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Review: the Qatar Airways First Class …. bus!

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This is my review of the Qatar Airways First Class …… bus!

On Christmas Eve I reviewed my First Class flight on Qatar Airways from Abu Dhabi to Doha.  It was, clearly, a ‘splurge’ in terms of an Avios redemption – it cost 18,000 points vs 4,500 for economy.

However, there was one thing that happened right at the end which almost made it worthwhile.

Despite being a brand new airport, Hamad International appears to be short of stands.  My Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight in February went from a remote stand, which was a pretty sweaty bus ride to be honest.

This time, I was again dropped on the tarmac.

An interesting thing then happened.  As the plane stopped, the crew closed the curtains again that divided First Class from Economy.  Two buses pulled up outside the plane.

The 4-5 of us in First Class disembarked on our own and entered the first bus.  This was a special First Class bus.

Yes, there is no need to slum it with other passengers for that two minute ride to the terminal building.  You can have your own little throne:

Qatar Airways First Class bus review


Qatar Airways First Class bus review


Qatar Airways First Class bus review

It is silly things like this which mean that I still find the whole flying experience fun after all these years.

Then it was off to find the bear, which sits outside the entrance to the Airport Hotel ….

Hamad Airport Doha Qatar teddy bear

PS. Emirates also has a special First Class bus which I wrote about in this article

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Comments (16)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Manar says:

    Was it the previous airport that had a chauffeur service from the terminal to the plane for premium passengers? First class getting BMW limos vs something slightly less for business class. At risk of getting a bit silly. Would be nicer to just have an airport that opened on time with fair lounges and enough stands.

    • James67 says:

      Lufthsnsa, Swiss and Austrian all have limo transfers for F and HON pax but I cannot recall details, my *A days demised with BMI.

  • James67 says:

    I have a love-hate relationship with these buses. On the one hand I get frustrated that a supposedly modern airport like T5 still regularly use bus gates. On the other hand I always enjoy the views of airfields and aircraft they offer. I’ve been on buses before in which the the F and J passengers got a separate bus but still same type of bus. It may be my imagintion but my gut feeling is that my bus gate departures had, on average, a better on-time departures record. Bus gates on arrival can be great if it means a bus ride straight to immigration or baggae reclaim in a large airport. Most frustrating bus transfers were if you arrived LHR T1 domestic as a connecting passenger and were dropped off aftef the securit gate at baggage reclaim necessitating a long walk through the tunnels to T2 or 3.

  • Ollie says:

    Hey guys, whilst we’re on Hamad Airport. Does anyone now know for certain which lounge BA F passengers get to use? Is it the apparently stunning new new one or as MMB appears to suggest the Oryx lounge? Read an earlier article but wasn’t conclusive, although more promising than MMB, but with details/confirmation to follow… Couldn’t see anything else after that, apologies if I missed it. Thank you!

    • Rob says:

      I was told – by the moderator of the Qatar forum on Flyertalk, who I met in the F lounge – that BA F passengers do get access.

      • Ollie says:

        Thanks for that. That would be amazing, it does look and sound pretty impressive. Will give it a go and let you know what happens.

  • Mary says:

    what a coincidence, I was doing this about 7 hours ago. It was very odd getting into my own bus with just 3 other people. Flew Doha to Abu Dhabi, and the Al Safwa lounge is really pretty special. As is cutting out the entire terminal and getting into our own bus.

    • Fadi says:

      When non-Arabic speakers write ‘the al-lounge’ I always read it as ‘the the’ 😉

  • Volker says:

    A couple of years ago, BA must have been trialling this special bus service, too. On arrival of my flight from LHR to FRA only the Club Europe passengers were allowed to enter the first of several busses which then took of with 5 people on board… I will never forget the facial expressions of my fellow passengers who obviously felt a bit uncomfortable in that big empty bus (ordinary seats, no thrones though) – and maybe even sorry for the Euro Travellers…
    I received the same privilege a few days later on my way back, but this time BA status holders were allowed in, too (luckily, on that occasion it was not the usual big crowd…).
    BA must have abandoned the trial soon afterwards, as it has never happened to me again since 😀

  • David says:

    To be fair we had a special bus taking 4 business class passengers including 2 of us on from the aircraft to terminal in Ho Chi Minh with Vietnam airlines. No throne seat though.

  • Alex says:

    On China southern business class they have a VIP bus to take business and first class passengers separate too, they also have someone waiting who takes you through transit immigration and security to the lounge.

  • Peter says:

    EK does the same….they have seperate busses for F, J and Y passengers.
    BA should take example of this…although I have no issue at all of sharing a bus with J, WT and Y passengers at all, what I don’t like is that they load the busses like the Tokyo underground during rush hour !

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