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Friday, June 25, 2021

Qatar officials offer airport tips ahead of summer rush

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Chris Hoare / Flickr
Chris Hoare / Flickr

As the school year wraps up and one of Qatar’s busiest travel seasons kicks off, authorities have issued advice to residents to ensure their journeys go more smoothly.

In a series of Twitter messages using the hashtag #SafeTravel, the Ministry of Interior has said that preparation is the key to trouble-free traveling, adding that Hamad International Airport (HIA) will see a surge in demand as the annual summer getaway begins.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Tips included advising residents to ensure they have all the necessary documents for their trip, and that they are valid. This includes passports, visas, airplane tickets and exit permits. Residents should also make sure their residency permits won’t expire while they are on vacation.

Both expats and Qataris can convert their Qatar ID cards into E-gate cards, which allows travelers to fast-track what can be long queues at the airport’s immigration at this time of year, while also avoiding getting their passports filled up with stamps.

E-gate cards can be obtained at the immigration department in Madinat Khalifa for a fee starting at QR200, if residents bring their existing ID card and passport.

If your airline permits, check-in online in advance. Most carriers allow travelers to book seats in advance and order meal preferences, including children’s meals.

To avoid lengthy delays at the airport with overweight luggage, check the weight restrictions and size limits for check-in and carry-on bags for your airline in advance.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Some travel shops sell baggage weighing scales, which allow for re-packing at home rather than at the airport check-in line.

If you know your luggage will be overweight, check if your airline allows you to pre-buy additional luggage allowance. It’s usually cheaper and easier in advance than trying to arrange it at the airport.

The MOI’s final tip includes taking Doha’s traffic into account. With Ramadan underway, peak times for road congestion have changed, so build in extra travel time.

Parking reminders

Residents driving their own car to the airport should remember that HIA introduced long-term parking fees at the end of April.

The prices are as follows:

  • Each hour or any part thereof will be QR2 each;
  • The cost is QR45 for every completed 24 hours; and
  • A lost ticket will cost QR35 in addition to the actual tariff for the duration of parking.

Passengers transfer from the parking lot to the airport terminal by a free shuttle-bus, which runs around every 15-20 minutes.

Long term parking at Hamad International Airport
Long term parking at Hamad International Airport

However, there is limited luggage storage on the bus and on its website, HIA advises travelers “arrive well in advance to the long-term car park to avoid any incidents or delays.”

For quick pick-ups, the multi-story short-term parking lot is next to the airport terminal. The first 30 minutes are free, and then costs QR5 for each hour or part-hour after that, which must be pre-paid in the machines before you leave the parking lot.

For those traveling over the next few weeks during Ramadan, cafes and restaurants in and around the check-in areas will be closed during fasting hours. However, eateries and lounges are operating normally throughout the day once passengers clear immigration and passport control, HIA said.

Do you have any more tips for travelers this summer? Thoughts?

18 COMMENTS

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Rahma
Rahma
5 years ago

Fly safe #summerishere

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

They should change the name of the airport and remove the international bit, it’s not international you can’t get a drink in the lounges now! It doesn’t cater for all people traveling and discriminates. You get served drinks on the plane but not on the ground. That makes no sense.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

in fact it’s pathetic

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

shame. you’ll survive, don’t worry

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

It’s my freedom of choice that is being eroded. I don’t want to be forced to follow someone else’s beliefs

TheArabG
TheArabG
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Then don’t come yeah?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  TheArabG

Then don’t build an international airport and market it as such

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Deleting for getting off track.

Chilidog
Chilidog
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Hamad Islamic Airport just doesn’t have the same cachet, does it?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

That would certainly hit business. Europeans especially would avoid it as a hub

Chipper fluffypants
Chipper fluffypants
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think you missed part of the article. The only place you can’t get food or drink is before passport control. Otherwise you can eat all you want once inside the terminals and lounges. That’s where most of food is anyway.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

No I get that, they have banned alcohol in the lounges, enforcing their beliefs on others. Shameful.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
5 years ago

most of the times the E-Gate does not work…..so many times I have arrived to the e-gate and finding most people fighting with the scanner

Huzz
Huzz
5 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Very true so here is a tip on the egate that they don’t tell you: Put your rp/passport or ticket in as far as it will go into the scanner and then remove your hand. Wait for the two flashes and then you should be told to remove the doc. This should work.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
5 years ago
Reply to  Huzz

good to know thanks!

Chilidog
Chilidog
5 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

So true! Same with the eye scanners in the regular passport control area. It’s nice to have flashy equipment, but you have to maintain it too.

Al Kohol
Al Kohol
5 years ago

“A lost ticket will cost QR35 in addition to the actual tariff for the duration of parking.”

Okay so basically they know how long you parked, but they still print tickets because they hate the environment and they do charge you when you lose that important ticket…

Oracle
Oracle
5 years ago

1) Residents should also make sure their employment contracts won’t expire while they are on vacation
2) Residents are strongly encoraged to check with their current employer for any redundancy plans

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