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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

5 things we’ll miss about Doha Int’l Airport (and 5 things we won’t)

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Doha International Airport

This morning, Qatar has been wrapping up passenger operations at the Doha International Airport, an overcrowded facility that many of us have flown through dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

Before attention shifts completely to the new, state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport, we thought we should pay homage to DIA by listing the five things we’ll miss most about it.

The answers are culled from tweets you sent us yesterday, and from our own experiences. And just to be fair, we’re also adding five things we won’t miss about the old airport.

What we’ll miss:

Doha International Airport

Small size

Though everyone flying through the old airport is taking international trips, which usually require checking in early, passengers could actually arrive an hour or 90 minutes before and still make their flights. Conversely, HIA is advising travelers to show up at least three hours before flying out – which could put a damper on plans for a quick trip to Dubai!

Central location

The old airport was accessible to people coming from the Corniche, or off the expressway and onto D Ring Road, as well as those traveling on Airport Road. HIA is a bit further off the beaten path, past Sharq Village and Spa, and could be considered a trek for many residents – another reason travelers will need to start planning a bit further ahead when preparing to fly out of Doha this year.

Aerial Doha

The view

When flying into DIA, passengers with window seats were often treated to a scenic look of West Bay, with its lit-up skyscrapers, glittering water and overall impressive landscape. However, planes will be changing route to get to the new airport and won’t pass the area so closely, so that view must be consigned to memory.

Premium Terminal at DIA

Premium Terminal

It will be some months before the special lounges for business and first class Qatar Airways passengers will be ready at HIA. In the meantime, premium passengers will have to make do with other airline lounges at the new airport, and these are unlikely to be a match for Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal, which has a spa, private bedrooms and multiple dining options.

Airport

Memories

For many residents, getting off an airplane and breathing in the steamy Doha air at the DIA was our first impression of Qatar. However different our paths are here, all expats – blue collar, white collar, adult, child – shared that same experience.

Whether that impression spawned terror at the new start, excitement, trepidation or all of the above, that memory – and how far we’ve come since then – is now safely ensconced in the nostalgia bank.

What we (really) won’t miss

Traffic

Parking/pickup

Despite recently installing a new parking structure at the Arrivals terminal, pickup there is still an exercise in chaos management. Parking at HIA is expected to be plentiful – and for now, free!

Doha International Airport

The buses

We won’t miss being packed liked sardines into smelly, swaying shuttles that take ages to transport us from our gates to our airplanes, and vice-versa. The experience may have been an adventure in and of itself, but one we’re happy to leave behind.

Doha International Airport

Trying to get home

Arriving to Doha after a long-haul flight, the last thing a bleary-eyed traveler wants to see is a long line of similarly impatient people standing in an immigration queue. The much bigger HIA promises a much smoother experience. Fingers crossed!

Doha International Airport

Standing up all the time

Months ago, a senior DIA official acknowledged that the facility was on its last leg, straining under the growing passenger traffic it was never built to handle. The crowding at terminals and gates were a testament to the problem, as there was often nowhere to sit while waiting for a flight to start boarding. At HIA, there are rows and rows of gleaming seats ready to be used.

Doha International Airport

Lack of food and shopping options

DIA’s subpar food court has been serving the same subpar meals for years, with the injection of a few new eateries in recent times. HIA’s offerings will include some 30 cafes and 70 shops selling clothes, electronics and gourmet food (so far we see a WH Smith, . Let’s hope the prices are right!

Here’s what you told us on Twitter about DIA:

Farewell, DIA! Thoughts?

13 COMMENTS

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Bursin
Bursin
6 years ago

Nothing about that airport will be missed.

Huw Nicholas
Huw Nicholas
6 years ago

Will certainly miss departures being a 5 minute walk from work and that usually you only needed to arrive a shortly before your flight.

DB
DB
6 years ago

Definitely will miss taking two minutes to get through immigration and security. Definitely won’t miss the buses! Flew into the new airport last weekend and it was wonderful to just walk off the plane and be in the airport.

Brian Candy
Brian Candy
6 years ago

I loved the fact that I could practically park right outside the departures terminal, walk a few meters into the building and check in within 10 minuets. I am going to miss that. Oh come on…. I hated school, but now I look back on that fondly, how long before I start reading tweets about how bad HIA is, and how much better DIA was in the old days?

Michael Stephens
Michael Stephens
6 years ago

99% of us never used the Premium Terminal at DIA….so it’s hardly a thing to be missed.

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

Traveled through the Premium Terminal a few times, it’s probably one of the best in the world I’ve experienced, but it too was also getting very crowded!

I’m looking forward to flying through HIA soon, pictures look fab!

Jimjam
Jimjam
6 years ago
Reply to  Restie

I have done it a couple of times too – I struggled to find anywhere to sit and there was no Wi-Fi in the main lounge. I had to go to the Buiness Centre. There were more seats and WiFi in the non-premium terminal as fas as I could gather.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Too true, but you see 99% of us don’t matter! So the 1% put out by the lack of the finest sri lanken tea being specially brewed with dusts of gold in solid platinum, diamond encrusted tea pots, then being served in pure gold and ruby stone tea cups, matter and wont be happy having to watch my sort knock down 4 Heinikens straight from the can in the Oryx Lounge! ;-0

Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

I will miss the 80s dia…then the 90s dia and then the 2ks dia…end of an era….welcome hia

Shaiju
6 years ago

and that red neon lighting written “Family Food Center” – will be missed

dubious
dubious
6 years ago

I hope they remember it’s an airport, not another mall with some planes parked out back.
Please tell me it’s not another idiotic ‘no-announce’ airport?

AJ
AJ
6 years ago

No, I would not miss this airport at all. Good riddance is what I would say.

wirehead
wirehead
6 years ago
Reply to  AJ

nah, it thought i would say that too but since i flew from and to the new airport last week, the really long walks to and from the gates made me miss the old airport. fine, there are travellators but the time and distance one needs to travel to get to immigration made me wish i still got on a bus that brings me just a few steps in front of passport control.

the new oryx lounge was nice. it has macs if you want internet and a quiet room. not as many seats as the old lounge though. however, i’m not sure if it could handle the crowds once high season kicks in.

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