We left Tokyo Wednesday night, at midnight to be exact, flew eleven hours, landed in Qatar at five in the morning on Thursday. Our connection was pretty long and left us with 6-7 hours in the lounge. Hubby was beyond excited to finally fly with this specific airline’s Dreamliner and try their business class on that aircraft. Qatar Airways was recently awarded with the best business class by Skytrax which is a big deal in the industry. We’ve flown with them a couple of years ago from Budapest to Doha and I was pretty impressed with their cabin already but they certainly upgraded their already amazing product. It was an overnight flight so we mostly just slept it trough but hubby told me that Qatar is the only airline who does on demand dining on their business class. Usually that only happens on first class. They are clearly trying everything to set themselves apart from the competition. The seats were very comfortable and the cabin felt spacious too.
As much as I enjoy the comfort of traveling in style and getting a proper rest my mood quickly shifted once we landed and walked to the lounge. This over the top luxury what they showcase in the air as well as on the ground comes at a big price. As we were picking out where to sit and spend the next ‘forever hours’ I told my husband that I don’t really feel well and something is just off here. Hubby told me that it’s probably the bad vibes I’m picking up. Turns out that Qatar is known to mistreat their employees and that bad energy is clearly reflects in the atmosphere. It’s heart breaking. Couple of days later as I’m typing this I’m still very much irritated and I feel conflicted. It’s kind of hard to explain but it felt like that there was a dark cloud sitting on the airport, just a very sad vibe in general. It’s lacking charm and the human touch, there’s no kindness to it. Just a few examples: The lounge was way overstaffed and I’ve witnessed workers clean the same spots every five minutes. The toilets got a scrub after each time someone used one. C’mon.. is this really necessary? It’s sad to see that these superficial things are more important for people rather than to see smiling and happy workers. Most of the staff, if not all of them are immigrants from neighboring countries and they are not valued at all. That’s definitely shows on their body language and I can’t blame them for being so cold. Unfortunately we witnessed how poorly they were treated by other customers as well. Sitting there it felt like I was part of the problem too. It left me feeling uneasy and guilty.
This lounge is gorgeous, it’s shiny and glamorous but on the other hand that doesn’t mean anything in my eyes if the workers are clearly taken advantage of. Treat your people well otherwise you are just a piece of s*** in my opinion.
Well this got really deep real soon. I apologize for that but I thought that it’s only fair if I mention the dark side too since the picture won’t show that.
As you might know, quite a few countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, Qatari citizens had to wrap up their lives in those places basically overnight, airlines stopped serving Doha, Qatar airways was forced out not only from their airports but the airspace as well. Well that reflects on the always (annoyingly) busy Hamad International Airport, it’s basically deserted, besides the morning and the late rush there are only 15-20 flights between 9am and 3 pm.
Certainly I’m not worried for Qatar, being the country with the highest GDP per capital but the world is full of tension already and that doesn’t help either. Anyways we could get into a very very very (did I mention very?) long political post but the best is if I just wrap this up here.. and who cares about my rant anyways? 🙂
Long story short, Qatar’s Al-Mourjan lounge is nice, the sandwich bar is amazing, the restaurant is what you expect from a nice international biz lounge but nothing to write home about. Don’t get me wrong it’s definitely a good place to kill some time on a layover but no chance I’d spend more time than required as I do every time I step foot in my favorite lounges around the world.
PS: Let me know if you enjoy those airline post. I know a guy who I’m sure is happy to contribute with some insider tips, tricks and general aviation geekiness. 🙂