Once upon a time, I wrote a relatively poor review of the Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Class lounge in Doha. It was a surprise to me to discover I didn’t find the lounge as amazing as reviews suggested.
On the return journey, I had a short connection in Doha – made a little tighter by the slightly late arrival of my flight. In fact, I would have about 70 minutes or so in between flights.
Once through the flight transfer screening at Doha I decided to head to lounge. After an 18 hour flight from Auckland, I wanted to use the fast wireless Internet and hit the spotless toilet facilities. From there, I planned to head immediately to my gate.
To access the lounge, your boarding pass is scanned at the bottom of an escalator then you go up one floor. Imagine my surprise on reaching the lounge level to hear, “Mr. Trent! Hello! We’ve been waiting for you!”.
Wide eyed with surprise I turned to see a lady dressed in black who subsequently introduced herself as the lounge manager. I knew exactly why they were waiting for me, my not so good review. I couldn’t help but to laugh as this was all so unexpected.
On the review visit I had not dined in the restaurant and this omission was clearly going to be rectified. Despite the fact I was full of food from flying the long Auckland to Doha flight, the staff were not about to take no for an answer.
A seat by the window was clearly being held for me and an Arab couple were being shooed out as I arrived. I sat down and water was offered then Champagne – they had boned up on my preferences. I had both and sat using my phone. The staff were on a mission to make me try the food, so I selected a soup, being the lightest option.
Once done, the staff urged me to try more so I selected a tiny dish from the buffet and ate it. Around this time I cottoned on to the fact they really wanted me to try everything and review it. Pulling myself together, I got up and selected a little of each of the 8 hot dishes on offer, took pictures of them and sat down and ate it all.
Meanwhile I had also mentioned the fact my connection was pretty tight. “Don’t worry, we will take care of it!”, was the response. Eventually it was time to leave but wait, there’s more! The staff presented dessert and I died a little inside. How the hell was I going to eat this? I stuffed in about two thirds of it to be polite before the Manager came back.
A surprise photo of me with the lounge staff was requested and I agreed to it, which I presume is to prove to Management that I had a good time. Next it was back downstairs to the main concourse.
Whisked To The Gate
You know those electric buggies you see zipping around in airports with people in them? Well for once I was the person being whisked about and we speedily headed off to the gate.
I arrived at the very end of boarding as the last passenger for the last bus to the aeroplane. I waddled up the stairs in the midnight Doha heat, still somewhat shell shocked by the whole experience and flew off to Frankfurt.
Service recovery is something I know about, having worked in customer service. This was completely off the charts. The element of surprise coupled with genuine service really took my breath away.
The whole thing was quite bewildering, but one of those experiences I will never forget. It is the only time I have ever been acknowledged for being a travel blogger in all the flights I have done, so a nice memory to cherish.
I’d love to know what would have happened if I had trashed the lounge in my review. I’d probably be an advisor for the airline now! I am joking… thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.