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Stopping off for a couple of hours in Doha’s new Hamad International Airport seemed like a good idea when we found that the best fare we could find Kuala Lumpur / Paris and return was via Qatar Airways. As this is the airline’s home port it meant we had a good range of connections to choose from. We elected to catch the early morning flight leaving Kuala Lumpur that arrived in Doha in time for breakfast, to connect via their new A380-800  to Paris a couple of hours later. Our return flight left Paris in the evening, also arriving in Doha for breakfast and on to Kuala Lumpur after about the same length of wait. You can find a review of these flights HERE.

Security upon arrival

The first place an arriving transit passenger will make ‘official’ contact after passing through the well sign posted corridors, is at the Security Control. This is a normal ‘belts off, phones & laptops in the tray’ security check and depending on your next destination may be the only one you need to go through before you leave.

Prohibited items:

Carrying of Weapons, firearms and ammunition or Narcotic drugs is prohibited, and such items will be confiscated. You will not be able to claim them back.

Transfer passengers can carry alcoholic beverages in baggage subject to some provisions:

  • must be packed in containers of less than 5 litres.
  • cannot be taken out of the airport if you are making a stopover visit before continuing your journey. (They will be confiscated and not returned)
  • if travelling to Australia with alcoholic beverages or cosmetics purchased from an airport other than Hamad International Airport, these will be confiscated at your onward flight’s boarding gate. This procedure is in accordance with Australian regulations.

There is a Transfer desk to the left as you approach the counters, or if you are coming from a different direction, the desk is well signposted. One of the most useful and considerate amenities is the provision of rows of comfortable seating where you can park your children or yourself as you put back your belt and if necessary, your shoes.

If you are looking for your next flight, there is a large board as you leave the area, beside the top of the escalator down to the Passenger Concourse / Departure Hall. There are also lifts at the side and to the left, a corridor to male and female toilets and a parents’ room. There’s also a water bubbler here. The toilets are clean and well provided with soap and paper and sufficient stalls so you don’t have to wait long at busy times.

Passenger Concourse / Departure Hall

As you come out of the lift, or off the escalator, the Passenger Concourse opens out in front of you. Shopping areas and the Food Court ‘Eat Street’ are close by and large yellow letters identify the entrances to the corridors leading to the various boarding areas. There is an enormous yellow bear seated on a podium right in the middle. To ensure you see him, he is wearing a bright light hat! The Information Desk is located just in front of the bear. The bear is facing the entrances to Departure Lounge corridors A and B, and the corridor for Departure Lounges C, D and E are behind him.

Showers  We were looking for showers – it’s always nice to be able to have a quick shower, especially after a night flight to refresh you for the next leg. However, all we could find was a sign to the Hotel & Spa, up to the right of the big yellow CDE gates sign. A little further investigation showed that the Spa is open to travellers upon payment of 120 QAR which will give you access to showers as well as a 25m swimming pool, a fully equipped gym (there is a fitness instructor available) and a hydrotherapy tub.
Additional charged services include access to the Spa and a range of massages and treatments as well as a squash court with racquets, balls and shoes provided.

Duty Free Shopping  Apart from the usual alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates and cosmetics, look for the local specialties – lots of lovely dates and nuts to choose from and there is even a Caviar specialist, easy to find in the middle of the concourse.

There is also an Foreign Exchange facility  in the Departure Concourse approaching Concourse B (near Marché restaurant).

Hamad International Airport is strictly a non-smoking facility. However,there are some designated smoking rooms fitted with extractors around the terminal. For the locations, you can check with the Information Desk.

An animated dinosaur in a little niche at the side of the main area attracted a lot of attention from children (and a few parents who were busy taking videos for their youngsters).

Departure Procedures

When we left on a Qatar Airways A380 for Paris from our A gate lounge, we were not required to go through any further security checks. We just lined up and showed our passports and boarding passes. Upon noticing that some in the line in front of me were carrying takeaway coffee, I asked one of the staff if this was OK and when he said yes, we took the opportunity to nip along to the nearby coffee stand for a big take-away morning wake-up. That was probably the stand-out for me, every other airport I’ve been through makes you go through the security check again as you go in to the departure lounge before boarding and they won’t let you take drinks on board.

On our return trip, it was a different story. As we walked along to our gate 36C, a remote gate right at the end of C wing, we passed many ‘regular’ departure lounges where checks were taking place as we were used to. I wasn’t able to establish if this was airline, destination or aircraft type specific. I would think perhaps one of the latter two possibilities though, as all our sectors were on Qatar Airways. We also had to go through the checks before boarding the bus out to our aircraft.

Be aware that if you have a ‘high number’ gate, it will probably be a long way from the central concourse and it will take quite a while to get there, even making use of the travellators along the way. There are courtesy trolleys, but these should only be for those who genuinely need them, not tardy shoppers!

Overall, we found Hamad International Airport quite a user friendly airport with clear and obvious signage, enough shops for the shopaholics and plenty of food outlets. Oh and the latte I took on board – most satisfactory!

Lesley loves photography, budget travel and getting value for money, visiting places on and off the beaten track.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. In spite of Qatar Airways being one the bests airlines in the world, one thing they can’t shake off is the LACK OF LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS at Doha (and in most of the Middle East?) airport.

    I was transiting the airport, flying from South East Asia to JFK. While going through one of many security checks, the agents accidentally overturned my tray, causing my secure keys and some valuables to slip through the grates. After much persuasion, the security agents agreed to stop the machine and look for my fallen valuables, but discovered several other keys (!) but not mine. I asked if I could at least register a case in writing so as to file an insurance claim (the secure keys to my building have to be replaced at $1000 cost). The local police / security official (who only called himself Ahmad) refused to register a case saying they don’t register anything in writing. He turned his fury at me for complaining and did a full body check on me, as if I were a security threat.

    I’ve complained to Qatar Airways, but they have not responded either.

  2. I was traveling with my family, transiting to Japan in Hamad airport
    My 5 years old son had a toy pistol in
    His bag , the security took it from him,
    Called a agent and he took my passport and boarding card, went somewhere for a while , we had very limited transit time. I was frustrated and he came and threatened me not to travel with my family, I asked him to
    Let us go , but he continued to keep us and scared my little sons opening the toy and playing with it like acting in a movie. I was very angry tired to explain that I did not know if it was that serious. Would you please tell me
    If I committed any offense? He asked me if I want to continu my trip or not
    Of course I’m in a hurry to catch my next flight. It was a nightmare .

    1. Most airlines don’t allow passengers to carry guns, knives, scissors and anything similar, whether real or toys. In addition, airport security checks at most airports would also take these items away from you, if they find them in your luggage. This applies to all travellers, adults and children.

      1. Thank you very much Lesley
        For your reply, the point I want to make is that I agreed for taking away the toy, the issu is
        The security agent was very mean and threatend me not to
        Continu my scheduled flight.
        Scared me and my children.
        We were very disappointed to travel by Qatar airways.
        He was playing with the toy : trying to load it like if it is a real one. Overall it was an act of non profissionals .

  3. Might be worth bearing in mind that the security folk don’t work for the airline, and it isn’t the airline’s fault if they are a bit unfriendly. I have encountered “difficult” security folk all over the world, it isn’t just a Qatari problem. As far as legal and human rights go, hey it’s the Middle East, they (generally) don’t exist… that said, I have never had any issues in the Middle East and I have been travelling there for over 30 years.

  4. Dear Transit Passengers please keep in mind that you will not be able to enjoy any facilities while transiting in Hamad International. Our TODAY’s experience of 21 hours of transit in Doha airport is a nightmare. They keep us at the Gate where we disembarked. They keep us as animals, we are ok as they checked our temperature on arrival but despite our long transit they don’t care. We all have to stay at the same Gate for the duration of our ENTIRE transit!!! Be warned regarding transit conditions as they don’t have any information on their official website. We will never fly with Qatar! Never ever again!
    1st April 2020

    1. Thanks for your feedback. Hamad International in normal times is a great place to transit, but these are unusual times. It would more likely be the Airport Management, rather than the airline controlling your movement. Qatar is one of the few available airlines moving long distance travelers at the moment, all of whom need to transit in this airport. These movement controls would be in place to reduce the risk of possible infection between people coming from many different regions of the world. We’re glad you arrived home safely.

      1. Dear Lesley,
        Especially In such times bad and good comes out of people/management /countries ets! Transit passengers must be aware that their experience in Transit will be different and as a result they must adjust their connection time! This information must be available on the official Hamad website but it is not. We haven’t arrived home safely yet we are still trapped at the Gates at Hamad-Doha! We believe keeping exhausted people at the Gates for 21 hours is not humane… Animals are treated better then passengers in transit . Considering many of us already have lived under lock-down conditions, like us in Italy for example and we haven’t jumped into the plane 3 weeks ago for a holiday, we were studying for a 3 year in Italy!

        1. Thank you so much for sharing. This is useful information for those in such a situation. It is possible that your treatment was because of your city of origin and I hope you’ll soon be on your way. We also had a relative fly through Doha on 31st March, from New York and on to Kuala Lumpur. At the moment she is just glad to be home, though jet-lagged. I’ve asked her for feedback on her Hamad International experience, which will be shared here when it’s available.

  5. Hamad – Doha Transit 21 hours – 1st – 2nd of April 2020
    Our long-time traveler transit experience at Hamad – Doha International was the worst ever you can imagine. Due to Corona-virus pandemic situation and majority of all airports shuts it was extremely hard to secure a flight to return home from a 3 year study in Italy. After living under lockdown restrictions in Florence for a month I was very happy to finally find a flight from Rome to Brisbane via Hamad Doha.
    Our nightmare experience has started straight after they disembarked us at the Gates. After that we were not allowed to be at the Hamad International Airport and enjoy all facilities available to transit passengers. Instead they kept us at the Gates 21 (twenty one) hours of our entire time in transit!!! We were not able to buy some food or use quiet rooms for a proper such needed rest while in transit.
    We purchased our air tickets at Hamad official website and there wasn’t any information relating to any changes relating to transit-passengers. The only information was restricting entering the country for foreign nationals. If the conditions of transit have been changed this should’ve been reflected on the official website. Passengers must do informed decisions and adjust to those conditions accordingly. We would never purchased those tickets with a long waiting connection!!! We were sure that our transit experience will be similar to what we used before as according to the information on their official website Hamad – Doha is still OPEN for Transit. After 21 hours of nightmare transit experience being trapped at the Gates there was of course a long and exhausting 14 hours flight from Qatar to Brisbane…
    Considering the Corona-virus situation in the world and extreme difficulties what people are going through now, instead of support, care and understanding transit passengers of Flight QR132 Rome-Qatar were unwelcomed at Hamad and all their privileges of passengers in transit like buying some food or having a proper rest in the lounge have been stripped without even communicating to them! Up to now information on the website relating to transit at Doha has not been updated! They were keeping us like animals at the Gates for 21 hours!!! We even couldn’t stretch our legs as all chairs at the Gates were with dividers and it was impossible to lie-down on those chairs.
    Be warned that your transit will be now completely different at Doha. We would not recommend transiting at Hamad – Doha International airport. Horrible experience, animals are treated better than humans…

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