The Qatar Airways Lounge Dubai Vanishes Into Thin Air!

Filed Under: Qatar

A week ago several Gulf countries cut ties with Qatar, which certainly caught a lot of us off guard. One of the implications of this is that Qatar Airways has been forced to discontinue all flights to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain. It goes beyond that, though. The UAE isn’t even letting non-Qatari planes use UAE airspace if they’re flying to or from Doha. Heck, in the UAE “sympathizing with Qatar” is even punishable by a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Last year Qatar Airways opened a wonderful new lounge at Dubai Airport Terminal 1.

Qatar Airways’ own lounges are among the best in the world, especially at outstations. I flew out of Dubai Airport Terminal 1 today, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who was curious how the airport authority has chosen to handle the Qatar Airways Lounge. It goes without saying that the lounge is closed, but to what lengths did they go to pretend it never existed? Well, quite some lengths, at least in some ways.

I’d say they did a pretty shoddy job hiding it on the airline lounges sign…

…and also on the terminal map.

However, they did a significantly less shoddy job masking that the actual lounge ever existed. They removed all the lettering from the outside of the lounge (previously it had Qatar’s name on it), and the only thing remaining is the oneworld logo with a black line drawn through it to cover the word “oneworld.”

The lounge had a sign on it that simply said “CLOSED.”

As a point of comparison, here’s what the lounge looked like when it opened:


Wow! When this started I’m sure many of us were wondering whether this would be a 24 hour conflict or maybe a decade long conflict. It’s certainly not the former. I do find it interesting that they chose to remove the actual lettering from the lounge, rather than just cover it with something, which suggests to me that they’re not expecting this to be a temporary thing. Then again, it could also be primarily to send a message to Qatar.

  1. You know what, Ben? UAE are showing themselves to be the pitiful little pampered children they actually are. I’m done with Etihad and Emirates. Screw them. These are like bullies in the school playground we all grew up with. And where are they today? Nobody knows their names.

  2. No no no, you did it all wrong! You’re supposed to knock three times and whisper ‘Delta isn’t as good as you’ for them to open the door to let you in

  3. @Steven M
    I don’t think Emirates or Etihad has to do anything with their government officials banning Qatar. On the other hand maybe people should stop flying Etihad and Emirates maybe Saudi and Gulf air too? Although i doubt that’ s gonna happen,i agree that this is like children’s playground, everyone’s showing how big their “Gentleman’s sausage” is. 😀

  4. @Steven M
    I dunno about you, but I am actually relieved to see this approach as opposed to the way the middle east has traditionally settled their differences. Economic disengagement is a whole lot more civilized. I also don’t think you can blame the countries imposing the ban. It is their belief (and they are not alone) that Qatar is funding terrorists. From their perspective, by continuing to do business with Qatar, they are helping fuel the wealth that is funding the terrorist organizations.

  5. The airport employees have to demonstrate being more loyal than the proverbial king.

    Also, the airport is basically an asset owned and operated by the ruling family/families of the country and so are showing the true colors of the place.

  6. Rob,

    This blockade of Qatar is being run by the Saudis an Emiratis and their prostituting/prostitute-like vassals. Saudi Arabia is a much bigger problem on the global terrorism scale than Qatar; and the UAE is also a much bigger problem on the global terrorism scale than Qatar. Perhaps Saudi Arabia and the UAE should note the dangers of throwing stones from glass houses, as they are doing — something that informed parties ought to know and admit if being honest.

    The Saudis and Emirates are upset at Qatar for Al-Jazeera and its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they are most upset because Qatar isn’t as hostile to Iran and Shias as Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Saudis and Emiratis aren’t blocking Qatar because they are hostile generally to terrorism — rather the Saudis and Emirates (along with Egypt) gave us Al-Qaeda; and the Saudis and Emiratis were supporters of the Taliban; and the Saudis and Emiratis are major supporters of various militant outfits in Iraq and Syria, including Al-Qaeda fellow travelers waging battle against Shia-led governments.

    Interestingly these attacks on Qatar have come as Qatar Airways has grown at a faster clip last year while Emirates and Etihad have been struggling in relative terms against Qatar Airways. The Emirates get jealous easily, and seeing little Qatar end up copying and outperforming the Emirates’ “champions” can’t be easy for the Emiratis to swallow.

  7. @GUWonder – Hey and don’t forget that Qatar had quasi-recognition of Israel, even allowing Israel to establish a trade office in Qatar in 1996, only closed in 2000 because of the Second Intifata. That really infuriated the other GCC members. Although relations with Israel went downhill fast since then, even today Israelis can visit Qatar and fly on Qatar Airways, which they cannot do with any other GCC country. This is nothing more than Saudi and UAE getting back at Qatar for being the black sheep, using terrorism as a pretext, knowing they have full backing of the United States, as a diversionary tactic to keep eyes off their bloodied hands from the terror cookie jar.

  8. Chandan Bhat

    Its not much of an ease of the restriction. Bahrain FIR is not only Bahrain territory, but much more. All of Qatar and much of the Gulf is included in Bahrain FIR. It is a FIR with Bahrain name on it. Bahrain FIR cant restrict Qatar flights, except over territory that prohibit such flights. In international airspace and over territory that dont restrict the flights, they must allow them. The new restrictions prohibit flights to fly over Bahrain territory. If Bahrain FIR restrict flights from more than their territory, they’d lose administrative rights of the airspace. For example the state of Qatar could demand that their airspace became Qatar FIR.

  9. It took less than a week for SPG to leap into bed with Emirates ,by offering bonus points for linking accounts.

  10. @Steven i dont know about you but funding terrorist organizations isnt something good in my book. They’re doing the right thing by pressuring Qatar to stop being stupid and work towards peace in the middle east & the rest of the world. Unless you like terrorism, you should be supporting this measure too.

  11. Yeah Schar, which terrorist organisations, name them and I will support this reprehensible move by Saudia and UAE.

    I am 100% with @StevenM and @GUWonder, I will continue to support QR, they are a cut-above the far too big EK and the try-hard’s at EY ( I think they are on the verge of collapse after their “investments” in AZ and AB, LOL ) Who was responsible for those decisions? Get rid of her! LOL.

    Supporting QR causes minor inconvenience and like I said the other day, Fuck the UAE and Fuck Saudia.

  12. You know, when it comes to the closer of aerospace, there are loop holes to it. Companies often register there aircrafts offshore to avoid these political problems.

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