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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.

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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
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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.

NOTE: It’s no longer free to park in the long stay. Now it’s QR 2 per hour, QR 45 per 24 hour.

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Here is a video to help you find the Long Stay

Directions to HIA Long Stay Car Park Video
Two min Video Directions

And here are step by step instructions

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 1
1) Move into the left lane

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 2
2) Turn left

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 3
3) Turn left again

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 4
4) Yes this left turn 😉

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 5
5) Stay in the left lane and then filter turn left

HIA Long Stay Car Park Directions 6
6) You have reached your destination 😀

Long Stay Car Park is still free at the time of writing this article. Now catch a shuttle bus and enjoy your flight.

Whereas most airports will go nuts if they catch you taking photographs, the new Hamad International Airport #HIAqatar positively encourage it.

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It was great to see so many things of interest to photograph, and so many people photographing them.

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Plenty of space for families to settle, both official

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and unofficial

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Great areas to keep kids happy

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and grownups too

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This truly is like no airport I have come across anywhere else

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with big art

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big spaces

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and nobody hassling you for taking photos

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and just a little work still going on

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And if I had longer, there would be loads more images. Well done Qatar! This airport is truly magnificent!

So here I am sat in the brand new shiny Hamad International Airport Qatar. I’m glad I took the time to come here this afternoon in advance of this evening’s flight to figure out the Long stay airport parking. I left home in Abu Hamour tonight and was parked in a space in the airport within 30 minutes hassle free.

Once in a parking space in was a tiny walk to the bus pickup point where a bus was ready and waiting. A very helpful chap assisted me by popping my baggage onto the bus for me and within minuets we were on our way to the bus terminal which is just a short hop away.

On arrival at the bus terminal the same nice chap took my baggage back off the bus and set it down outside for me. Yes he did work for the airport and he wasn’t just a nice bloke who enjoyed carrying people’s luggage. Then a short walk from the bus into the main terminal which wasn’t much fun. I was a bit laden with heavy luggage and there wasn’t a trolley in sight. Although the walk from the bus to terminal was short, I was struggling and this was made worse because there were a million airport workers for me to battle my way through to get to the terminal doors. The workers use this bus terminal as well and they all seemed relieved to have finished work or something and were in groups chatting while I was on a mission to get past them. This was mildly frustrating but not the end of the world. Then up two sets of escalators to departures.

In departures there were loads of helpful staff, who politely and quickly guided me to my check in desk. Only one person in front of me, and I was checked in by a beautiful Filipina who cheerfully got me a decent seat and I was on my way to passport control in no time.

E-Gate tastic! I love my E-Gate card, no cue, but a slightly more complicated E-Gate mechanism meant even a technical guru like me need help. And the guy who was there to help struggled a bit as well, but it’s a million times better than the manual option and was over in minutes.

Security was no better and no worse than the old airport. No cue really, just the usual inconvenience of security doing their job ensuring we travel safely.

Yay! Now for the Oryx Lounge. I steam off at full speed to locate the Oryx only to find that my expensive Priority Pass wasn’t valid in the new airport Oryx Lounge, and apparently Priority Pass’s lounge won’t be ready until September! OMG!!! No Lounge Access!!! I am not happy with Priority Pass and they are going to be getting a stiff letter from me shortly.

So here I am, sat in Burger King on a hard bench seat eating a Double Whopper Meal for QR 29. Having paid USD 250 for my priority pass 🙁 But hey at least there is free WiFi here. Oh and Burger King need some more staff. Only two servers operating caused about 10 minutes of cue, which was too long for someone who was supposed to be in a nice comfortable lounge by this point.

Right….. of to take a look around

IMPORTANT! Click this > Click HERE for updated version of these directions

NOTE: It’s no longer free to park in the long stay. Now it’s QR 2 per hour, QR 45 per 24 hour.

HIA Long Stay Car Park Rates

For some unknown reason HIA don’t want you to know where their Long Stay Car Park is. But I sneeked in there this afternoon and drove around and around until I figured it out. So…. here is the secret they don’t want you to know:-

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Look for the yellow “High Vehicles” signs. These are what you will need to follow.

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Follow that yellow “High Vehicles Exit” sign and go first left on the very left. Do not follow any of the signs to the car parks as they are all short stay.

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Keep following the yellow signs, keeping right this time.

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you will take a 90 degree left bend and then go straight ahead.

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When you reach this sign, don’t go right for the exit, turn left.

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Your there…. YAY!!!

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Free Long Stay Car Park at HIA

Now head for the big ‘J’ this seems to be where they are picking up from.

Hamad International Airport, Long Stay Shuttle Bus

Oh by the way, Long Stay is free still at the moment!

I will let you know more after I have tried this out tonight.

So at last I am looking forward to visiting Hamad International Airport as a flying customer instead of a press photographer. On previous visits only security were there to keep us company. So tonight I am so looking forward to seeing this beautiful building in use. To see the blocked off areas that were inaccessible to me earlier, and to see how passengers interact with the environment.

HIA Pre Opening
Image of Hamad International Airport terminal before it opened

I hope my  Priority Pass will be valid, as I believe not all lounges are open, and those that are have been reassigned for the business and first class customers (I am just a meager economy class peasant). But I will report back here with my findings later tonight.