Airport Review: Hamad International Airport, Doha


Hamad International Airport (DOH)


QR70 from Frankfurt, economy class; QR909 to Sydney, economy class


Hamad International has just been crowned the best airport in the world by Skytrax for the second year in a row, so you’d expect things to be pretty wonderful when you get here, and overall they are. No annoying security check at the entrance to the terminal: at Hamad, you get off the plane and you are straight in the main hall, walking around, taking everything. (Or at least you would be if your plane, like mine, wasn’t parked on the tarmac somewhere that required a bus transfer.)


Hamad International is frequently praised for its modern and spacious design, and it’s no surprise that this entire facility is less than 10 years old. Perhaps the most memorable part of the Hamad look is the inclusion of several large-scale art installations, including “Lamp Bear”, a giant yellow bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, and “The Playground”, a series of bronze sculptures that double as children’s play equipment. There is only one terminal in Hamad, with five concourses, which makes navigation easy.


Like many passengers visiting Hamad International, I am transiting here, arriving from Frankfurt and boarding a flight to Sydney a few hours later, so I do not need to use the airport check-in facilities .


One of the benefits of transiting through Hamad is that you’re not immediately queuing for security and re-screening everything just checked on the other end of your flight. Here you walk straight into the lobby and then there is a small wait, maybe 10 minutes or so, to go through security to get into my gate.


For the world’s largest airport, Hamad International isn’t exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to dining – certainly not compared to, say, Tokyo Haneda or Singapore Changi. There are a few upscale sit-down restaurants and two food courts, one in the main mall (near Lamp Bear) and the other at the end of Concourse C. I opt for one of the few traditional, local dishes available here: lamb shank machboos from Azka, in the main food court, which cost me the unholy sum (for the food you eat with plastic cutlery) of about $40 . Still, it tastes good.


No shortage of places to spend big at Hamad International. Walk through the main mall with a credit card in hand and you might find yourself the new owner of Dolce and Gabbana clothes, Bulgari jewelry, a Hublot watch, a pair of Jimmy Choos, a Mont Blanc pen and a Hermès bag to store everything. Or you can just go to the duty free shops and feed your face chocolates and sweets.


There is free Wi-Fi in Hamad and a myriad of power outlets to charge devices. Don’t have a phone or laptop? The airport also has several free-to-use desktop computers. Alternatively, you can rent a “Sleep Pod” or hotel room for a nap, relax in a “Quiet Room”, book in for a massage or shower, or head to the Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Center (fee entrance fee QAR175, or AU$70), and use the swimming pool, gym, shower room and even a squash court.


The best airport in the world? Hamad International is certainly up there. Personally, I prefer Haneda over Tokyo – which came in second in Skytrax’s recent announcement – ​​due to its superior food offering, but the Doha Transit Center offers a modern and stylish experience. There are downsides, however, and a high-profile incident in October 2020, in which several women were removed by Hamad officials from a flight to Sydney and forced to undergo a medical examination to determine if they had recently given birth. , will persist for a long time in some memories.



Ben Groundwater traveled as a guest of Emerald Cruises,

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