Visitor beware, there isn’t much luxury to be found at the First Class Lounge at Doha’s Hamad airport. The club, operated by Qatar Airways on behalf of their oneworld partners, is home to oneworld Emerald status guests traveling in Economy, as well as passengers ticketed in First Class on any oneworld airline. Non-status passengers can also buy their way in at the door.
The true First Class Lounge, the Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge, is the exclusive territory of Qatar Airway’s own First Class customers. In other words, Qatar’s flagship airline relegates customers flying on partner airlines to a much more modest facility.
To reach the First Class Lounge, take the escalator up to the mezzanine level to the left of the Teddy Bear. The club shares a lobby with the adjacent Business Class Lounge for Sapphire guests.
Qatar Airways First Class Lounge DOH design
Physically, the First Class lounge at Doha’s Hamad airport is elegant and serene. Located on a mezzanine overlooking the Teddy Bear, the L-shaped club incorporates design features such as a living wall, dim lighting, and cathedral ceilings. The décor is both elegant and functional, with a variety of seating options including a dining area and TV zone, numerous power points, and a fair amount of privacy.
Unfortunately, while the open mezzanine concept brings a breezy atmosphere, it also means that the lounge is painfully noisy. The bright LED screens in the concourse atrium are also a disturbance. The constant crowding is the nail in the coffin: the club is inadequate for a global hub of the scale of Doha airport. Seats are scarce at peak times, and power outlets are in high demand.
It’s not like Qatar’s flagship airport lacks real estate—the Al Mourjan and Al Safwa lounges for Qatar Airways‘ premium customers are some of the largest airline clubs in the world. Simply, oneworld partner airlines are second-class citizens at an airport that is dominated and run by the home carrier Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways First Class Lounge DOH amenities
The First Class Lounge at Doha’s Hamad airport, operated by Qatar Airways on behalf of oneworld carriers, features a set of essential amenities.
The food spread, replenished 24 hours a day, consists of mini-sandwiches, salads, soups, pastries, a few hot entrees, and sweets. The food is adequate but unremarkable, and certainly not in line with the First Class moniker.
The drink selection includes Evian bottled water, soda, and espresso, as well as a few white and red wines, and Champagne. There is no bar service, nor does the lounge offer liquor, spirits, or cocktails of any kind.
The First Class Lounge includes a more secluded nap area with cube chairs and recliners. The space provides just enough privacy for weary travelers, but the lack of proper flat sleeping surfaces is an impediment to restful sleep.
Families benefit from the best accommodations with two separate rooms with couches, a TV, and space for children to stretch out. Should they happen to be available, the family rooms are ultimately the best places for a nap.
The well-appointed bathrooms are constantly staffed and refreshed, and come with several changing rooms and shower rooms.
The lounge does not provide a dedicated Wi-Fi access point, but guests can use the airport’s public network. However, the connection process is a bit cumbersome and requires positive authentication through an SMS message or a Qatar Airways flight confirmation number. Overall, the lounge provides little space to work comfortably, and there are no business facilities such as computers or printers.
Other amenities include a smoking room, a prayer room, and a selection of newspapers and magazines.
Qatar Airways First Class Lounge DOH bottom line
The First Class Lounge at Doha airport for oneworld carriers was designed to honor the spirit of the oneworld rules, which, on paper, grant Emerald status passengers access to First Class lounges. In practice, the First Class Lounge is effectively a contract lounge for oneworld elites that masquerades as a premium facility.
Physically, the space has many intrinsic qualities, and the club would be rather pleasant were it less crowded and quieter. Unfortunately, it routinely operates at capacity, even at odd hours.
The amenities cover the essentials with hot food, shower, and a sleeping room, but fail to impress for a First Class lounge.
Qatar Airways’ Business Class customers should visit the far superior Al Mourjan Business Lounge instead, while First Class customers should revel in the delights of the Al Safwa First Lounge. For everybody else, it’s best to arrive at the airport as late as possible. Passengers bound for the US should also leave the club early in order to go through additional security screening at their gate.
You may have access to Qatar Airways First Class Lounge as a premium customer of one of the following airlines, or as an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Check the Access rules tab for more details.
Access for eligible customers traveling on any oneworld member airline.
American Airlines (AA) British Airways (BA) Cathay Dragon (KA) Cathay Pacific (CX) Finnair (AY) Iberia (IB) Japan Airlines (JL) LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ) LATAM Airlines Chile (LA) Malaysia Airlines (MH) Qantas (QF) Qatar Airways (QR) Royal Jordanian (RJ) S7 Airlines (S7) SriLankan (UL)
The Qatar Airways First Class Lounge at Doha airport welcomes the following passengers:
- First Class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by Qatar Airways or another oneworld carrier (+1 guest.)
- Business Class passengers departing on a same-day flight operated by Qatar Airways or another oneworld carrier (no guests.)
- Qatar Guest Privilege Platinum members departing on a same-day flight operated by Qatar Airways or another oneworld carrier (+2 guests if booked with Qatar Airways, +1 guest with all other oneworld airlines)
- oneworld Emerald members departing on a same-day flight operated by a onecarrier in any class of service (+1 guest.)
- Economy Class passengers, for 300 Qatari Riyals.
Note that Qatar Airways' own First Class customers may use the vastly superior Al Safwa First Class Lounge.