Qatar Airways: Detailed review of recent travel

enysse

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Thanks for the thorough review! I enjoyed reading it a lot!
 

Dee S

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A couple of questions, as we fly from Houston to Doha, then 9 hour layover, then into Windhoek, on June 2nd, on Qatar Air. How comfortable were the seat cushions for your bottom? I got a skinny butt, was thinking about a memory foam cushion. Is it worth the $20 it would cost for one and the hassle of carrying it around? Also, we have a window seat on all of our flights, for my daughter to sit. How is the leg room for the window seat? And I'm tall, so I'd be in the middle seat. What was your leg room like?
And we too are thinking about leaving the airport, but were concerned about the length of time it would take to actually get outside and then the time to get back inside. Would it be worth the?

Thanks, really enjoyed your post and pictures.
 

Dave Zimmerman

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A couple of questions, as we fly from Houston to Doha, then 9 hour layover, then into Windhoek, on June 2nd, on Qatar Air. How comfortable were the seat cushions for your bottom? I got a skinny butt, was thinking about a memory foam cushion. Is it worth the $20 it would cost for one and the hassle of carrying it around? Also, we have a window seat on all of our flights, for my daughter to sit. How is the leg room for the window seat? And I'm tall, so I'd be in the middle seat. What was your leg room like?
And we too are thinking about leaving the airport, but were concerned about the length of time it would take to actually get outside and then the time to get back inside. Would it be worth the?

Thanks, really enjoyed your post and pictures.

I cant say about window seat as I was aisle the entire process...but looked same as others in terms of leg room. I didn't notice any issues with seat cushion but if you are worried, the $20 might be good investment on offhand chance it isn't up to your standards. I used a pillow they gave me when I felt not 100% and was ok. Id recommend seats as close to the back of the airplane as possible, as they are less likely to fill up vs the front and are closer to bathrooms and galley if you want extra snacks, drinks, or to walk around. I had 38C pretty much every flight and was only a few rows from the back...and noticed there were empty seats in the rear on all flights, the # of each depended on the flights.

As for leaving the airport, it wasn't super hard since I did it by myself on 1st trip to the country. Customs to leave airport all depends on how many passengers are in line. I had about 20-30 minute wait because of the # of passengers, but very painless and easy. Once you're through customs, just head to entrance and should be a line of the turquoise Karwa(I think that's how its spelled) taxi there, just tell them where you wanna go and you are off. Each taxi had a tablet meter on the dash you could see drivers name and the fare price in riyals easily visibile. If meter doesnt work, you dont have to pay a fare as it says it right on the window. Make sure you have plenty of Riyal for taxi and shopping, as most take cards but its easier with Riyal and you can change the unused back to US at airport on way back.

I went to Souq Waqif and it was easy to spend hours there browsing the shops, café for food/drink/shisha, and just take it in. It closes up from 12-4pm during heat of day im told, but I wasn't there then. The art museum is right there and free to public during operating hours (didn't make it there in time to personally go in). The Souq has tons and tons of shops with everything from spices to pets to clothing to jewelry to everything you could think of. Its a big complex of alleys/walkways with shops, so if you get turned around its pretty easy to find the edge or central area. Taxi are lined up on the street to get back to airport or just flag down one on the street...very simple and effective since government ran and professional as could be. You could also have your taxi driver give you a tour around on way to or from airport, just figure the cost in taxi fare. For me personally, it was 50 riyal from airport to souq and 35 riyal from souq to airport.

I cant say enough how impressed I was with Qatar Airlines, Hamad International Airport, or Doha city. Having just flown American from KC to Chicago, it was a world different for the better once I boarded Qatar. The features they provided guest in economy was amazing, entertainment options made me not have to use my laptop/dvds or my ipod the whole time. Food was good, beverages really nice (since all alcohol was available free...within moderation), and staff was very nice. Hamad Airport is huge and tons of stuff to look at once you clear customs or are waiting to board. It is set up easy to get around, has indoor smoking rooms if you need that, and was just a nice place, even at 1-2am. The City of Doha was great, everyone was nice and friendly and never once felt unsafe or uncomfortable. People did their own thing and if you wanted to shop they would be helpful. Haggle with prices a bit as it is expected and don't be afraid to walk away, as likely you will see same or similar items at different shops. I shopped a bit before buying a pair of wood inlayed boxes for 20 riyal each, 100% cashmere scarves for 15 riyal, beautiful lamps for 30-40 riyal, and could have had a lot more if I wanted.
 

Countrylife

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I flew into Doha then on to OR Tambo on Qatar in business class. I'll agree with everything that's been said about Qatar & Doha. I did not get to the Souk, we chose to go to the dunes and bedouin camp instead. That was a nice tour, but I think next time I'd prioritize the tour to #1) Souk, #2) Tour of the city, #3) Dunes (there's not much about the bedouin camp which is what I was after). One thing that I need to point out about business class - there are 2 types. One is the fare that was ticketed as business class, the second is the upgrade to business. They are not the same. There are 2 business class lounges in the Doha airport. For those ticketed as business class the Al Mourjan Business Lounge is really great! I can't imagine what 1st class is like. Google the Al Mourjan Business Lounge there are extensive writeups and pictures on the web. If you have an upgrade to business you can't get in, the other lounge is for you and I hear it is nice as well, but not as nice.

I had trouble finding the lounge, i did not see any signs. So, as you face the Teddy Bear (on the same level as the bear) look to your left about 45*. About 100 meters (more or less) there is an escalator that runs up 2 levels of floor with a flight attendent at the foot of the esclator. She will check your boarding pass and up you go. It is nice. They have locking bins where you can store your carryon while you relax. They have multiple places to eat, showers, quiet rooms (also serves as a sortof sleeping room). There are no beds, but I've been told the recliners are just as good as a lot of hotel beds. The area is huge and there are two levels to the lounge. Did I mention it is really nice? The lounge is nice enough that you can spend a very long layover without having to resort to a hotel.

After flying on Qatar, I told my travel agent that in future trips, I want to fly into Doha on Qatar then on from there on Qatar business. Although with the comments on this forum about Emeriates, I'd be willing to try them, but I think I'm done with domestic carriers.
 

Dee S

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Any issues with your checked luggage? In regards to someone going through the luggage and taking any items during the long layover? You hear horror stories about items that go missing from your checked luggage, just curious if you encountered any of that, but I assume you would have also mentioned that had it happened to you.
 

Dave Zimmerman

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Any issues with your checked luggage? In regards to someone going through the luggage and taking any items during the long layover? You hear horror stories about items that go missing from your checked luggage, just curious if you encountered any of that, but I assume you would have also mentioned that had it happened to you.
Having read stories of this, and how TSA locks down matter anywhere outside the US, I did a different trick ive heard guys use. Instead of TSA locks, I simply put 2 different bright colored zip ties through my zippers. That way, my thought was, if someone did pop it and replace it, it would be easy to see. I put small nail clippers in carry on to open when I got to S.A. but when I arrived both neon orange and green zip ties still in place. This was the case on the flight home as well, when I landed both zip ties on bag as well undisturbed. The TSA locks people will break if they want in so rather than spend $$$ on that, if they want in the bag they can cut a zip tie. By using the bright colored ones, I heard it discourages them from opening and resecuring them since you can tell.

I saw lots of people plastic wrapping their bags in S.A., but frankly I didn't see the need. Only thing in my suitcase was clothing and a few big souveniers. All electronics and valuables were in my carry on.
 

Countrylife

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No problems with luggage. I flew from Bangkok into Doha spent 2 nights (so I picked up my luggage and went thru customs) and then rechecked it when I flew from Doha to Maun thru OR Tambo. We changed airlines in OR Tambo from Qatar to South African airlines. There wasn't a lot of time in OR Tambo for a layover.

The one I did have concerns about was when we flew from Maun to Windhoek thru Cape Town. Took South African from Maun to Cape Town then Air Namibia from Cape Town to Windhoek with a 3 hour layover in Cape Town. The bags were checked all the way to Windhoek, but we had to exit the airside go out to Air Namibia ticket counter to get a boarding pass, then come back in. For some reason we could not get boarding passes all the way thru.

We do know our luggage was opened at some airports after we checked it because the lock was undone. But we've had no problems anywhere with our checked luggage. And yes, we were concerned about it - a lot! We flew with a large suitcase that we checked, a carryon that we had 3 changes of clothes and some other things that we'd need for a few days if our checked luggage went missing and one "personal" item which was a computer case that we carried all our confirmation papers and cables for various electronic gear.

The only time there was a question was when I had an empty water bottle in my carryon and went thru security. They pulled me aside after the xray and asked for the bag to be opened. So I did, and when we got to the water bottle she said " You can't take - - Oh, OK". It was always empty going thru security and I'd fill it airside so we'd have water if needed. It came in very handy frequently.

To put the luggage question in a little more perspective, the trip we are on has 17 flight legs and each one has the baggage handled at least once and sometimes twice by the airline luggage handlers. We still have 4 legs to go but from what I've seen, I do not expect any problems. The remaining legs are the most important because all our souviners are in them now and are obviously irreplacable. So we'll hope for the best.
 

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