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My flight from Dallas landed around 3:00pm in Terminal A and I made my way to Terminal D to check-in with Qatar. Although I had received my boarding passes when I checked-in with American in Kansas City, the agents suggested I still visit the Qatar counter to pickup boarding passes printed on their stock.
The trip took about ten minutes of walking and riding the funky underground train.
Qatar's ticket counters were located at the end of the terminal, next to Emirates.
Though we had about three and a half hours before departure, the line was quite long with most passengers making use of the airport baggage carts. I appeared to be one of the few, if not the only passenger who was not checking a bag!
Neither of the lines were marked, though the check-in staff did have a paper list at the entry to the business class counter to verify who was allowed access. Even with several passengers ahead of me being asked to move back to the economy line, it still took about fifteen minutes before I reached the counter.
Qatar Airways Check-In
The friendly agent seemed quite happy that I wasn't planning to check a bag. She mentioned that her record for most bags checked was 22 among a family of three. Each person receives two bags free of charge, though bags 7-22 each cost $250! The terminal even had a tax back counter, allowing passengers to reclaim the taxes they paid for items purchased in the United States.
My boarding passes were printed, lounge invitation signed and I was on my way, though not before the agent went in the back and brought out plastic Qatar Business Class luggage tags.
In Houston, Qatar uses the Executive Club Lounge, located near gate D4. Inside, a Qatar agent took my lounge pass and then offered me a wifi code.
The agent also mentioned that she would keep an eye on my seat assignment. The seat next to me was empty and had been showing as blocked when viewed on ExpertFlyer. With a few empty seats in the Business Class cabin, I hoped that the seat next to me would remain empty.
Inside the lounge, it was broken into a few different section. To the left, there were three blocks of seats, followed by a quiet room at the end of the hallway.
Houston Executive Lounge Seating
Houston Executive Lounge Seating
Houston Executive Lounge Quiet Room
The wifi in the lounge was surprisingly fast, allowing me to get some work done before boarding the fourteen hour flight to Doha. The first thirty minutes of my lounge visit were quite productive...and then a family with four kids arrived to the lounge. The next two hours saw the lounge turn into a playplace, as the kids ran up and down the lounge, screaming most of the time.
The bar offered complimentary alcoholic beverages and even had champagne available. Knowing that the stuff offered on Qatar would be much better, I just grabbed a bottle of water.
The lounge offered a buffet with hot and cold items, with some more surprising than others. Before they were eaten by the (out of control) kids, the hot buffet offered chicken tenders and zuchini fries. Later on, the tenders were replaced by vegetable egg rolls.
Houston Executive Lounge Buffet
For a U.S. lounge, the food was surprisingly good. Like the offerings at the bar, I didn't partake too much, but it was more than sufficient. I think the only downside would be the lack of bathrooms. Passengers must exit the lounge and use one of the bathrooms available in the terminal.
Shortly before boarding, I took a walk around the terminal to see all of the international 'metal' parked at Terminal D.
Emirates Airbus A380
At 6:15, the Qatar representative in the lounge announced that boarding was available for Business Class & oneworld elite passengers. I packed up, walked across the hallway to gate D4 and was quickly onboard the flight to Doha.