Al Safwa Lounge – Qatar Airways
This post was originally published on March 7, 2015. It has been updated on August 20, 2015 with additional information.
After months of preparation, Qatar Airways (QR) will open its First Class Lounge named (Al Safwa) in Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) at the end of April 2015.
The carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed the news to Business Traveller this week at the international travel trade show ITB in Berlin, Germany.
The Al Safwa Lounge has originally scheduled to open when international airport operations moved to Doha Hamad back in April 2014. Al Baker made reference to the delay by telling the magazine that it was as a result of “very high standards and amenities” being built.
Qatar Airways’ Al Mourjan Business Lounge (pictured) opened last year – Image taken from Business Traveller’s website on March 6, 2015. All Rights Reserved.
It is uncertain whether the lounge would only be accessible by passengers travelling in First class on Qatar Airways. Other passengers including Oneworld Emerald members (who would have access to First Class lounges normally) might continue to have access to the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge if travelling in Business class or higher. Economy passengers who have OWE status would have access to Qatar Airways existing facilities, the Oryx Lounge (refer to link for more information). This is similar to London Heathrow Airport access.
As of March 1, 2015, Qatar Airways operates First Class on the following routes. Most of the other aircrafts with an existing first class seat will be converted into a business class design (potentially with a double bed) in 2016 (refer to news).
- Doha (DOH) – London Heathrow (LHR) – Airbus A380
- Doha (DOH) – Paris Charles de Gaulles (CDG) – Airbus A380
- Doha (DOH) – Bangkok (BKK) – Airbus A380
There has been a lot of stories of overcrowding in the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge. It made sense for Qatar Airways to maintain exclusivity by opening the First Class lounge to those flying its product until all the service details are ironed out.
Other airlines that employ the same exclusivity include:
- Singapore Airlines (SQ)’s First Class Private Dining Room at Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN)
- Lufthansa German Airlines (LH)’s First Class Terminal at Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) and
- British Airways (BA)’s Concorde Room at London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Qatar Airways continue to enhance the travel experience along with its Gulf region competitors Emirates (EK) and Etihad Airways (EY). It is the only airline with this group that holds a membership to an alliance (Oneworld).
The Al Safwa lounge is expected to have individual shower facilities (in cabana format) and better food offerings with restaurant service. It is anticipated that there may be a spa and day rooms introduced to give passengers more time to relax. Depending on the location of the lounge, direct access to A380 gates could be included.
Qatar Airways unveiled its new First Class product back in 2014 with the introduction of the Airbus A380 (refer to the airline’s website for detail information). Contrary its competitors, the seat does not have an enclosed door design. It features a lie-flat seat that has a dimension of 83″ pitch and 23″ width. The seat also includes a 26″ high definition audio video on demand inflight entertainment system and individual USB/AC Power ports.
To build exclusivity, Qatar Airways’ soon to be opened First Class lounge may only be available to its own passengers travelling on the A380. This may contradict with Oneworld alliance membership rules though it is not the only lounge with such restrictions. It would be important for Qatar Airways to market and brand this lounge as an oasis comparable if not exceed that of its Gulf region competitors for the airline to differentiate itself. Judging from its Business Class lounge, there is a high expectation that this one would ranked amongst the best in the world.
Update August 20, 2015
We reached out to the airline. There is no new date set for the opening of Al Safwa Lounge at the moment. We will update when a new time is announced.