Qatar Airways runs the route of Doha–Tbilisi–Baku-Doha twice a day now – one overnight and one during the day. After all my recent overnight flights I was happy to have found a daytime one. Our friendly Uber driver dropped us off at Baku’s hyper-modern Heydar Aliyev International Airport.
Surprisingly, there are lounges to the left and the right of the check-in area. One of the Priority Pass ones, the Salam Lounge, is spacious and the views are great for a ground floor lounge. However, there is almost no food or snacks and just a few drinks. There are no power outlets, either. It’s just a zoned-off waiting area which calls itself a lounge (not that I pay for Priority Pass lounge visits, thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card).
Nevertheless, you can relax there while the lounge staff take care of your luggage (we did not have any ourselves) and also run the check-in for you. I wasn’t sure if that would be a good idea for us, though, because of our somewhat complicated award itinerary, so we left the lounge when check-in time was reached.
Immigration was very interested in checking our visa printouts again and again. I had almost thrown them away once we entered the country, since visas are usually checked when you enter, not when you exit – right?
Once cleared, there is more security and another Priority Pass lounge in Terminal 1. The Absheron Lounge is very similar to Salam, but has a few more food offerings.
We were ‘charged’ again for entry; if you have to pay for Priority Pass, the $20 per member and guest can get expensive quickly for such short airport visits. I convinced myself to try the espresso here – which was a mistake – and in addition to the slow WiFi, it made this goodbye easy.
This airline uses the A320’s short-haul configuration I have flown many times before in Qatar Economy Class and Qatar Business Class. The cabin was about 60% full already when we boarded and around 30 people joined us for this flight to Doha.
Qatar Airways does its job so well. There is a rather big screen right in front of you and a food menu.
The flight attendants on this flight were just superbly friendly. We took off right on time into the empty skies over Baku.
Once over the Caspian Sea on our way to Iranian airspace, the dinner service rolled out and we realized we had ordered a special meal (I had actually forgotten all about it). We all liked the vegetarian Indian curry that turned out to be some of the best airline food ever.
I used an hour to be productive on my laptop and we were then on our way into the descent.
We got some gorgeous pictures when flying over Doha and the blue waters of the Persian Gulf.
The temperature was a stunning 112 degrees but with almost 100% humidity. Stepping out of the plane into the waiting bus was a huge change in temperatures.
If Doha Airport was a little less busy than before, it was not to be noticed, as there was a huge amount of people in transfer security and in the main walking areas when we arrived.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]