Men Who Like to Cook - David Latt

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Qatar Airways' Premium Terminal Only for Business and First Class Passengers

First impressions are important but sometimes they can be deceiving. When you pull up in front of the Qatar Airways' Premium Terminal in Doha, you'll think you're checking into a hotel because you are met at the curb by valets who load your bags onto luggage carriers.

Unless several flights are leaving at the same time, which can happen in the morning, there are no queues. A concierge leads you to a desk where you take a seat in a plush leather chair while an airline clerk relieves you of your bag and checks you in.

After a quick walk through security and a look through the Duty Free Shop, it's upstairs to the second floor lounges. Besides a fully serviced business center and conference rooms, there are men and women's prayer rooms, a children's play area and nursery, a room for families, and a video game room.

The Business Class and First Class Lounges have waiting areas with more of those comfortable leather chairs and a restaurant with a full buffet and bar. The First Class Lounge additionally has a spa with showers, a sauna, jacuzzi, sleeping rooms, and massage treatment rooms.

For our morning flight to JFK, we sampled the breakfast buffet of Arabic and Western foods, enjoyed freshly brewed coffees, and waited comfortably until it was time to go down stairs and board the plane.

Amazingly and characteristic of life in fast-changing Doha, the $100 million dollar Premium Terminal built in 2006 will be torn down in a few years, along with the rest of the current airport.

Three miles away, the new Doha International Airport is being constructed to better handle an expected increase in passenger traffic. Designed to handle 24-26 million passengers, the new terminal will double the capacity of the old terminal. Built in two phases, the first part will open in 2011, the second by 2015. A new and even more luxurious Premium Terminal will be built at the new airport.

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