Qatar Airways’ New First Class Lounge Should Open Shortly!

While Emirates has quite an impressive first class lounge in Dubai, Etihad and Qatar both don’t have any first class lounges at the moment.

Both airlines have lounges under construction, which were supposed to open months ago. The good news is that for one of the lounges, an opening date might finally be in sight.

Qatar Airways finally began operating out of Doha’s new Hamad International Airport last May, after a huge delay. Originally the new first class lounge was supposed to open a few months after the airport opened, though the opening date got pushed back further and further and further.

Hamad-Airport
Doha’s Hamad International Airport

Eventually it was announced that the lounge would open in April 2015. The reason for the delay? The lounge’s “very high standards and finishes.”

The lounge still isn’t open to this date, but it seems like it might finally open soon.

Last week I transited Doha’s Hamad International Airport, and as I exited transit security I saw the escalator to the Al Safwa First Class Lounge. There was a barrier blocking it off, but interestingly the escalator was moving. It really did look like the lounge was almost complete, especially as there were no visible signs of construction.

Al-Mourjan-Lounge-1

Al-Mourjan-Lounge-2

The entrance to the first class lounge is located across from the $6.8 million teddy bear (which looks like it’s being interrogated, no?).

Teddy-Bear

As I entered the Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge I decided to ask an associate when the Al Safwa Lounge would open.

Me: “Excuse me, do you have any idea when the Al Safwa Lounge will open?”
Associate: “Soon.”
Me: “Well they have been saying ‘soon’ for over a year now. Do you have anything more specific than that?”
Associate: “Yes, we have been saying ‘soon’ for a while, but now it is very soon.”
Me: “So like a week? A month? A year?”
Associate: “Very very soon.”

Hah, so after that I made a game of asking as many associates as possible about when the Al Safwa Lounge will open. I wanted to see who could use the word “very” most often as a modifier for when the lounge would open. The record was four.

While we don’t have an exact opening date, it looks like we now have a good reason to believe that the new lounge will open within a couple of weeks at most.

OnePassenger on FlyerTalk somehow got an “insider” look at the lounge, and claims it’s supposed to open before November 2015. Apparently the lounge is ready to go, “except for some pictures that await framing, and [cultural] artifacts that need to be placed.” I’m not surprised this is delaying the opening, given His Excellency’s attention to detail.

OnePassenger also notes that the lounge will strictly be for Qatar Airways first class passengers, and not for oneworld Emerald members, though that had already been revealed.

Keep in mind that Qatar Airways markets the forward cabin on their shorthaul flights as first class, so you’d get access to the Al Safwa Lounge if flying first class from Doha to Dubai, for example.

Qatar-Airways-First-Class
Qatar Airways regional first class

Furthermore, arriving first class passengers with connections in business class get access to the Al Safwa Lounge, but only if connecting off a first class flight of more than five hours (in other words, if arriving from London, Paris, or Bangkok, and connecting onto a flight in business class).

That’s to say that flying regional first class to Doha and then connecting to a longhaul flight in business class won’t get you access to the Al Safwa Lounge.

Bottom line

I’m excited for the Al Safwa Lounge to finally open, and it shouldn’t be too tough to access, given that shorthaul first class passengers get access to it. The lounge should be pretty spectacular, especially since it’s the same size as the Al Mourjan Lounge, which is massive. Hopefully it also means that the Al Mourjan Lounge will be significantly less crowded.

Al-Mourjan-Lounge-Doha-16
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge Doha

I’ll post again once the lounge is officially open… while I wouldn’t count on it being in October as promised, I’m optimistic it’ll open in 2015.

So, who is excited to check out the new Qatar Airways first class lounge?

Comments

  1. Hopefully within the next 3-4 weeks, Ben.-) A friend who works for QR and should know about the opening date (because she will in Al Safwa Lounge) still doesn’t know the opening date.But at least she is not allowed to take holiday since 15th of Oktober:) Anyway..i’m quite annoyed because the Emir, his family and friends have their own VIP Terminal, so I don’t understand WHY they are waiting to open Al Safwa.

  2. Yayy, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, I have a BKK-DOH-AUH in first coming up in December and I have been hoping that they would open along with Etihad first class lounge which I think will get more pressure to pen in case QR open their F lounge

  3. Do QR offer F on any flights other than A380 and Gulf flights? If not there will be hardly anyone using this lounge?!

  4. The FT article that broke this news suggests that only F flights over 5hrs will qualify….and there are not a lot of them

  5. @ tom — By my read, that’s referring specifically to people arriving on first class flights and connecting to business class flights. Departing regional first class passengers should still get access to the lounge as far as I know.

  6. @lucky…sure intra ME-flights also get access to Al Safwa lounge. Had an intresting conversation with an QR executive last time in DOH and he told me that QR sells the regional premium product as F, because Qataris actually want to fly F and not just C. That’s ridiculous but a FIRST CLASS on the boarding pass means a lot to those guys there*lol*

    QR has about 15 flights only to DXB per day, so Al Safwa surely won’t be that empty like EK F Lounge in DXB for example.

  7. I’d like to see that teddy bear replaced with a giant statue of Akbar Al Baker being impaled by an Oryx. Would be far more interesting.

  8. This Sunday morning would be great… Or the the following Friday on my way back… How about if I tell them I don’t mind if there’s a few unframed pictures missing??!!

  9. Hi Lucky,

    Just let you know that the mobile site and the desktop site are not syncing. When I use my phone to browse ur blog, it’s always The older posts. It usually takes a half day to update on the mobile site.

  10. @ Jason — Thanks for the info! There’s no difference in the feed between the desktop and mobile versions of the site, and when I check on my phone I get the exact same posts as I do on a computer. Maybe check the browser cache settings on your phone?

  11. When asking when the lounge would be open, I’m suprised you didn’t hear the word “Insha’Allah” which in Arabic means God Willing / if Allah wills but in English pretty much means we’ve no idea when it’s going to happen. Whenever any of us expats here in Qatar here these words you know your going to be waiting a while!

  12. @Phil “the regional premium product as F, because Qataris actually want to fly F and not just C. That’s ridiculous but a FIRST CLASS on the boarding pass means a lot to those guys there*lol*”

    The US3 do the same thing. Domestic flights in the USA offer a front cabin product that’s just coach with an extra inch of width and the usual E+ legroom plus about four more inches of recline. You get a nasty institutional de-frosted meal and very cheap sparkling wine. The US3 carriers market it as ‘first.’

    In fact, the vast majority of seats sold as first by US3 carriers are horrible cramped buckets compared to even their angle-flat 2-3-2 business class products. It’s just that calling a thing — a thing that’s really coach with leg room — ‘first’ on short haul flights is something the marketers can get away with.

  13. @Ben: Beside the 380 and the intra-Gulf flights they still have a few A330 and A340 that have (a bit outdated) F cabin.

    I’m otherwise curious to see if I can access to either the ‘Al Shawfa First class lounge’ or the ‘Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge’ as I’m Platinum at QR – after they open the new lounge. Recently I was not allowed to enter the latter with an ECO ticket (numerous times); instead I had to use a ‘so called First class lounge’ that was by all means far worse than a Senator Lounge in FRA or in MUC…

    QR is only giving you high-class service if you fly premium – else LH is providing better services for their Senators on ground / in the lounge (not to mention HONs)…

  14. @Ben We booked first class from Amman to PHL through Doha with AA miles. The Doha to PHL flight has no first class service, so is listed as business. Will we have access to the first class lounge in Doha if open?

  15. In Al Mourjon now sitting at the bar talking to the bartender and waiting for my DOH-ORD flight. He told me the first class lounge opens today! Of course, I just flew DOH-DBX two days ago and would have been able to access it then :/

    He also assured me that Krug will be staying in Al Mourjon, so I’m a happy camper.

  16. Confirm Lounge opens from about 10 days, i was there on 30.10 for regional Cairo flight in f, quite impressive with high ceilings and marble everywhere, not really long time to spare so just got chance for a full course menu at table, service more attentive and personal but menu not that amazing, of course many kind of good wine available and Krug champagne, made a jump to spa before leaving but strangely treatments for paying, 30 minutes massage qr 340, not that expecting for f class tickets!!!!
    impressive as said but lack a bit of f class personality that used to have in other f classes where service is focused on customer as tailored, here with such massive huge spaces can’t do, i prefer informal business class and informal sandwich at bistro although missing Krug:)

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