Monday, August 11, 2014
Summer Vacation 2014 -- The New Hamad International Airport
So I started my vacation by of course going to the new airport. Eid had been announced this evening and I figured the airport would be absolutely swamped and I was also nervous about whether there'd be any space in the long-term carpark. Nothing to worry about, in terms of finding a parking space the new carpark is so big there were still hundreds of empty spots.
Check-in was also pretty smooth, a far cry from busy periods in the old airport. Check out the Qatar Airways economy check in on the night of Eid.
In other years during Eid going to check-in was like attending a rock concert, no line-up just a room filled completely with people.
After check-in I had a quick wander through the airport. It is huge, far bigger than the old one (and there's still more to go as I think there's two more phases to be completed over the next few years). Despite the busy period there seemed to be plenty of space.
There were some interesting playgrounds for children with artistic things to play on.
Some of the lounges were completed when I traveled and I believe Qatar Airways business-class lounge opened last week. I used the Oryx Lounge and it was comfortable enough, plenty of seats and even a quiet room.
For travelers who don't have lounge access the airport will soon have showers (they weren't finished when I was there), as well as a lot more shops and restaurants options.
And there are rooms with lounger chairs that are easier to lie down in.
My first impression was that it is a huge improvement from the old airport. Hopefully the expansion can keep up with the growth of Qatar Airways. It wasn't all that long ago that I thought the old airport had plenty of space, but in the last couple of years it had been bursting to the seams because of how much Qatar Airways expanded.