inside Qatar airport:

  • Al Safwa First Lounge – Luxurious Lounge for first class passenger.
  • Al Mourjan Business Lounge – Resort-like ambiance with dining options, shower and restroom facilities, family room and restrooms.
  • The Oryx Lounge – Similar to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge
  • Platinum, Gold or Silver Lounges – Located in the Duty-Free Plaza. These are accessible trough Qatar Airways Platinum, Gold, Silver as well as other one world airlines Emerald, Sapphire frequent flyer customers.

Airport Lounge Access can be purchased too by economy ticket holders. You can book a spot online with your PNR booking number.

Walking in transit passengers may be welcome too if the lounges are not too busy. However, most are really busy.

Walking through Qatar airport
Walking through Qatar airport

Hotel

If you have a longer lay over, you have the option to stay over in the 4-star Oryx airport hotel located within the airport premises. The rates start at USD 330 per night.

They offer a golf simulator, squash court, fitness centre access, vitality wellbeing spa, and pool to pass time. Walking passengers can access some of these facilities at a fee of USD 50 and other facilities such as the spa can be paid individually.

Tired travelers may also appreciate a sleep pod located near the shopping plaza. You can hire a sleep pod for 2 hours, 3 hours, 8 hours, depending on your needs.

They have single and double occupancy pods. The booking system is a bit different, you get to bid an amount and if you bid enough, you get your pod.

You can try your luck and bid on the lower end too. A single occupancy pod can average between USD 20 to 50 for 3 hours.

security check qatar airport

Quiet Areas and Prayer Rooms

Relax for free in one of the quiet areas. They have reclining chairs, but the announcements can be a bit annoying. That said, gender are separated, which is another downside for traveling couples.

The Qatar airport also offers praying rooms to all religious guests.

Others

  • Located in concourse C – Spa with massage, facial, manicure, pedicure options.
  • Located in concourse A – showers, massage, facial, manicure options.
  • Concourse D and E facilities are currently temporarily closed.

❗️ Other Services & Facilities

You will find these services and facilities scatted around the Duty-free plaza inside Qatar airport.

  • Info point
  • Medical center
  • Smoking room
  • Luggage storage
  • Currency exchange service
  • Lost property desk
  • Telephone booths
  • Family restrooms
  • Kids playing area
  • ATMs
doha the capital of qatar from above
Doha the capital of Qatar from above

💭 FAQs

Is a 2 hour layover in Doha enough?

Yes, a 2-hour layover, assuming your flight is not delayed, is more than enough. You will take about 30 minutes to get out of the plane after landing, another 30 minutes to get through security and another 30 minutes to get to your gate.

Is 45 min or a 1 hour layover enough in Doha?

No, 45 minutes is a bit short. You will scramble to get to your gate. The airport can be rather big. The only other option is to fly without check in baggage because they would need more time than 45 minutes to get it out and into your next flight. You would have to ask politely if you can get through the security queue, and then you will need to get to your gate with a cart. You have to book the cart in advance, but there is still no guarantee that you will make your flight.

Is Doha airport very big?

It’s massive! You will take about 40 to 60 minutes walking to get from A to B.

Is Doha Airport easy to get around?

Yes! Luckily, getting around the Doha airport is easy enough. Exit your aircraft and follow the signs to your transfer flight or to the immigration counter if you are intending to visit Qatar. Everything is spelled out in English and airport staff can be asked for help, the international staff speaks other languages.

How crowded is Doha Airport?

It can get crowded, but the airport facility is well organized, especially at the security points. Airport staff reacts quickly to large groups and opens up new security check up points when required.

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