Qatar Airways offers the only nonstop flights between Doha and Boston. Doha is also a popular city for connections as the airline increases the number of flights between the United States and Doha. If you opt for a stopover in Doha, here are a few cultural highlights.
Souq Waqif: It’s a taste of what shopping would have been like before much of the city center was razed to build skyscrapers. The labyrinth of booths and cafes includes vendors selling clothes, carpets, spices, nuts, and pots and pans, along with birds and rabbits. But please, don’t try to sneak those birds and rabbits on the plane.
The Museum of Islamic Art: The museum has ceramics, textiles, glass, and paintings dating back 1,400 years. The unique building that houses the museum is also a work of art. Architect I. M. Pei designed the structure when he was 91 and took inspiration from Muslim architecture.
Villaggio Qatar: Yes, it’s a mall, but oh what a mall it is. It’s a bit like Venice, if Venice wasn’t sinking and was relocated to Las Vegas. There are gondola rides and a gondola theme park with a ferris wheel, Viking ship, an ice skating rink, and pretty much everything else. You can also find any luxury brand you can imagine.
The airline has come under fire from the Washington-based Alliance for Workers Against Repression Everywhere, or AWARE, for alleged human rights violations against workers by the airline and the State of Qatar, which owns it. AWARE alleges abuses in the country, including withholding wages from workers and preventing them from unionizing or organizing protests. There were also complaints regarding Qatar Airways’ treatment of female employees,
At an event in Boston last month, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker defended the company’s treatment of its employees.
“We wouldn’t have 42,000 people working for the company if it wasn’t the company of choice,” Baker said. “Of course there are always going to be people who see the negative, but on any given day, we get 5,000 hits on our recruitment site.”Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.