Being a Londoner, flying British Airways is unavoidable. Terminal 5 opened around ten years ago now, however British Airways was still too large to fit into a single terminal so has split its operation between 3 and 5, with most of BA in 3, and their oneworld partners operating from 3 (as well as a few random destinations). Qatar Airways flights actually operate from terminal 4, which is the old British Airways “intercontinental” terminal.
As such, it was over ten years since I’d last been at Terminal 4 when I rocked up at the drop-off area on Thursday for flight QR008 to Doha. The old drop-off area has been moved slightly further away from the building with the forecourt now blocked off and pedestrianised, presumably as a security measure.
Walking in to the terminal, Qatar Airways have zone A at the far corner of the building. At the opposite end of the check-in area is where the SkyTeam airlines are located with the SkyPriority zone being where the old Concorde check-in used to be.
Having already checked in online and not having any bags to drop, check-in formalities were completed in about one minute, my boarding passes issued and I was directed to Fast Track security. I wandered up to the boarding pass check, turned the corner and was greeted with a rather large queue, however with no opportunity to go into a regular security line. Around 15 minutes later, I was screened and airside in the shopping mall.
I walked down towards Gate 1 where the Qatar Premium lounge was located – in the same location as the old BA Terraces Gate 1 lounge was.
The Qatar Premium lounge at Terminal 4 is a bit of an anomaly in that it sits outside of the normal oneworld access rules. It is not accessible to oneworld sapphires or emeralds flying economy. You must have a business or first class boarding pass with Qatar Airways to gain access (I don’t know if operational upgrades count for access though).
Upon entering the lounge I was immediately greeted by a lovely member of staff who asked if there was anything that I needed. She also explained that boarding would be from gate 6, directly opposite and they would call us when the aircraft was ready. She also enquired if this was the first time in the lounge and when I said yes, offered me a quick tour.
It was around 13.45 by this point and I was yet to have lunch, so decided to head straight to the restaurant area at the far end of the lounge and have something to eat.
The dining area itself was wonderfully designed.
The menu was also rather excellent with a good variety of dishes to choose from.
I went for the mezze platter to start, with the chicken biryani as the main. My travelling companion opted for the prawn cocktail and then the sea bass. We rounded the meal off with an espresso.
I was very impressed with the food, however my only very slight criticism was that there should have been more pieces of chicken in the Biryani – it was a little rice heavy.
The rest of the lounge was equally well designed.
The food selections were not only beautiful to look at, but tasted exceptionally good too.
The attention to detail was also extended to the lavatories. However if one were being hyper-critical, I was surprised that there was only soap there, and no moisturising lotion – that is definitely a first world problem.
Before long, boarding time rolled around and it was time to leave to try out the new Q-Suites on flight QR008.
Overall, for an outstation, and a business class lounge, I felt it was exceptional. The staff were wonderful, friendly, and couldn’t do more for you.
In terms of how it compares to the Cathay First lounge over in terminal 3 – I think it’s down to personal tastes. Personally, I preferred the Cathay design aesthetic and slightly more hands off approach to service, but one could equally make a case for the Qatar lounge being better.
My only recommendation being to find an excuse to visit both and see which one you prefer.