Turkish Airlines fly to more countries than any other airline. Most of their flights connect through the recently opened Istanbul (IST) airport. They are a great full service option to fly from England to Qatar at a reasonable price. To inform Qatar Quick readers and to save money myself in the process, I decided to check them out.

In this post I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was it? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines plane in air
Turkish Airlines Plane – Photo from

In this article, I will review my first experience of Turkish Airlines from Birmingham, England to Doha, Qatar. So, how was my experience? Read on to find out…..

Turkish Airlines Air Fare

Getting to Qatar can be a costly experience, but I booked an extremely competitively priced return ticket from Birmingham, England (BHX) to Doha, Qatar (DOH) for just £332.29. Admittedly this may have been cheaper than usual as I was travelling mid March as the Covid 19 virus was reaching the Middle East and Europe. More about this later.

The Covid 19 Impact

As the Covid 19 virus spread across the world, Turkish Airlines announced that passengers who had booked flights within a certain time frame could enjoy changes to their tickets free of charge. As a result of this, I took advantage and found the entire process very simple. I contacted their call centre who explained my options and rebooked my flights without fuss. This policy is in place until the end 2020. Great start!

On the day before my flight, I checked in online finding this process simple. Upon arrival at Birmingham airport I proceeded to the fast bag drop counter and checked in my bags. Turkish Airlines offer a very generous 30kg on their economy flights to Doha – learn all about their baggage policies here.

On Board With Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines operate a zonal boarding process and I boarded from the rear of the plane. Subsequently this worked well and I received a friendly welcome from the hostess.

The flight was a busy one. Once seated I found the leg room ample (however I am only 1.70m tall) Turkish Airlines seat pitch is between 29-33 inches depending on the type of aircraft.

Turkish Airlines Economy Class seats
Turkish Airlines Economy Seating – Beyzanur K

As a consequence of the covid 19 virus ALL passengers were asked to fill in a document stating their seat number and contact details which would be used for contact tracing if necessary.

A tasty brunch was provided and drinks – both non alcoholic and alcoholic were available. Moreover, the flight entertainment system offered a choice of films, tv shows, music and games and the Turkish Airlines crew distributed individually wrapped disposable earphones.

The 3.5 hour flight was soon over and we landed early into Istanbul (IST). I was keen to get off and stretch my legs. I soon realised this would be easy due to the size of the airport. It was HUGE!

Transiting at Istanbul Airport

Having shown my onward boarding pass to Doha, I passed through security which completed the transfer process. Very easy.

In the airport terminal there are loads of TV screens detailing departure gates and clear signage directing you.

I had 3 hours to look around so went to the central area of the terminal. There I found everything. It is hard to explain the size of this new airport. The space is so vast it took around 20 minutes walking through the shopping area. Please note there are limited travellators and no connecting trains. However there is a buggy service for passengers in need.

I felt like I was in a mall. All kinds of shops and restaurants including competitively priced duty free were available. There was a cosy looking bar if you fancied a beer and various restaurants and coffee shops too. All great for passing the time people watching.

Istanbul Airport Duty Free
Duty Free Shopping at Istanbul Airport – Photo by Hurriyet Daily News

Also available is an airport hotel, a sleep pod (€6/9 per hour depending on time of day) prayer rooms, ATMs, several paid lounges, lost and found and an airport assist centre. They even have two exhibition areas displaying photos and the history of the airport. You will not definitely not get bored!  

A top tip is to leave plenty of time to get to your gate for your onward flight to Doha. It took me 30 minutes and I was alone walking reasonably quickly.

Unfortunately the boarding gate was a bit too small for the amount of passengers but you can sit opposite the gate and enter last minute.

Istanbul to Doha

Once onboard, this Turkish Airlines plane was newer and as it was now evening, pillows and blankets were available. The crew were relatively accommodating but it did feel as though you had to ask for something rather than be offered it. Service onboard went relatively smoothly but was continually interrupted by frequent turbulence. Again non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks were available and many passengers enjoyed a glass of wine or a beer. Their food offering was excellent with ample choice.

The flight entertainment system was much the same as the earlier flight and thankfully touch down at Hamad International Airport was smooth. Exiting the plane was relatively speedy and after connecting to the free wi-fi I headed to arrivals and immigration.

All in all my virgin experience of Turkish Airlines was excellent. If you want to visit Qatar and enjoy the sights, experience and culture as well as save money then I would not hesitate to recommend them.

Most visitors arriving at Hamad International Airport will just want to jump into a taxi and quickly get to where they are going. But if you are not too tired, can easily handle your luggage and have a little more time on your hands. You can elect to take a bus for a fraction of the cost. Getting around Qatar can be very affordable using the Karwa bus service.

Bus tickets cost between QAR 2.50 and QAR 7.00 but can only be paid for by cash (local cash). Single journey tickets can be bought on the bus.

You can also buy Smart Cards at a machine located in the Bus Terminal at Hamad International Airport. The machine accepts local currency or a credit card.


Public transport smart cards are needed to ride Karwa public bus. Top-up amount in multiples of Qr.10. Buy and top-up Karwa smart card at ticket vending machines at Hamad International Airport, Doha Bus Station, The Pearl Qatar and Qatar Mall, also partner merchants.

Three types of Karwa smart card:

  • Classic Card, (Cost: QR.30): Rechargeable card for long term.
  • Limited Card, 24hr (Cost: QR.10): Good for two journeys within 24-hrs of purchase.
  • Unlimited Card, 24hr (Cost: QR.20): Good for unlimited journeys within 24-hrs of purchase.
Sample Exchange Rates0.210.270.2414.44
Limited Card, 24hr102.082.752.41144
Unlimited Card, 24hr204.165.494.82289
Information on Karwa Bus Smart Card Machine

For more information and to check the information being given in this article is still up to date and correct, please go to or call Qatar (+974) 443 66 053

Routes and time

Public Bus Routes from Hamad International Airport
Bus No. 777
Bus No. 777 runs from 5am until 11pm every day
Bus No. 109 runs from 4:33am until 10:50pm every day
Bus No. 737
Bus No. 737 operates 24hrs a day
Bus No. 727
Bus No. 727 runs from 4:10am until 10:10pm
Bus No. 747
Bus No. 747 runs from 4:50am until 11:50pm
DOH Airport Bus Terminal
DOH Airport Bus Terminal

It’s easy to get FREE WiFi on Arrival at DOH

When you arrive in HIA (Hamad International Airport) Qatar or DOH as it will appear on your ticket, you can get access to the airports free WiFi. After disembarking from your aircraft simply turn on your phone and connect to #HIAQatar Complimentary

Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi to sign into the FREE HIA Wi-Fi
Select #HIAQatar Complimentary from available Wi-Fi

After connecting to #HIAQatar Complimentary you should see the screen below.

Connect using your Qatar Airways QR Booking Code found on your ticket or by receiving a code via SMS

There are two ways to get free internet at HIA, if you flew with Qatar Airways you should select [Connect using QR booking]. You will find your QR booking code on your ticket. If you arrived with any other airline you need to select [Connect using SMS]. If you select [Connect using SMS] you will need to enter the phone number of your mobile.

Select the country your SIM is registered in and enter your mobile phone number
Select the country your SIM is registered in and enter your mobile phone number

WARNING: The only disadvantage of using the [Connect using SMS] option is that you must have roaming enabled on your phone to receive the SMS Access Code if you are not using a Qatari SIM. If you are enabling roaming on your phone you may want to ensure that data roaming is turned off to avoid incurring expensive data roaming charges. Make sure you turn off data roaming before turning off your phone during takeoff.

Once you receive your Wi-Fi Access code, you simply enter it and your free WiFi will begin. Then you can turn off all roaming on your phone if you need to.

Enter the code sent to you via SMS
Enter the code sent to you via SMS

Now you can use the free WiFi to chat with whoever is meeting you on the other side in arrivals, and let everyone back home know you have arrived safely.

Free Visa on Arrival for 81 Countries

Passport holders of 81 countries can get a free visa on arrival in Qatar. They do not need to do anything in advance. No forms to fill in, no paperwork, no online applications. Everything is done quickly and efficiently at passport control in Hamad International Airport (DOH). Some countries get visas for 30 days stay in Qatar, extendable by a further 30 days. And some are entitled to 90 days, but that cannot be extended.

If you are not a passport holder in one of the countries listed below, then you will need to visit the Visas in advance section of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior website.

Country Days
1 Andorra 30
2 Argentina 30
3 Australia 30
4 Austria 90
5 Azerbaijan 30
6 Bahamas 90
7 Belarus 30
8 Belgium 90
9 Bolivia 30
10 Brazil 30
11 Brunei 30
12 Bulgaria 90
13 Canada 30
14 Chile 30
15 China 30
16 Colombia 30
17 Costa Rica 30
18 Croatia 90
19 Cuba 30
20 Cyprus 90
21 Czech 90
22 Denmark 90
23 Ecuador 30
24 Estonia 90
25 Finland 90
26 France 90
27 Georgia 30
28 Germany 90
29 Greece 90
30 Guyana 30
31 Hong Kong 30
32 Hungary 90
33 Iceland 90
34 India 30
35 Indonesia 30
36 Ireland 30
37 Italy 90
38 Japan 30
39 Kazakhstan 30
40 Latvia 90
41 Lebanon 30
42 Liechtenstein 90
43 Lithuania 90
44 Luxembourg 90
45 Macedonia 30
46 Malaysia 90
47 Malta 90
48 Mexico 30
49 Moldova 30
50 Monaco 30
51 Netherlands 90
52 New Zealand 30
53 Norway 90
54 Pakistan 30
55 Panama 30
56 Paraguay 30
57 Peru 30
58 Poland 90
59 Portugal 90
60 Romania 90
61 Russia 30
62 San Marino 30
63 Seychelles 90
64 Singapore 30
65 Slovakia 90
66 Slovenia 90
67 South Africa 30
68 South Korea 30
69 Spain 90
70 Suriname 30
71 Sweden 90
72 Switzerland 90
73 Thailand 30
74 The Maldives 30
75 Turkey 90
76 Ukraine 30
77 United Kingdom 30
78 United States of America 30
79 Uruguay 30
80 Vatican City 30
81 Venezuela 30

You can easily buy a new ooredoo or Vodafone SIM on arrival at Doha International Airport

Once you have made it through customs it may be a good idea to buy a local SIM for use during your stay in Qatar. Qatar enjoys absolutely excellent mobile coms, with fast and reliable mobile data. You will need your passport for ID when buying a SIM in Qatar, and they will take a copy of your passport and register it against your SIM.

There are two mobile networks operating in Qatar; Vodafone and ooredoo. Both charge QR 35

to buy a new SIM. And both have very similar pricing for data and calls. It would take a great deal of comparison to try and decide which one to go for on price alone. And I would not want to be sued by either of them by saying one had a better network than the other. So the choice is yours. But ask them both about their Fexi plans because I believe they represent the best value for visitors.

As you step out of the automatic sliding doors that separate customs from land side arrivals you need to turn left if you want a Vodafone SIM, or right if you want an ooredoo SIM.

Vodafone Qatar

For Vodafone once you have walked out of customs into arrivals. Turn to your left and walk to the end of the building (it’s not very far honestly). You will see the new Vodafone Sales Kiosk at the end of the building. This is where you can buy your Vodafone SIM and loads.

An image of the Vodafone sales kiosk within arrivals at Hamad International Airport
The Vodafone Sales Kiosk within arrival at Hamad International Airport, Qatar

If you walk out of customs and turn right, you need to walk to the end of the building (follow signs for buses) and you will see a big ooredoo stand by the escalators.

Take you new SIM, pop it into your phone and you are good to go.

Having been here in Qatar for almost eight years now, there is one tourist destination that has been on my to do list all of that time. A destination that requires a vehicle capable of off roading, and that is something I have never possessed here.

My son on the other hand has got a suitable vehicle and although I have avoided going into the dessert with him so far (because he is a nutter when driving off road), Victoria and I decided we would join him for this jolly to finally go and see Film City.

Film City is located on the West Coast of Qatar in the middle of the dessert, and was used for filming a soap called ‘Ayal Al Theeb’ (Sons of The Wolf) a Qatari soap that was first broadcast in the year 2000. Although no longer used for filming, the location remains, and appears to have people living there and maintaining it.

So last Friday the three of us set out from Doha in the direction of Dukhan. We were being guided by Google Maps, and it turns out that is a big mistake. Apparently there is a much better route which involves going to Zekreet and then on from there. But that is something we have learned since making the trip.

Anyway once we got there we found a very well maintained small compound. If I had not been told it was a film set, I would never have guessed. Personally I found nothing of interest there, and just snapped off some shots on my phone to prove I had finally done it. We weren’t keen to hang around because the wind was blowing like mad, and it was blooming freezing. For me this was worse because I was dressed like it was still summer, something I really regretted. Bri and Vic had dressed a little more appropriately, but even they were cold.

There is a little shop there where you can buy drinks and snacks, but we were keen to get away as soon as possible.

Once back in the car we decided to take in another point of interest located nearby. We actually drove past EAST-WEST / WEST-EAST BY RICHARD SERRA on the way to Film City, but decided to go and see it on our way back. This piece of dessert art was of much greater interest to me, and made the trip worthwhile in my opinion.


All in all, a nice ride out. We left Doha around 12 noon, and were back around 6pm including a stop in the Mall of Qatar to get supplies on the way there, and a much needed coffee beak on the way back in Mc Donalds Dukhan.

Would I do it again? Nope! Once done, it’s done.


So back on October 24th 2015 I announced that I had saved a whopping QR 5,198 by flying Cebu Pacific instead of Qatar Airways Click Here To Read. And as promised I am now writing about how that worked out for me.

Well the first thing to disclose is that I messed up my online booking with Cebu Pacific and erroneously failed to pay for any luggage. I thought I had, I was sure I had. But for some unknown reason I did not. Something that I fortunately spotted before flying thus avoiding outrageously priced excess baggage fees during check in.

Having spotted my mistake I was easily able to go online with Cebu Pacific and add as an option 30kg for both my son and I at a total cost of QR 554. Of course this brings my perceived saving of QR 5,198 down to QR 4,644.

Cebu Pacific Check in at Doha Int. Airport

We arrived at the airport 4 hours before departure and began cueing for check in. Oh boy did I regret not checking in online. The cue was insane. However I did notice after cuing for a long time that the dedicated online check in desk could only be accessed having cued in a much longer ‘everyone’ cue first. Which seems a bit strange. Anyway having endured the cursed zig zag cueing, check in was simple and no different from any other airline I have flown with.

We went to the gate 2 hours before departure which was scheduled for 4:15am. Outside the gate there was hardly any seating so hanging around was not very comfortable. And a long cue had formed waiting for the gate to open. At 2:55 we finally made it inside the gate and were able to sit down. At 3:33 we were in the our next cue to board the aircraft. Something triggered everyone to jump up out of their seat and form a cue to board without an announcement telling them to and we joined in. However there must have been a technical problem with the aircraft. Through the window we could see the bridges being withdrawn from the aircraft as though it was departing, then we think they did an engine test or something, then the bridges were moved back into position. The frustrating bit was that there was no announcements advising us as to what was happening.We were in that cue for 1hr 25 mins grrrrr!!!

At 4:58am we finally boarded the plane. At 5:02am we were told they still had paperwork to do (at least they were making announcements now) and at 5:11am we finally pushed back. At 6:34pm (Philippines time) we touched down 19 minutes late. Which wasn’t too bad as we departed an hour late.

Cebu Pacific A330 Seating

There is only one class, economy class. And boy is it economical. The seats were hard with virtually no padding. The legroom seemed the same as on Qatar Airways, but the seats seemed narrower and more tightly packed.

Cebu Pacific A330 Seating

There was no LCD screen and no in flight entertainment. Even after moving to a seat where I had no one sitting next to me I had real trouble getting comfortable. During take off (before I moved seats) I was sat next to my son, and I can tell you now if I had had to stay in that seat for over 9 hours it would have been intolerable. Our elbows were digging into each other and we were fighting for armrest space. That said, later in the flight I noticed quite a few people managed to get to sleep even in such cramped conditions. I was sooooo…. envious of them.

It is possible to sleep on a cramped Cebu Pacific A330 flight

There is no pillow, and no blanket supplied. But they can be bought on the plane, which we did not. And once I was in a seat with no one next to me, I began to settle down and watch movies I had placed on my iPad ready for the trip. Time to order a beer. Oh no! The beer was warm! We had to drink it with ice to reduce the temperature. Not too expensive at P130 (QR 10) but they only had San Miguel Pale Pils, which when diluted with ice made a very weak tasting drink. But they must have put some in the fridge, because by about our 3rd or 4th it had finally started to be served cold. We brought our own supply of spicy snacks to enjoy with our beer.

Cebu Pacific, in flight beer P130 (QR 10, GBP 1.90) a can

I had pre ordered one hot meal and could have opted for a second one as well if I had wanted. Like the seating the meal was also very economical.

Cebu Pacific in flight meal

Beef curry, a chocolate brownie and a small bottle of water for P500 (QR 38). This was paid for in the total ticket price at the time of booking.

Cebu Pacific in flight meal

It was edible but for me not quite enough and I was left feeling like I needed another one. Qatar Airways gives 2 hot meals included in their ticket price, which consist of slightly more in quantity and variety.

Cebu Pacific in flight meal

But in my opinion both airlines offer meals that were similar in quality and taste. And I do remember being highly critical of my last QA in flight meal. There is lots of snacks you can buy off the trolley including noodles, chips etc. at reasonable prices, so there is no need to go hungry. And they don’t mind you bringing meals onto the flight either. I noticed a number of people eating meals they had prepared themselves.

Service was ok. The cabin crew were very similar in performance to QA staff. Nothing notable to comment on there.

Cebu Pacific A330 Seating

Would I fly Cebu Pacific Doha to Manila again? Oh yes! I would have been happier on a Qatar Airways flight. The beer would have probably been colder, the meal slightly larger and the seats more comfortable. Oh and there would have been in flight entertainment and we may have left on time. But would I have been prepared to pay an extra QR 2,322 each (remember total QR saving 4,644) for those improvements? Nope! A 3rd person could have traveled with us with the money we saved and we would have still had cash left over.

Cebu Pacific A330 Seating

The fact it was the Christmas period undoubtedly increase both airlines prices and this makes the saving appear more. Now if the difference in price between the two airlines was less than QR 1,000 it is possible I would be flying with Qatar Airways again.

Cebu Pacific A330 Seating

One last thing. At the moment there are only 2 flights a week each way DOH-MNL-DOH with Cebu Pacific, so your traveling dates are much more restricted. Oh and on the flight back Cebu had no beer!!! What!!!

Cebu Pacific A330 Safety Instruction Card




With little or no drainage on the roads, and buildings that are not that weather proof. When it rains in Qatar, the results are quite severe. Gridlocked roads, and heart breaking property damage.

Obviously today’s rainfall would be a light shower in comparison to what other countries get hit by. But Qatar is normally hot and rain free, so when it does rain, it’s a bad day.

I only have a little car, and I nearly drowned the poor thing going to work today. The engine started to struggle and I decided to try and reverse out rather than try and proceed forwards. And I’m glad I did, I have seen too many images today of cars stranded in the middle of road lakes.

My Little Car Nearly Drowned

At last a swimming pool you can do laps in, instead of lengths.

Flooded Running Track at Al Sadd Sports Club

It was heart breaking to see the awesome Qgym suffering rain damage. I love the place so much, and to see it in such a mess made me so sad.

Qgym Affected By Heavy Rain

Checkout Doha News for a more comprehensive story on today’s rain.



So after over 6 years here in Qatar, I have finally made it to the Inland Sea. Not having an all terrain vehicle has meant I could never make the trip myself, and I never got around to going on one of the paid tours of the areMap with Inland Sea marked highlighted ita.

A friend in church (Kevin) goes there every weekend after the service. He has been inviting me for quite some time to join him, but to date I haven’t taken him up on the offer. However last Friday I decided I would go along for the ride. I figured it would be a good opportunity to release some of the stress I am under at the moment.

Two other members of the church, a lovely couple called Edna and Bob also decided to come along for the trip. And as soon as we had finished some light snacks in the church canteen we headed out. To our complete surprise, and in complete contrast to when we entered the church, when we exited we were met with a thunderstorm. Now that was a surprise indeed. We asked Kevin if the trip was still on, and he said indeed it was, but because of the lightning we would have to be careful where we park when we got to the Inland Sea.

It was quite a road trip down to the edge of the desert. The wind was blowing a gale, there was a sandstorm and occasionally very heavy rain. There was loud thunder and lightning kicking off all over the place.

Bad weather on the way to Inland Sea
Bad weather on the way to Inland Sea

Once at Mesaieed we pulled into a Woqod petrol station for Kevin to let air out of his tires and for all of us to take a bathroom break and grab a coffee. Only there was no coffee as the coffee machine was broken doh! It also gave my travelling companions the opportunity to pop into the bathrooms and change out of their church clothes. Something I didn’t have to do because I am one of those people that doesn’t dress up for church, and I was already in my shorts.

Then down to Sealine where the road ends and off into the desert we go. And that’s when the rain stopped 🙂

Going off road at Sealine
Going off road at Sealine

We drove a lot of the way on the salt flats, that were quicker but not very exciting. However I managed to snap a few images of some nice sand dunes along the way.

Sand dunes at Sealine
Sand dunes at Sealine

Sand dunes at Sealine

Then we arrived at what Kevin described as the Inland Sea Inlet. Kevin also mentioned that it has been known for unscrupulous tour operators to tell their clients that this is the Inland Sea and that’s as far as they go. When in fact it’s just where the Inland Sea begins.

Inland Sea Inlet

With the sun starting to go down, this was very pleasant. And we could see 4×4’s driving around the dunes in the distance next to the inlet. The bad weather on the way down was now nowhere to be seen.


Then off we went again heading further south towards the Inland Sea. Along the way we came across a ‘Dune Bashing’ casualty. Dune Bashing is one of the favourite weekend pastimes here in Qatar, and many 4×4 owners head into the desert to bash the desert. Climbing, rounding and descending dunes for thrills. But sometimes they get it wrong and end up wrecking their car.

We came across these guys shortly after getting a decent wrong. Kevin explained that this particular dune is actually named ‘The Stopper’. Sometimes weather changes the base of the dune into a shape that if you come down too fast will quite literally stop you in your tracks. And that is exactly what had just happened to these poor chaps.

The Stopper claims another victim
The Stopper claims another victim

We drove up to them and enquired if they were ok, and if they needed any help. They did not, and in fact were calling in for assistance from their friends at that very moment. Then we were a little bit un-feeling by taking photographs of their miserable situation. Which I’m sure must of been a little irritating for them.


They had blown out both of their front tiers and sustained some front end damage, but fortunately no one was hurt. However in the past this very dune ‘The Stopper’ had cost lives when people got it wrong. And we could see car parts strewn around from previous mishaps.

Then off we went again. Along the way, there was numerous vehicles passing in either direction.

Kevin Driving
Kevin Driving

Traffic in the desert
Traffic in the desert

We could see in the distance the inlet to the Inland Sea once more. The sun was starting do sink quite quickly now.

Sunset heading to the Inland Sea
Sunset heading to the Inland Sea

We paused near the inlet to take in the view, and I grabbed a group shot with Saudi just visible in the background.

Desert adventurers

Then we dropped back down to the salt flats to continue down to the Inland Sea.

On the Salt Flats
On the Salt Flats

There was a brief stop on the flats while I snapped a couple more shots of the inlet.


On the Salt Flats
On the Salt Flats

I discovered it’s not that safe to leave the vehicle to take snaps of bushes growing out of the side of sand dunes when a cavalcade of 4×4’s came charging around the corner while taking this one. On this occasion we were in no danger as they spotted us early. But it brought home to me the fact that without warning a dune bashing 4×4 could suddenly appear over or arround a dune and flatten me.

Sand Dune

Dune Bashing

Then off we went for the final drive to the Inland Sea. Speeding along through the desert with the sun reflecting off the Inland Sea in the distance. My camera hanging out of the window shooting the spectacular scene.

Sunset at the Inland Sea
Sunset at the Inland Sea

And finally we arrive. Just as the sun is about to disappear.

Sunset at the Inland Sea
Sunset at the Inland Sea

Wow what a sight! Absolutely beautiful. Cars parked around the coast, people swimming, picnicking and just unwinding in the wonderful place. We headed to the top of a dune and setup base camp there.

Base Camp

Then settled back to watch the watch the sun finally say good night with some nice snacks and drinks.

Sunset at Inland Sea
Afternoon Tea with a View

Once the sun was gone, the noise of engines in the distance began to reduce and finally for the most part stop. The stars came out, and we just sat and told stories and enjoyed each others excellent company in almost complete darkness and silence. What a fabulous excursion.

Thank you Kevin for driving us, and thank you Bob and Edna for being such fabulous companions on this wonderful trip.

Ok, this is my first time in a long time that I have been in an airport without lounge access. But you know what, it’s not that bad. I am sat comfortably in a nice food court with a splendid view out onto the pad. The variety of food is extensive and not that expensive. Ok it’s not free like in the lounges, but the selection is way, way better and so is the view.

 There is plenty of seating, with a nice hastle free atmosphere. The seating isn’t much different to that available in the lounges (unless you are travelling First Class), and in many respects is actualy better. I have always found the lounges here in HIA to be dark and depressing. It’s light and vibrant here in the food court.

As regards food, there are many options. Pasta, noodles, sandwiches, pizza, Burger King etc. And I have just spotted a very decent 6 item breakfast for QR 26, although that wasn’t in this food court that was in a restaurant called Marche. You would need a second mortgage to afford a breakfast in Heathrow.


Burger King here is excellent value with a Double Whopper Meal costing just QR 29 (USD 7.97). Not much more than the high street in Qatar.

Burger King in HIA Doha Qatar
Burger King in HIA Doha Qatar

Reasonable prices in Burger King in HIA Qatar

The shopping in the HIA is excellent with plenty to keep your mind busy while you wait for your gate to open. The thing is I used to turn up here, and go direct to my lounge and stay there until my gate was open. And that was a huge mistake. Man I used to get so bored. Down here there is much more to do and see, the food is better and it’s much more spacious. I’m not missing the lounge at all today.

I lost my lounge access because I haven’t flown enough this year to re-qualify for Qatar Airways Silver Membership. And although my Qatar Airways co-branded Mastercard gives me free lounge access throughout the region, incredibly it doesn’t here in Qatar. How crazy is that? And I found my Priority Pass to be a waste of money on the routes I am flying.

Right that’s enough about HIA, next blog will be from Manila while I am killing time in Terminal 3.

So this morning I lost my Silver Status, and was informed by the following email:-

Dear MrCANDY,  As a valued Privilege Club member, we are writing to advise you of a change in your membership status.  Your membership status has been renewed at our Burgundy level.

At first I was major disappointed, but then I though fair enough, I haven’t traveled enough this year to deserve it, I will be flying long haul another 2 times this year and that should get me back up to silver again.

But then I thought how disappointed I was with my Silver Membership, and questioned if it was worth the extra money to stay loyal to Qatar Airways, or if I would be better off switching to lower cost airlines and enjoying the extra money instead.


I got an upgrade to business class when I flew to the Philippines last Christmas, and that was awesome. But most of the time the only real benefit is lounge access at the airport. And to be honest the Silver Lounge in Qatar is nothing like as good as those in Dubai, and the lounge in Manila is pathetic and not really worth anything at all.

Al Maha Lounge Hamad Int. Airport Doha

Now that Cebu Pacific have started flying direct to the Philippines from Doha, I’m seriously considering flying with them. If I still had my Silver membership I would most certainly stay with QA, But now I’m more tempted to save around QR 1,500 (£265 or 18,559 Pesos) and sit with my fellow peasants in the public departures area, and not worry about trying to regain my Silver status. Especially now that Manila has refurbished their departures facilities at T1, and it has better food than the lounges do. I can do a lot with QR 1,500 it may be time to switch to Cebu Pacific.

PAGSS Lounge T1 Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA Airport
PAGSS Lounge T1 Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport or NAIA Airport