Tuesday, May 27, is expected to be a landmark day for Qatar and its residents. As of 9am, all commercial flights in and out of the country will operate from the new, state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA), signaling the closure of the overloaded Doha International Airport.
Up until now, 15 carriers have been operating out of HIA, during a trial period which began at the end of April.
Tomorrow, however, heralds the transfer of all remaining flights, including the entire Qatar Airways fleet.
Tips for travelers
For those encountering the new airport for the first time, here are some tips to help with your transition.
If flying on the 27th, check flight details
All flights leaving before 9am on May 27 that are operated by Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airways, Jet Airways, Gulf Air, Emirates, Egyptair, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and MEA Middle East will still depart from DIA.
However, all flights leaving after 9am on this date will leave from HIA, regardless of which airline you’re flying on.
HIA has both long term and short stay car parks. At the moment, both of these are free. Airport officials have not yet announced how much these will cost when charging is introduced.
You’ll find a Karwa taxi rank to your left as you exit Arrivals. Remember that the standard additional charge for all airport pick-ups is QR25. Additionally, you’ll be able to catch public buses from the airport’s “Bus Pavilion,” which is outside the terminal to the your right – it is signed from Arrivals.
And if you need a rental car, Avis and Europcar service counters will be located at the Ground Transportation Center, which is directly opposite the passenger terminal.
Food, drink and shopping
Up until now, very few of the promised 80 retail outlets and 30 cafes have actually been open. During a visit on May 15, for example, Doha News observed that three branches of Jamocha Cafe, a 24/7 convenience store and a few Qatar Duty Free shops were open for business.
However, a spokeswoman from HIA told Doha News today that all 30 cafes and restaurants will be open at the airport from Tuesday, along with 70 shops selling clothes, electronics and gourmet food. At least one public food outlet, The Caviar House, has alcohol on its menu.
The CEO of airport operator Qatar Airways stated last week that his airline’s business and first-class passengers will not have access to their own premium lounges at HIA for the next two months, as they are not yet finished.
Instead, he said that passengers traveling Business and First with Qatar Airways will be given passes to the other airline lounges in the complex (Al Maha, Oryx, Gold and Silver), or, if these are full, vouchers will be offered.
Note: passengers who are not eligible to enter these facilities can pay for access to the Oryx lounge for QR140/person. An airport spokesman has confirmed that alcohol will be served in lounges at HIA.
Qatar Airways advises that all passengers should try to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight. Check in will close an hour before departure for economy passengers, and 45 minutes beforehand for premium classes. If you have an e-gate, you’ll be able to use it in both arrivals and departures.
Passengers who need to change money will find two Travelex branches open – one in Departures, and one in Arrivals.
If you have time to kill
For those who want to rest, there are quiet rooms located in Concourse B, near Boarding Gate B4. If traveling with children, there are small kids’ play areas dotted around the Departures area, along with internet points and “TV zones.” Qatar Airways strollers are available to borrow if you’ve checked yours in to the hold.
Smokers should note that a smoking room is located at Concourse B. There is free wifi on offer throughout the airport.
Art on show
And finally, HIA is home to some new public art installations, several of which are so big, they’ll be impossible to miss. Of particular note are “Lamp Bear” by Swiss artist Urs Fischer (located at the center of the airport) and “Playground” by artist Tom Otterness (in the Arrivals area.)
Do you have any advice to add? Thoughts?
Editor’s note: Edited at 8pm on May 27 to add that alcohol is being sold to the general public at at least one restaurant in the airport.
Just one smoking room? What about departure and arrival terminal area?
Time to give up smoking
There are 5 smoking room in the departure and 2 in the arrival
Good job Qatar … better late than never … eagerly looking forward to my next trip to the airport.
In fact, it’s better to delay the opening than to open before the place is ready 🙂
Opening an airport without first and business class lounges probably means it’s still not ready.
It’s only opening when it is because the A380 is arriving shortly and the old airport had no way to board passengers on to a two-deck aircraft.
Hamad Airport won’t be fully ready for another few months.
I’m sure that there would be a shop selling a longer ladder up in the Industrial Area…..or get one knocked together quickly !!! Suppose they could always use those inflatable emergency slides as that would be quite a ride down from the upper deck.
I just wish that the press releases wouldn’t keep trying to distort the truth that the opening of the airport was delayed until the airport was ready. Clearly the airport is still not ready, and there are going to be a lot of disappointed Qatar Airways Premium class passengers who are going to be rather annoyed that despite paying 5 star prices the lounges will be substandard.
Why aren’t the just open and honest and admit that the airport is still not ready, but that operational requirements demand that it is opening anyway? We aren’t idiots, we know it’s not finished.
Will alcohol be available for purchase for the generl public at any bars?
i dont know about bars…but there is a yummy yummy chocolate bar…it is good and healthier than a alcohol bar
Not sure how you can say chocolate or alcohol are healthier than one another. Still – i like chocolate flavoured vodka best(worst) of both worlds!
Can be best for this world but not the other 😉
Lol. A “yummy chocolate bar”. What are we, 4 year old girls? And as others have said below, I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that chocolate is healthier than alcohol.
No, we’re not “4 year old girls”!
Looks like you think that people who don’t drink alcohol are children?
Lol. And yes, in my home country, and many others, children don’t drink alcohol.
Chocolate liquer anyone?
That’ll help it compete with DXB for thirsty travellers.
Hello – the answer appears to be yes – alcohol is on sale at the Caviar House, which is in a public area of the airport.
Sorry to appear elitist but as a premium passenger I would miffed if I couldn’t get access to the current oryx lounges if they were full because non premium or privilege members paid a fee and I end up with vouchers.
I’d feel quite miffed if a premium passenger felt miffed because my privilege member fee paying body had a place in the oryx lounge and they did not.
I’m miffed at all the miffiness here lately
do I as an Oryx lounge member have to be miffed?
I must have miffed it…………………………..
Delta airlines and most other U.S. carriers allow people to buy one day passes to their lounges. They are never full because of too many one day passengers. Plus, they only have access to Oryx lounge, not Gold lounges.
All the miffiness* aside, I am looking forward to see pictures of the Oryx, Gold and Silver Lounges to see what so many months of delays garnered!.
* I can’t believe the word exists! LOL
I understand there have been real problems at the old airport in the
You’ve got to admit it’s pretty wow. Absolutely magnificent building. Gonna miss the old magical bus tour though.
The new airport still uses buses. Sorry to disappoint you.
But it does have a giant teddy bear, so that’s good news.
Does anyone know if there will be more than 1 ticket counter dedicated for QA direct to U.S. flights? At the old airport there is only 1 counter that can get extremely long.
Yep, they’ve got multiple counters this time don’t worry about that!
Funny thing, search Shanghai Airport.. total rip off!!! As most Qatar Buildings are
Seriously, are you sure it’s an international airport? I couldn’t see where the bars are located. Thankfully we have Etihad and Emirates.
…….talking about lounges and bars hope there are some affordable places where the less fortunate can afford to buy a juice or a snack at the airport and also that the authorities have arranged affordable transport that this group of travelers can use to get to their their accomodations instead of being ripped off by this taxi drivers
Wasn’t the whole airport delayed because the lounges weren’t ready according to the official statement for the last 2 years….
Yep, and the lounges for First and Business class are STILL not ready! Seems they decided to open the airport anyway, whether it’s finished or not.
I hope I never see those buses again!
3 hours before take off? Really?
Flew Yesterday, took additonal time based on feedback, was sitting 2 extra hours at airport, but in the Oryx lounge, so coped fine. Few tips that might be useful ;
1. Watch the turn off for the actual Airport slip road, the final sign comes quite late and you could continue on to Wakra quite easily
2. Parking : There are EAST and WEST areas for parking when you drive in there. However, they are designated with the same letters ie A1 or F2, so remember which area ie. East or West you parked in (There are signs) but i was too excited and missed them. It’s quite a walk from one area to the other in 40 degrees heat at night.
Parking is Free as indicated in the article. The interior design of the car park at exit points is like City Center Mall Car Park, allowing cars to criss cross each other easily, so be careful.
3. When exiting through the arrivals hall towards the parking, watch the signage, it’s not 100% clear and you could go all the way through to the back of the terminal.
4. No flight announcements in the terminal, so don’t rely on audio to get you to your flight!
5. The Oryx lounge is located up on the first floor, opposite the giant teddy. It was heaving, but food and service was good.
6. Don’t confuse the Emirs Terminal road access with the main airport access. There is no security control to that road at the moment.
7 Forgot to mention that the Free Wifi Advertised was not working for the duration I was there.
Otherwise I had a great first experience and look forward to doing it again soon!