For most travelers, a seven-hour layover between connecting flights sounds like a nightmare. But for Qatar Airways' first- and business-class passengers at Doha International Airport, the experience is downright cushy.
I recently spent that long at the airline's Premium Terminal on the way to Tanzania, and between the snacks, massage chairs, and duty-free shopping, the time passed quickly.
The 10,000-square-foot terminal is completely separate from the rest of the airport, and feels more like a bustling hotel lobby than an airport waiting room. The two-story structure, which cost nearly $100 million to build, was completed in 2006.
Disclosure: Our trip to Tanzania, including travel and lodging expenses, was sponsored by the Tanzania Tourist Board, Africa Adventure Company, Singita Grumeti Group, Coastal Aviation, Qatar Airways, Tanzania National Parks, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, and Wildlife Division.
Passengers arriving at Doha International hop on a shuttle bus to their arrival terminal. To get into Qatar Airways' first- and business-class lounge, they need to have a special purple ticket.
After passing through a security checkpoint, we were ushered into a massive duty-free store. There were tons of electronics, cosmetics, booze, and jewelry for sale, and browsing there was a good way to kill time.
But the real action in the Premium Terminal was up these escalators.
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