Qatar Airways experience

Opposite Pole

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I believe you can also buy a pass for the Al Maha and Oryx lounges. We use our Priority Pass membership to access these.

I strongly recommend Al Mourjan lounge in Doha. It is the best lounge you can buy your way into in Qatar. It is very large and roomy with better food and beverage selection (like two different Champagnes at the bar). There are two “restaurants” in that lounge, showers, work stations etc. This the lounge you get access to when flying business on Qatar.

There is also the Al Safwa lounge in Doha (for Qatar’s 1st class pax only) but you can’t buy your way into it unfortunately. This is a shame as it is just something else. They pour vintage Krug like it’s water over there and facilities include hotel style rooms with bathrooms and bedrooms, a spa, duty free shop (inside the lounge), a cigar room as well as displays of ancient artefacts from Qatar’s museum of Islamic art.
 

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I just returned from a trip to South Africa in Limpopo. I have seen many post asking about Qatar airways on the site, so thought I would give a review of my experience.
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I flew from Nashville to Dallas on American. Dallas to Doha, Qatar. Doha to Johannesburg. Return was the same except flew through Philly on return flight. I flew on business class with my son. I did this because two Business class tickets were less roundtrip than a single business class ticket on South African Air.

The only drawback was it was two long leg flights versus one, and lengthy layovers (8hrs) in Doha, but I had time.

Qatar ticketing staff were excellent. I emailed special services with Qatar( specialservices@us.qatarairways.com ) about travel with my guns. I emailed them my itinerary, my US 4457 forms, letter of invite, and copy of passport. They quickly responded that all airports would be notified in advance. All locations were aware in advance, but take a hard copy of the above info as they will still want to see it at ticket counters both at origin and destination. My guns were locked in a Pelican double rifle case, and ammo was in two cheap, lockable survival containers I got from Cabelas($9 each). You will be directed to take rifle case directly from ticket counter to TSA oversize location and they will also check guns, then you relock and leave with them.

Qatar business class is great. Comfortable and very attentive and courteous staff. Just awesome service.

Doha airport is world class, and just voted best airport in world by traveler survey. When you depart plane to head to transfers, you will go through an additional security screening. Very quick, but you do have to take ALL electronics, camera, phone, laptop, CPAP out of your bag. Large bins are provided.

From there we went to Al Mourjan Business Lounge. It is located past the huge teddy bear sculpture, across from the BumbleBee Store(with dinosaur display) and then up private escalator.

The lounge is spacious, comfortable, and well attended.
If you do not travel business class, there is a hotel in the airport(inside security) where you can get a day room(I think it was about $300), or you can get a pool and fitness room pass for $52.

The lounge has numerous areas to chill out, including a business center with reclined couches for sleeping. The buffet is traditional middle eastern food, but is excellent and spacious. There are drink stations and bars located throughout(except no alcohol during Ramadan). The main bathroom has large private commodes, and attendants who are very polite and engaging. There is also a shower area with security if you need to refresh.

I was quite fond of the smoking lounge as I love my cigars. It is large, well ventilated, with leather chairs, glass ashtrays, and individual metal tables. There is an attendant 24/7, it is spotless, and they will come through and take beverage orders, as well as announce last call for flights departing.

There are no loud flight announcements. There are multiple boards with flight info. In addition, you may give them your flight details, and one of a dozen attendees will track you down prior to your flight.

All in all, for the money, it is an excellent value. I would equate the overall level of service to that of Disney. Everyone is courteous, helpful, and goes beyond the norm.

The only thing I would say is that plan to get to your return flight out of J’burg at least 3 hours before flight. The ticketing agents for Qatar in J’burg are African. While courteous, they operate at African pace. They seemed confused when dealing with the whole gun transport thing, and it took me about 45 minutes at the counter. Not bad unless you breakdown on way back to airport as we did and arrived only an hour before flight. We still made our flight, with our luggage and guns, but it was tight. Your funs will have to be cleared by airport security after you check in, but the officer was nice enough, and a handed him a $20 once in inspection room and we were in and out in under 1 minute. I consider it a preemptive tip, not a bribe. It worked.

I have many many more notes. But this is long enough as is. If you have questions, I will be more than happy to answer.

One last note. When we arrived back in Philly and cleared passport, everyone must collect bags to transfer before traveling home. A Qatar representative already had my guns and bags. He took us through customs/gun inspection. Everything in order the officer then escorted the Qatar agent and us thru customs, with no further inspections, and the Qatar agent carried our guns/baggage to the American ticketing counter where he made sure we were taken care of. Very nice at the end of a long flight. While he was just doing his job, these are the guys who deserve a tip because of his level of service.

Best of luck in your future travels and I highly recommend Qatar Airways!
Thank you Mort Hill for the information for specialservices@us.qatarairways.com. I have emailed to other emails provided by my travel agent and Qatar Customer Service and it has been silenced so far. I am leaving on June 26 also to South Africa, also in Limpopo. I am using Qatar Airways Business Class due to their high rating and price. I am not concern with South Africa; we have engaged a lawyer to meet and greet us to clear the firearms.

My concern is the transfer in Doha.
 

shootist~

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Does Qatar require a Hard Sided suitcase if traveling with ammo? Not the ammo box - the actual checked suitecase that the ammo box goes into.

Hearing this from someone I'm traveling with.
My suitcase is soft-sided like (I presume) most others.
 

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Does Qatar require a Hard Sided suitcase if traveling with ammo? Not the ammo box - the actual checked suitecase that the ammo box goes into.

Hearing this from someone I'm traveling with.
My suitcase is soft-sided like (I presume) most others.
I packed mine in a soft side suitcase, no issues with Qatar in the last two weeks of May, '21.

Edit: Pelican 1200 case used for ammo.
 
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Red Leg

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Thank you Mort Hill for the information for specialservices@us.qatarairways.com. I have emailed to other emails provided by my travel agent and Qatar Customer Service and it has been silenced so far. I am leaving on June 26 also to South Africa, also in Limpopo. I am using Qatar Airways Business Class due to their high rating and price. I am not concern with South Africa; we have engaged a lawyer to meet and greet us to clear the firearms.

My concern is the transfer in Doha.
What travel agent are you using who has you emailing this material yourself?!? One of the advantages of using a travel agent who specializes in hunting travel arrangements is their engagement with the airline. Your firearm will be checked through to Johannesburg, so you will have no issues in Doha. I am using Gracy and they handle all the paperwork needed with Qatar, and obtain my visa (Zambia).

And you have a lawyer meeting you to clear firearms?!? Gracy's service, like the other clearance options, work based upon their established relationships with the agents in the clearance office. It is quick and a non-issue.
 

Hogpatrol

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Does Qatar require a Hard Sided suitcase if traveling with ammo? Not the ammo box - the actual checked suitecase that the ammo box goes into.

Hearing this from someone I'm traveling with.
My suitcase is soft-sided like (I presume) most others.
Weigh your ammo case with all your ammo in it. Make sure it's not over 5k. Better to be under. Mine and my buddies weighed under 5k at home and right at 5k at the airport in Philly and Joberg.
 

mdwest

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Thank you Mort Hill for the information for specialservices@us.qatarairways.com. I have emailed to other emails provided by my travel agent and Qatar Customer Service and it has been silenced so far. I am leaving on June 26 also to South Africa, also in Limpopo. I am using Qatar Airways Business Class due to their high rating and price. I am not concern with South Africa; we have engaged a lawyer to meet and greet us to clear the firearms.

My concern is the transfer in Doha.

Qatar is pretty bad at the email game… I posted in another thread about emailing them all of the required paperwork to travel with a firearm multiple times and all of the emails going unanswered…

It pretty much takes sending them an email with all of the paperwork.. then calling their customer service line..the customer service rep will then track down your email, confirm you have all of the appropriate documents on file, and then provide you with a confirmation of their permit for you to fly with your firearms..

I was advised to have extra print outs of all of the documents to hand to the agent at check in as well as another set to keep on my person in case they are needed in Doha..

I was also advised to arrive at the airport a minimum of 3 hours early to accommodate Qatar’s process time needed to get the weapons checked in through joberg etc (although the customer service rep advised 4 hours was better lol)
 

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Does Qatar require a Hard Sided suitcase if traveling with ammo? Not the ammo box - the actual checked suitcase that the ammo box goes into.
...
I packed mine in a soft side suitcase, no issues with Qatar in the last two weeks of May, '21.

Edit: Pelican 1200 case used for ammo.
Thanks for the replies.

FWIW, this originated in another Qatar thread where someone (not using a travel agent) quoted an email from a Qatar rep. Rep was obviously just typing what he thought at the time - not official policy.

I also confirmed it's a never-mind with Jennifer at Travel express - she has never heard of any requirement for the checked suitcase to be a hard sided case. (Different story of course for the Ammo Box.)
 

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Thanks for the replies.

FWIW, this originated in another Qatar thread where someone (not using a travel agent) quoted an email from a Qatar rep. Rep was obviously just typing what he thought at the time - not official policy.

I also confirmed it's a never-mind with Jennifer at Travel express - she has never heard of any requirement for the checked suitcase to be a hard sided case. (Different story of course for the Ammo Box.)
I will say, if you’re transferring on to Airlink in Jo‘berg, they made us pull our pelicans out of our checked baggage and check separately. So bring locks and a sturdy box!
 

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