I love Doha’s relatively new Hamad International Airport. It is leaps and bounds ahead of its old airport and is one of my favourite airports in the world. It has some interesting art, great lounges and some cool architecture. But perhaps what I loved most about it was its efficient E-gate system – a virtually instantaneous entry and exit system for residents. So when Baby E arrived, and E-gate was no longer an option for us there was a part of me that felt sad but also nervous. There are many peak travel times in Doha, i.e. Eid. I couldn’t face long queues at security and customs when entering and leaving the country so when I found out about Al Maha Doha Meet and Greet service for both Arrivals and Departures I couldn’t wait to try it out.
What do you get using Al Maha at Departures Hamad International Airport
The first and second time we tried Al Maha for Departures was at the beginning of each of the Eid public holidays (Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha). This exodus of expats is the equivalent of leaving your Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve on Oxford Street! Therefore I was desperate to beat the queues.
We were met at the airport entrance by a lovely Al Maha Representative who ushered us to the dedicated Al Maha Luggage Drop. This was a five minute exercise when other queues, even for platinum card holders was snaking round the barriers.
We then proceeded to the Al Maha Lounge. What surprised me about the lounge was that it was landside. Inside we cleared customs and could wait there until we decided to proceed to the aircraft. We waited so we could try and get Baby E off to sleep. The lounge was actually very quiet but lacking dark spaces so we resorted to hiding behind pillars to try and get Baby E off to sleep. Once we had, we both enjoyed a lovely cappuccino.
When it was time, we left the lounge. The only issue was there is no dedicated security line for Al Maha, though you do jump to the scanners so waiting isn’t too long. The representative then takes you to your gate. Simple!
What do you get using Al Maha at Arrivals Hamad International Airport
Since we had such a good experience at Departures, I was expecting no less for arrivals when I arrived back in Doha with the Baby on my own . We had the platinum service so we were met off the airplane and there was a golf cart waiting to take us to immigration. This was good as it was actually quite a walk which may have been difficult for me on my own with the baby and hand luggage.
Al maha has a dedicated lounge in immigration. Your passports are taken away and visas etc processed for you while you sit with coffee and without concerns for queues. Your bags are also collected for you while you wait and once ready you proceed to the arrivals lounge to meet taxi etc.
So would I use again? Absolutely, as a Gold Card holder I book this service for every time I leave and arrive at Doha Hamad Airport.
Low Down on the Al Maha Service at Hamad International Airport
Gold Service Arrivals 325QAR
Platinum Service 400 QAR
The service is also available prebooked for gold and platinum Privilege card holders flying Qatar airways in arrivals and departures. The biggest difference between the privilege card and the paid service is that you don’t get the luggage collection service.
You can read more about the specific details of each package here:
For more information on flying qatar airways with a baby try this review by our globetrotters