Hamad International Airport….The Best in Middle East

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On exactly 5:16 am, a white apron shuttle bus belonging to Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) completed its task of transporting all Kuwait Airways flight KU 621 passengers. Qatar Aviation Services itself is the main company which focuses in ground handling at Hamad International Airport (HIA) .

Go to immigration counter.

From arrival time, it would take thirty minutes to complete the immigration process, then crossing exit gate and enjoyed fresh situation of Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall.

Baggage conveyor belts.

Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall

Bottom view.
Top view.

Hunting for information about Qatar tourism at information desk, I was silent watching a display in neon box. The pattern which shows that HIA has obtained Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 3. This shows that the airport is able to respond to climate change through energy optimization programs and is successful in collaborating with stakeholders in managing third party emissions.

Information desk.

The time that was too early morning was able to put me to sleep in a chair covered in brown leather and located under a date palm tree which towered over the room.

Waiting chair….

An hour and a half later, I was shocked. The sun peeked at hall and airport visitors were already busy passing by. I stepped to airport’s east wing to wash and prepared to leave the airport.

Toilet.
Very clean.

Two water bottles which had dried up since last night were now filled. I left front area of toilet which was decorated with a herd of long-horned deer scattered on a side of the hall. Shiny chocolate like a fighter deer.

Free water station.
Contemporary Dutch art, “8 oryxes” represents a herd of deer typical of the Arabian Peninsula.

In the airport’s west wing, I hunted for money changers. A little tricky to find it, a little bit to right from main hall. 144 US Dollars changed to 479 Qatari Riyals, then 70 Riyals were left to buy a 2.5 GB SIM Card with a validity period of 30 days.

Travelex Qatar Money Changer.
Oredoo booth.

Aku menemukan lagi karya seni kontemporer setelah menukar Dollar. Karya tanpa nama sebagai bentuk penghormatan kepada para pekerja pembangun HIA. TaI found another piece of contemporary art after exchanging Dollars. An anonymous work as a form of respect for HIA construction workers. It looked like their signature was etched on that work of art.

Italian taste art.

Still on west wing, finished in equipping myself with drinking water, SIM Card and some Riyal money sheets, it was time to go to downtown using airport bus number 727. To riding it, I needed a KARWA Smart Card which could be purchased at automatic ticketing machine in waiting room of airport bus terminal.

Waiting room of airport bus terminal.

Departure Hall

If four days earlier I went to downtown using the airport bus, then when I left Doha, I used Doha Metro to HIA. Just wanted to feel the difference. From Casper Hotel, I took a Free Doha Metrolink Shuttle Service. A brown colored pink bus dropped me off at Oqba Ibn Nafie Station. Gliding with Doha Metro, one station later, I arrived at Hamad International Airport T1 Station.

Airport station interior.

Before passing through airport car park, the HIA Mosque tower became the best view on skybridge route which connected Doha Metro Station and Terminal 1. Then,travelator helped me to relieve my tired calf muscles after five days of exploring hot streets of Doha.

HIA Mosque tower.
Terminal 1 parking lot.
Travelator to Terminal 1.

Now I was sitting in check-in counter zone waiting for Philippines Airlines flight number to appear on one of 12 LCD screens on wall. Like waiting for a lottery number, I was happy when the number actually appeared. I rushed to check-in counter PR 685 which seemed quiet.

Seventh line check-in counter.

Hi, please queue, Sir!” warning from a ground staff who automatically braked my steps. He pointed to a queue of Filipinos starting from an airport pole. They all laughed at me and lowered my face in shame.

Check-in counter.

After stamping my passport, I went down stairs and found an old dream. It was obvious how cute the Lamp Bear was sitting helplessly stuck to a black lamppost. Every passerby scrambled to immortalize themself with the ill-fated bear. A Bangladeshi finally helped immortalize myself with the bear.

Duty free zone with a Lamp Bear mascot in the middle.
Yihaa….

I started looking for gate D3, a gate from which I flew to Manila. Took an escalator and rode skytrain to concourse D. Within 2 minutes, the skytrain dropped me off at a new hall with many forks leading to all gates at councourses D and E. The junction was marked by contemporary art titled “Cosmos” in the center.

Going to gate D3.
HIA skytrain.
Contemporary French art called “Cosmos” which symbolizes the world’s traveling culture.

Finally I arrived at waiting room at gate D3 and waited for Philippines Airlines to arrive to pick me up.

Gate D3.

How about Hamad International Airport, how magnificent is it?

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Kuwait Airways KU 621 from Kuwait (KWI) to Doha (DOH)

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KU 621 Kuwait Airways route (Source: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Early morning….Still at 03:14 hours….Situation at Kuwait International Airport was so peaceful with melodious instrumental music. At first glance I felt like I was on a side of Changi International Airport, which often played the same music.

The ticket which I got from Bahrain International Airport.

I took a seat at the very end of waiting chair, feeling a runny nose which still left little bit flu. Weirdest flu I’ve ever had in my life. It was mid-January, while COVID-19 began to spread a month before I was in Kuwait….I even interacted closely with Mainland Chinese citizens who were going to work to Oman a few days earlier at Dubai International Airport….Ah, I didn’t know.

Me and 12Go….True partners.

The loudspeaker started to call my flight number. “Half an hour late”, I thought in response. I started queuing to enter the “Blue Bird” airline. This was my second flight with it after a day before I rode it on Bahrain to Kuwait route.

Crossing the aerobridge.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

I kept peeking atTerminal 4 building. All I could imagine was how cold it was outside when I saw the dew covering every inch of the fuselage. While on the right, an Airbus A330 was doing the same process.

Seat 13K, strange seat numbering (ABC-HJK).
Alburaq inflight magazine accompanied me to fly for about 568 kilometers.

After going through 30 minutes of boarding process, finally, I slowly left Kuwait and left its beauty out of the air. Kuwait Airways flied away from its mainhub.

Sunny morning with beautiful city lights.
Goodbye Kuwait.

This was a Kuwait Airways flight which I rescheduled in the previous story. Tickets cost for about 21 Kuwait Dinar which I have prepared since 9 months before the flight. One other thing that became my fad when ordering plane tickets was trying different types of food. This time I ordered the Diabetic Meal (DBML), a low-sugar food with a little salt along with fruits and vegetables rich in fiber.

I wasn’t a diabetic but just curious to taste it.
Watching “Gemini Man” during the flight.
Cabin situation for about 1 hour 40 minutes flight.

Sunny mornings along the Persian Gulf provide a comfortable flight into Qatar’s airspace. Kuwait Airways began to lower and exposed Doha’s face which was bright with the colors of earth’s light.

Preparing to tread in Doha.

I arrived at Hamad International Airport at exactly 04:45 hours. A giant yellow teddy bear stuck to a power pole was the first thing I recorded in my minds about this airport. I wanted to see it right away.

Dropping passengers at the airport apron.

On a cold morning, ground crews didn’t provide an aerobridge for this flight. Passengers have to get off in airport apron and took turns boarding in an apron shuttle bus. As soon as I left the plane door, my body was mercilessly pierced by cold air. Moreover, I had to wait for the next bus to go to the arrival hall.

Airbus A320-214.
Arriving at the arrival hall in 12 minutes.

I kept walking in search of the yellow Teddy Bear when other passengers queued at the toilet or scrambled for luggage on the conveyor belt. I finally found it, although I couldn’t get close because the doll was in the departure hall area.

It was okay, I would take a picture with it when I would go to home.

Welcome to Doha!

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Hamad International Airport….Terbaik di Timur Tengah.

Tepat pukul 5:16 pagi, apron shuttle bus putih milik Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) menyelesaikan tugasnya dalam mengangkut semua penumpang Kuwait Airways bernomor terbang KU 621. Qatar Aviatin Services sendiri adalah perusahaan utama yang berfokus pada ground handling di Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Menuju konter imigrasi.

Dari ketibaan, perlu waktu tiga puluh menit hingga menyelesaikan proses imigrasi, lalu melintasi exit gate dan menikmati segarnya suasana Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall.

Baggage conveyor belt.

Arrivals Meet and Greet Hall

Tampak bawah.
Tampak atas.

Berburu informasi tentang pariwisata Qatar  di information desk, aku terdiam memperhatikan tampilan di neon box. Dipaparkan pola yang menunjukkan bahwa HIA telah mendapatkan Airport Carbon Accreditation Level 3. Ini menunjukkan bahwa bandara ini mampu merespon perubahan iklim melalui program optimasi energi dan berhasil dalam kolaborasi bersama stakeholders dalam mengelola emisi pihak ketiga.

Information desk.

Waktu yang terlalu pagi mampu menidurkanku si sebuah kursi bercover kulit warna cokelat dan terletak di bawah pohon kurma yang menjulang tinggi di ruangan.

Kursi tunggu itu….

Satu setengah jam kemudian, aku terperanjat. Matahari mengintip ruangan dan pengunjung bandara sudah ramai berlalu-lalang. Pergilah aku ke sayap timur untuk berbasuh dan mempersiapkan diri untuk meninggalkan bandara.

Toilet.
Sangat bersih.

Dua botol minum yang mengering sejak semalam kini terisi.  Aku meninggalkan area depan toilet yang dihiasi sekawanan kijang bertanduk panjang yang disebar di sebuah sisi hall. Cokelat mengkilat bak kijang petarung.

Free water station.
Seni kontemporer ala Belanda, “8 oryxes” merepresentasikan kawanan kijang khas Jazirah Arab.

Di sayap barat, aku berburu money changer. Sedikit tricky untuk menemukannya, sedikit masuk ke kanan dari hall utama. 144 Dollar Amerika berganti menjadi 479 Riyal Qatar, lalu tersisih 70 Riyal untuk membeli SIM Card berkuota 2,5 GB dengan masa berlaku 30 hari.

Travelex Qatar Money Changer.
Booth Oredoo.

Aku menemukan lagi karya seni kontemporer setelah menukar Dollar. Karya tanpa nama sebagai bentuk penghormatan kepada para pekerja pembangun HIA. Tampak tanda tangan mereka tertoreh pada karya seni ini.

Seni rasa Italia.

Masih di sayap barat, selesai melengkapi diri dengan air minum, SIM Card dan beberpa lembar Riyal, tiba saatnya menuju ke kota menggunkan airport bus bernomor 727. Untuk menaikinya diperlukan KARWA Smart Card yang bisa dibeli di automatic ticketing machine di ruang tunggu airport bus terminal.

Ruang tunggu airport bus terminal.

Departure Hall

Jika empat hari sebelumnya aku menuju kota menggunakan airport bus, maka saat meninggalkan Doha, aku menggunakan Doha Metro menuju HIA. Ingin merasakan perbedaan saja. Dari Casper Hotel, aku menaiki Free Doha Metrolink Shuttle Service. Bus warna cokelat berkelir pink itu menurunkanku di Stasiun Oqba Ibn Nafie. Meluncur bersama Doha Metro, berselang satu stasiun, aku sampai di Stasiun Hamad International Airport T1.

Interior stasiun bandara.

Sebelum melewati airport car park, menara HIA Mosque menjadi pemandangan terbaik pada lintasan skybridge yang menghubungkan Stasiun Doha Metro dan Terminal 1. Kemudian, travelator menyelematkan otot betisku yang kelelahan setelah lima hari menelusuri jalanan panas Doha.

Menara HIA Mosque.
Lahan parkir Terminal 1.
Travelator menuju Terminal 1

Kini aku terduduk di check-in counter zone menunggu nomor penerbangan milik Philippines Airlines muncul di salah satu dari 12 layar LCD yang terpajang di tembok etalase. Bak menunggu nomor lotre, aku girang ketika nomor itu benar-benar muncul. Bergegaslah aku menuju konter check-in PR 685 yang tampak senyap.

Konter check-in baris ketujuh.

Hi, please queue, Sir!” tegur ground staff yang otomatis mengerem langkahku. Dia menunjuk antrian warga Philippina yang bermula dari sebuah tiang bandara. Mereka semua menertawakanku dan menyungkurkan mukaku dalam rasa malu.

Konter check-in.

Selesai mengecap passport, aku menuruni tangga dan menemukan impian lama. Tampak jelas lucunya Lamp Bear yang duduk tak berdaya tertancap pada sebuah tiang lampu berwarna hitam. Setiap yang melintas berebut mengabadikan dirinya dengan si beruang naas itu. Seorang Bangladesh akhirnya membantu mengabadikan diri dengan si beruang.

Duty free zone bermascot Lamp Bear di tengahnya.
Yihaaaa….

Aku mulai mencari keberadaan gate D3, gerbang dimana aku terbang ke Manila. Menaiki sebuah escalator dan bersambung dengan skytrain menuju concourse D.  Dalam 2 menit, skytrain menurunkanku di hall baru dengan banyak percabangan menuju ke seluruh gate di councourse D dan E. Percabangan itu ditandai dengan seni kontemporer bertajuk “Cosmos” di tengahnya.

Menuju gate D3.
HIA skytrain.
Seni kontemporer ala Perancis bernama “Cosmos”yang melambangkan budaya traveling dunia.

Akhirnya aku sampai di ruang tunggu gate D3 dan menanti Philippines Airlines tiba untuk menjemputku.

Gate D3.

Gimana Hamad International Airport, Megah sekali kan?

Kuwait Airways KU 621 dari Kuwait (KWI) ke Doha (DOH)

Rute Kuwait Airways KU 621 (Sumber: https://www.radarbox.com/).

Dini hari….Masih jam 03:14….Suasana di Kuwait International Airport begitu damai dengan alunan musik instrumental yang mendayu-dayu. Sepintas aku merasa berada di suatu sisi Changi International Airport yang kerap memainkan musik yang sama.

Tiket yang kudapat sejak di Bahrain International Airport.

Aku mengambil duduk di kursi tunggu paling ujung, merasakan pengar hidung yang masih menyisakan flu. Flu teraneh yang pernah kualami seumur hidup. Kala itu pertengahan Januari, sedangkan COVID-19 mulai merebak sebulan sebelum aku berada di Kuwait….Bahkan aku berinteraksi akrab dengan warga Tiongkok Daratan yang sedang berangkat kerja menuju Oman beberapa hari sebelumnya di Dubai International Airport….Ah entahlah!

Aku dan 12Go….Partner sejati.

Pengeras suara mulai memanggil nomor penerbanganku. “Terlambat setengah jam”, batinku merespon. Aku mulai mengantri untuk memasuki maskapai “Burung Biru” itu. Ini adalah penerbangan keduaku bersamanya setelah sehari sebelumnya aku menungganginya di rute Bahrain-Kuwait.

Melintasi aerobridge.
Business Class.
Economy Class.

Aku terus mengintip ke arah bangunan Terminal 4. Yang terbayang adalah betapa dinginnya di luar sana ketika melihat embun melapisi setiap inchi badan pesawat. Sementara di sebelah kanan tampak Airbus A330 sedang melakukan proses yang sama.

Bangku 13K, penamaan bangku yang aneh (ABC-HJK).
Alburaq inflight magazine menemaniku terbang sejauh 568 kilometer.

Setelah melalui 30 menit proses boarding, akhirnya perlahan aku meninggalkan Kuwait dan menyisakan keindahannya dari udara. Kuwait Airways terbang meninggalkan mainhub nya.

Pagi yang cerah dengan indahnya lampu kota.
Selamat tinggal Kuwait.

Inilah penerbangan Kuwait Airways yang ku reschedule pada kisah sebelumnya.  Tiket seharga Rp. 957.500 yang sudah kupersiapkan sejak 9 bulan sebelum penerbangan. Satu hal lain yang menjadi keisenganku saat memesan tiket pesawat adalah mencoba berbagai jenis makanan. Kali ini aku memesan Diabetic Meal (DBML),  makanan rendah gula dengan sedikit garam beserta buah dan sayur kaya serat.

Aku bukan penderita diabetes tetapi penasaran ingin merasakannya saja….Hahaha.
Menonton Gemini Man selama terbang.
Suasana kabin selama 1 jam 40 menit penerbangan.

Pagi yang cerah di sepanjang Teluk Persia memberikan penerbangan yang nyaman hingga memasuki wilayah udara Qatar. Kuwait Airways mulai merendah dan menyibak muka Doha yang terang dengan warna-warni cahaya bumi.

Bersiap menapak di Doha.

Aku tiba di Hamad International Airport tepat pukul 04:45. Pahatan Teddy Bear raksasa berwarna kuning yang tertancap di tiang listrik adalah hal pertama yang kurekam tentang bandara ini. Aku ingin segera melihatnya.

Merapat di parking lot.

Di pagi yang dingin, para ground crew tidak menyediakan aerobridge untuk penerbangan ini. Penumpang harus turun ke apron bandara dan bergiliran menaiki apron shuttle bus. Begitu keluar pintu pesawat, badan terasa ditusuk udara dingin tanpa ampun. Apalagi aku harus menunggu bus berikutnya demi menuju arrival hall.

Airbus A320-214.
Tiba di arrival hall dalam 12 menit.

Aku terus melangkah mencari Teddy Bear kuning itu ketika sebagian besar penumpang mengantri di toilet atau berebut bagasi di conveyor belt. Akhirnya aku menemukannya, walaupun tidak bisa mendekat karena boneka itu berada di area departure hall.

Tak mengapa, aku akan berfoto dengannya saat pulang nanti.

Selamat Datang Doha!