Doha Transit: How To Spend 13 Hours At The Airport

UPDATED MARCH 2024

A layover in Doha happens if you fly with Qatar Airways, but what to do if you have a 13 hours transit and want to stay at the airport? The truth is, there’s nothing much you can do inside Hamad International Airport. However, if you arrive early in the evening in Doha, you can go out and visit the capital city of Qatar. I love long layovers because they break long flights, but they must happen during the day.

It is not the first time I was transiting in Doha. But I really didn’t have a choice I landed at 11:00 PM, so leaving the airport wasn’t an option because it was too late. The most unpleasant experience I ever had. The 13-hour transit was too long to stay inside the airport. Now, if I’m searching for airline tickets, I look at the time of the layover because I don’t want to experience it again. So if you have such a long stopover I suggest booking a hotel or going out and exploring the capital of Qatar if you landed early in Doha.

Doha is underrated because they think there’s nothing there. In fact, there are a lot of things to do. On my previous layovers, I get out of the airport and explore the city. I was amazed at how beautiful the capital of Qatar was. Of course, it is not comparable with Dubai and Saudi Arabia. If you are looking for what you can do on a long layover, these might give you an insight into the Qatari capital. I even had 10 hours only. But my plane landed at 4:00 PM, and my next flight departed at 2:00 AM, so it was enough time to see something. Check my other blog post.

Free tourist visa

I also suggest that you check the requirements of a tourist visa because some nationalities need a prior permit to enter Qatar. However, most European Nationals will get a stamp on arrival for 90 days. As for other passport holders check this LINK if you are entitled to get a visa on arrival. Even if you only transiting you should check if you need a transit visa to avoid any circumstances.

Doha Is A Busy Airport 

Doha Hamad Airport

Qatar Airways is the best airline with no dispute as I have flown all the Middle Eastern airlines. The price offer with Qatar is sometimes unbeatable, but then the layovers in Doha are so annoying. I was searching for a flight to Saudi Arabia, and Qatar was the cheapest I found, but the layover was tedious. I could choose the shortest transit of 1 hour 30 minutes or the longest of 13 hours. 

Then I thought, if I only have more than a one-hour transit, although Hamad Airport isn’t that big I wondering if my luggage will be flying with me as this happened once on my previous trips when my luggage arrived two days later. I want to avoid happening again because I’m not stay in one place this time. So, I opted for a 13-hour layover instead.

Qatar Airways free transit hotel

Depending on your ticket type not all fares are eligible for this stopover service. I have tried filling up the form on the Qatar Airways website I thought I was eligible for free accommodation but hell no. I bought a low-priced ticket, so I have no right to a free hotel. That is one thing to consider before booking a flight with Qatar. If this happens again in the future I’ll book a hotel in the center. Because 13 hours at the airport is a disaster and exhausting, that is at least if you have no choice like you need a visa to go out. But for those visa-free travelers, don’t stay inside the airport.

So how To Spend 13 Hours At The Airport? I know it’s too long to stay inside. You can book an airport hotel, but they are expensive. However, if you really want to sleep and have a comfortable night before your next flight, I suggest looking for accommodation in the city center. There are plenty of hotels in Doha for less than 100 euros a night. I took the bullet of staying inside. However, you can do a few things while inside Hamad airport.

Walking inside the airport

After one hour of walking, you’ve seen it all. Hamad Airport isn’t that big compared to Saudi Arabia Airport Amman. I probably did the stroll three times until I got enough and said, now it’s time for relaxing. The good thing is that most duty-free is open 24-hours as well the restaurants.

Shopping And Dining

If you have space in your suitcase or have money to burn, shopping can be another option. You have to do something during your 13-hour layover in Doha. There are plenty of duty-free at Hamad airport, including gold shops.

By the way, speaking of gold, Qatar has reasonable prices for gold. However, if you plan to purchase a jewelry, you should do it in the city center because you can get a discount. I was able to buy a ring on my previous trips and still wear it every day. Apart from shopping, there are also restaurants from local to international food. And no need for local Qatari currency because credit cards are accepted unless their machine breaks.  

Free Internet At Doha Airport

The same as many airports in the world, Doha has pretty good wifi. The free internet may be the first thing you’d like to do once entering the arrival terminal. Make sure to carry your booking reference or the ticket number with you, because you need to log into the free internet at the airport.
Keep your booking all the time because once you’re inactive, you need to log in again. The internet in Doha works well. It can handle making a call through Facebook Messenger. However, other apps like WhatsApp only work for messaging but not for calling. 

Go For A Relaxation

Hamad International Airport

There’s more you can do during a 13-hour transit in Doha. I was bored after walking for hours until I came in a place to relax, but of course, an extra cost for my trip. Hell ya, we live only once, so why not? After sitting for more than seven hours on a flight from Brussels, I feel a bit of my backache. Thus, I opted for a massage which helped. Having this at the airport is good, especially if you come from a long flight. Take the relaxation before taking your next flight.

Search for benches to lie down

There is no shortage of benches inside Hamad Airport even though they are not comfortable, you can at least lie down. Look for corner places so you don’t have all that light in your face. But be careful with your belongings when you fall asleep. Don’t leave it under your bench lie down over it.

Get Asleep In The Quiet Room 

I have been transiting to Doha many times, but this was the first time I was in a quiet room. And that is because I only have short layovers on previous trips. So the only thing in the quiet room is a matter of luck to find a space. You’re not the only one searching for a place to sleep. I came here twice, and it all engaged, so I went to a bench and sat for a while.

Then two hours later, I returned and was lucky that there was a space. It isn’t pretty comfortable; it is just a recliner bench, but at least more pleasant that you can lie down. If you want luxury, you can opt for lounges, but they cost more, and while this is free of charge. It just one thing to keep in mind you might lose your place if you go to the bathroom. People constantly looking to spend in a quiet room.

2 thoughts on “Doha Transit: How To Spend 13 Hours At The Airport”

  1. NAIMUL CHOWDHURY

    I and my wife bought the Ticket of DAC/DOH/BOS. Our transit time in DOHA is 18 hours. QR will not give us any hotel even any food, nothing. They have only 1 hotel which is very expensive for us. For stay in the Hotel the charges will be not less than USD 350 for a couple. I think they should give us 2 or 4 hours Flight within free of Charges. QR said me. We travel before also QR. We have membership card also of QR.

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