In the last installment I was whisked across the Indian Ocean in an airplane with a tail camera. There were other details but that's the basic theme. Now, after alighting said A350 and boarding a nice air conditioned bus I am deposited in the ground floor of Hamad International Airport. Up a series of escalators and to the transit desk I head. There is no wait check in and I receive my boarding pass promptly.
Of course I could have done the trip on one ticket but I was unclear of the lounge access rules. I was certain that a passenger originating in DOH and flying QR in regional F would get access to the Al Safwa Lounge. Does one who is inbound in J and connecting to regional F? I thought maybe the J -> F scenario might be treated as a J passenger. Anyhow, the amount of Avios was the same, I probably paid some additional taxes/fees but it was not punitive.
The Al Safwa lounge is one floor above the transit security checkpoint.
I'm still blown away by the look of this lounge. The high ceilings, the water feature, the materials, all stunning.
My first stop was the dining room. The service was non-existent initially. I was seated for a few minutes before I was offered service. It was not because they were busy.
Finally a menu. The options are underwhelming to my palate.
I opt for a glass of Krug, the cheese sambusak, and the vegetable tart. Both food items taste of frozen supermarket food. The wine is sublime.
Bread and a nice assortment of spreads was also placed ot h table.
The service was abysmal and I only picked at the food. There was not a clear staff assigned to my table to it was a random flow of staff repeating the same questions between long absences. Eventually I was able to secure a cup of coffee after flagging someone down. Maybe AAB was in the dining room so everyone was running scared.
I walked about the lounge after the failed snack and discovered an entire dining area that I didn't know existed. Judging by the lack of people in the room I might not be the only one. It's a great concept with sushi, salad ingredients, breads, and beautiful sandwich meats. There is a chef and server there so you may customize your meal. I wish I knew before wasting my time in the dining room.
With the remainder of my time in this amazing space I had a brief respite in one of the family rooms.
It's so staggering to me how few people are utilizing this most beautiful lounge.
A look at the departure board and my last chance to take in the grandeur of the main hall and it was off to the gate.
It's a good walk from Al Safwa to C13 which is appreciated.
I was curious/puzzled by the airplane parked at C13. At the time I had no idea what Al Maha was. It was later I read that it's a Saudi start up airline owned and operated by Qatar Airways. They have yet to launch service in Saudi so they use the airplanes on the QR mainline.
Boarding was under way when I entered the gate area so I went aboard. The A320 is in a very basic configuration and not nearly as nice as the lie flat seat equipped A320 of the standard QR fleet. However, for a 30 min. flight, it will be perfect.
The equipment box under the seat is annoying. Especially as there is no IFE/AVOD/Screen!
I was offered water or juice and cold or warm towel. I selected water and a cold towel.
Menus were distributed. I was oh so curious how the crew was going to manage a meal service on this short flight. There were 7/12 seats occupied in the first class cabin. The answer turned out to be part hustle and part several passengers declining the service. I am not one to decline service however…
Arabic coffee and date were on offer proir to push back. The young flight attendant doing most of the service in first was absolutely fantastic. She was enthusiastic, friendly, and always addressed me by name. I got the impression that she may be a newish hire. She's a keeper and definitely an asset to QR.
The Al Maha branding in the cabin.
During taxi I spot the A350 that brought me in form SIN as well as the VIP terminal.
Cool looking island on view shortly after take off. What is this? Resort? Prison? QR training "camp"?
Service began immediately of course. I opted for the vegetarian dish. I had a taste of everything and it was a lovely dish and better than anything I tried at Al Safwa. I was truly amazed at how this could be the offering on such a short sector.
After no time at cruise we dropped down to approach AUH.
Hello Long Beach, CA!
A look at T1.
One final look at the cabin.
Qatar Airways Al Safwa Lounge
Doha - DOH
Abu Dhabi - AUH
Thank you for joining me on this short hop to AUH.
The Ground Service: Transit was very efficient, even collecting my onward boarding pass. I didn't notice a premium security line but perhaps I was in one as it was a very brief wait.
The Lounge: Al Safwa is a treat for the senses. The visual aspects of the design, the materials, the waterfall, all of it. The service this time was sub par. The food in the dining room was unremarkable but the sushi, salad, sandwich area looks very promising. Also, where are all the people?
The Cabin: This Al Maha aircraft was very basic and more a kin to US first class. The space the equipment box occupies on the window seats is terrible and rather confusing as there is nothing in the housing.
The Crew: Very professional and efficient crew. Everything was delivered with a smile and enthusiasm. I was very impressed considering the high workload on such a short sector.
The Food and Beverage: Excellent food and beverage options considering the stage length. Again, very impressed with the QR short haul product.
Overall: A very enjoyable flight on the Qatar Airways.
0 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".