Eerily Empty: Reviewing Qatar’s Business-Class Immigration and Arrivals Lounges in Doha

Apr 24, 2019

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To The Point

Qatar Airways business and first class passengers arriving in Doha have access to an Immigration Lounge and an Arrivals Lounge. Pros: expedited immigration and a place to relax, shower and work before heading to your hotel. Cons: limited dining options and no access to Oneworld elites traveling in economy.

Qatar is one of the few Oneworld airlines that offers an arrivals lounge — and it offers not one, but two lounges in Doha. My husband JT and I recently flew through Doha a few times and we had enough time during one layover to check out the arrival experience while flying business class on Qatar.

Note that the Doha arrivals lounges are only for passengers arriving on a Qatar first-class or business-class ticket — Oneworld elites flying in other cabins as well as first- and business-class passengers on other airlines won’t have access to either lounge. Here’s what you can expect if you’re arriving into Doha after flying business class or first class on Qatar Airways.

Immigration Lounge

After deplaning, you’ll first pass through the Immigration Lounge before making your way to the proper Arrivals Lounge. Flight attendants will hold the economy passengers behind a curtain until all business-class passengers have deplaned. Once you deplane, follow the signs toward immigration. Once you near the immigration area, look for signs to the Al Safwa First and Al Mourjan Business Immigration Lounge.

You’ll find this lounge at the far left of the immigration hall. Just show your Qatar business- or first-class boarding pass for the flight you arrived on to gain access.

The Immigration Lounge is relatively simple, although there are various types of chairs, magazines and newspapers. There usually isn’t a reason to spend much time here because the Arrivals Lounge that lie after the immigration hall, baggage claim and customs provides more services.

Indeed, the main reason to go through this lounge is for expedited immigration clearance.

There are immigration agents at the lounge exit that will quickly process you.

The Immigration Lounge does have sodas, coffee and some plastic-wrapped breakfast items if you need to spend time in the lounge.

Once you clear immigration, you’ll leave the Lounge and enter the baggage claim area. You’ll need to collect any checked baggage before you walk through customs and into the arrivals hall. Once you are in the arrivals hall, go left to reach the Arrivals Lounge.

Arrivals Lounge

The entrance to the Arrivals Lounge is in the arrivals hall. After you clear the check-in desk with the boarding pass from your first- or business-class Qatar Airways flight into Doha, you’ll need to head up one level to the lounge.

The lounge has plenty of seating. Most seats have access to a universal-style power outlet, but these outlets only accept two-prong US plugs. So, if you have a three-prong plug, make sure you have your own adapter.

There’s a TV room with five chairs, each with a small table.

There are also a few small nooks for relaxing alone or with your family.

There’s even a large business center across a bridge from the main lounge area.

View from the bridge between the main lounge and business center.
View from the bridge between the main lounge and business center.

The lounge’s business center has about 10 computers, as well as work space.

The business center is also equipped to handle business meetings in two large conference rooms.

On the other side of the bridge, there’s a dining area with two- and four-seat tables.

We sat at one of the four-seat tables in the dining room and ordered from a small menu of soups and main courses.

When we visited, the menu listed two soups — Moroccan Vegetable Soup and Laksa Soup — as well as five sandwich options:

  • Cajun-spiced chicken on ciabatta
  • Roast beef on rye
  • Norwegian smoked salmon sandwich
  • Deli lamb
  • Veggie extreme

I ordered the Moroccan vegetable soup and found it to be hearty, complex and well-spiced — but not spicy.

JT ordered the Norwegian smoked salmon sandwich, which seemed to be made to order.

In addition to the options available on the menu, there are also some light snacks available at a small buffet.

There’s a concierge desk tucked away between the men’s and women’s restrooms and showers, although no one was at the desk during our visit.

The women’s restroom has four stalls as well as three sinks.

There are also two dedicated makeup areas in the women’s restroom.

Next to the women’s restroom are three large self-serve shower rooms for women. Each shower room has an entrance room with a closet, lamp and a chair, and a second room with a shower, toilet and sink.

The shower and toilet stalls are next to each other in individual stalls.

The shampoo, conditioner and body wash provided in the shower cabin smelled excellent.

No amenities like razors, cotton buds or combs are provided. There also isn’t a hair dryer in the shower room, but I was able to quickly get one from an attendant.

Overall Impression

I’ve visited the Qatar Airways Immigration Lounge and Arrivals Lounge twice now. On both visits, both lounges were almost completely empty — and on my most recent visit to the Arrivals Lounge, we didn’t see any other passengers during our three-hour stay.

If you have access to these lounges by arriving into Doha on a Qatar Airways first-class or business-class ticket, then you should definitely use the Immigration Lounge to clear immigration. Then, if you want to freshen up before heading into the city, the Arrivals Lounge is a nice place to take a shower, grab a bite to eat or get some work done — but you won’t be missing much if you opt to skip the Arrivals Lounge and head straight to your hotel.

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