Connecting at Doha - Complimentary city tour by Qatar Airways
Connecting flights via Hamad International Airport can be fun. Any Qatar Airways passenger with a connection of over 5 hours is eligible for the the free Doha city tour, allowing them to see the Pearl-Qatar, Katara Cultural village, Souq Waqif, Museum of Islamic Art.
The tours start at 8AM, 11AM, 4PM and 8PM. During the Ramadan days, the departure times are a bit different. Once you land at Hamad International Airport in Doha, you need to visit the Doha free city tour kiosk, located in the transit area, and sign up. If you intend to do the city tours, you are advised to proceed to the kiosk as soon as you find yourself in the transit airea, as the tours are subject to availability and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The coach for each tour can accommodate up to 33 passengers. The duration of the tour is 2h 45min, carried out by an English speaking tour guide.
Hamad International Airport from the insde, source: Wikipedia
Eligibility is subject to immigration approval. Certain passport holders may not be allowed to join the tours, as exiting the transit area of Hamad International Airport is subject to issuing a transit visa. The 24h transit visa itself stamped for these tours is free of charge. At the city tour's kiosk, each signed up passenger is given a voucher to be presented at the Immigration desk, so that the transit visa fees are waived.
A great review of the Qatar Airways free city tour we found in this blog. Connectionreview.com Qatar Airways' section also features positive opinions about these tours.
The alterntative to the Doha free city tour is spending your the time between your connections at the airport itself. Hamad International Airport is not like any other airport you have ever been to. It is a brand new, state-of-art facility, one of the global few given the hardly achievable 5 stars by the Skytrax organization. There are so many things one can do inside, the airport transit hall is like a miny city. There are nearly 50 stores offering world class brands such as Burberry, Chopard, Bvlgari, Rolex, Victoria's secret and a huge choice of duty free shops offering discounted perfumes, tobacco and alcohol. The food court area offers both fast food and exquisite restaurants covering Arabic, American, Italian, Asian, European and Seafood cuisine. The relax area offers a vitality and wellbeing center, quite rooms, playgrounds, lounges, art exhibitions. There is also an airport hotel, accessed directly from the transit areas. Rooms can be booked for a length of stay as short as 5 hours. The drawback is that you may find some of the services being overpriced, but we need to take into account the Qatar is one of the richest countries of the world.
Written by Connectionreview.com