I love Doha’s 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. However if you aren’t a resident or you are travelling with children under nine then you can’t use this system. As much as I love Doha airport there are some real peak times to travel such as around the Eids and at Christmas when the queues at security and customs etc can get crazy! This is where the Al Maha Services Meet and Greet comes in. The Al Maha Service works for both arrivals and departures and I have been a frequent user of the service so in this guide I will give you my honest Al Maha Services Review!
What do you get using Al Maha Services at Departures in Hamad International Airport, Doha
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 were snaking round the barriers.
Once we had completed luggage drop and check in we then proceeded to the Al Maha Lounge.
Al Maha Lounge Doha Review (Departures)
What surprised me about the Al Maha lounge Doha was that it was landside. I don’t know why but I had expected the Al Maha to be airside somewhere near the business class lounge but this wasn’t the case.
The lounge has some light refreshments such as cakes, fruits, dates and sandwiches and has plenty of beverages to choose from. There is ample seating in the lounge and whenever I have used the Al Maha transit lounge Doha we have been pretty much the only people in there.
When it is approaching the gate opening time for your flight an Al Maha Representative will collect you and have a dedicated customs official come into the lounge where they will clear you. From there you will be escorted to security.
Given how smooth the process of the Al Maha Service was up until this point I was surprised that there was no dedicated line for the security clearance. However you are taken directly to the scanners so although there is a bit of wait it isn’t too long.
What do you get using Al Maha Services Arrivals Doha 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.
If you haven’t got the platinum services level Al Maha Meet and Greet you will have to make you way to Immigration on your own. You descend an escalator into the immigration zone and at the bottom go to the right end of the customs hall (as you are looking at the immigration desks). There will be Al Maha representatives there to check you in.
Al Maha services has a dedicated al Maha lounge in immigration which is a very comfortable place to sit and wait to clear customs. Sorry there aren’t any photos but this is a customs area and I didn’t want to risk taking any shots.
Once you are in the lounge, the Al Maha Meet and Greet representative will take your passport away and put start the visa processing for you. All you have to do is sit in the lounge with coffee and without concerns for queues.
There are immigration agents in the lounge and will check you through.
As I was platinum level I waited in the lounge until my bags had been collected. If you are gold level or below then you will clear customs but collect your own bags. There are always porters available at Doha Hamad International Airport if you require them though.
Things to know about Al Maha Services for Frequent Flyers
If you hold a Qatar Airways Gold or Platinum Loyalty Card check your membership benefits as you may be entitled to so many free al Maha Meet and Greet Services a year.
Al maha services Doha cost
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. Either way it’s a great option for clearing customs when travelling economy with Qatar Airways!
Overall Al Maha Services Review
Having used al Maha Services several time I have to say that it is a great service and if I am travelling through hammed at peak times again I would definitely use it agin for both departures and arrivals. I would also recommend it for those who perhaps aren’t frequent travellers or perhaps have a lot of luggage as it really does take the stress out of travelling through Hamad Interational Airport.
Further Information on Visiting Qatar
And if you don’t have accommodation booked never fear as our ultimate guide to where to stay in Doha is the only thing you need to read!
Have you ever used the Al Maha Service at Hamad International Airport? How was it?
Further Reading on Qatar:
What to do with Kids in Qatar
Qatar’s Most Beautiful Places
Hidden Gems in Qatar Public Beaches in Qatar