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Old Feb 28, 12, 6:29 am   #1
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Qatar passenger thrown into Qatari jail for complaining about staff noice

Interesting (and rather frightening) article from Le Monde about a passenger with a bad experience on Qatar Airways - I have not seen this reported in the anglophone press. Translation is as follows.

Headline: "On Qatar Airways, One Doesn't Play With Authority"

Summary: Louis Thevenin, Director of the Alliance Francaise in Cebu, Philippines, spent 30 hours in a Doha prison for a simple verbal altercation with Qatar Airways flight staff.

The incident began on QR 657 (Cebu to Doha) on 16 February. Mr. Thevenin, a gold-card holder and business-class passenger, was woken up by laughter. He said, "The captain had left his post and was flirting with the stewardess, with a beer in his hand, in the galley."

With the noise continuing, Mr. Thevenin complained to a steward, who replied, "You can only change your seat, place yourself further away." The head steward arrived and said he could not do anything, as it was the captain. Furious, Mr. Thevenin threatened to cause a scandal if the pilot did not stop. He won, and went back to sleep.

Mr. Thevenin was supposed to change planes in Qatar and then continue on to Dubai and Paris. He was intercepted by police upon arrival in Doha, and taken to the central police station. Accused of having a threatening attitude against Qatar Airways staff, his cell phone was taken away and he was incarcerated in a jail without a window and with a filthy mattress.

His cellmates were the "untouchables" of Qatari society: the immigrant workforce who comprise 85% of the population and only have the right to work and to be quiet. Mr. Thevenin said, "Two Nepalis had been there a long time - one because he had gone out with a woman with whom he was not married, and the other because he had written an expletive on his Facebook page. There was also a Syrian who had been a day late renewing his visa. I thought that I was going to languish in prison for months like them."

Fortunately for Mr. Thevenin, French-Qatari relations are excellent. He was released at 4:00 AM on 18 February, after a fast hearing and a 500 riyal (100 euro) fine. He said, "If I had not been European, I would still be in my cell." At the airport, a final inconvenience awaited him. Qatar Airways had cancelled his tickets for Dubai and Paris. Closed over the weekend, the airline did not respond to our request for follow-up. Mr. Thevenin stated, "I lost close to US$15,000 in this story." Welcome in Qatar![/I]

--------------

It will be interesting to see if the Qatar Airways staff on here respond, and how. The usual "respect the local culture" arguments don't cut it here. Numerous questions abound - why the captain was drinking, the abuse of power by the airline and the police, the number of foreigners in prison for minor infractions...

Original article (in French):
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/...8393_3218.html

Last edited by NYCBizTraveler; Feb 28, 12 at 9:23 am
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Old Feb 28, 12, 9:08 am   #2
  
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Captain drinking

Put in jail for FB comment
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Old Feb 28, 12, 11:32 am   #3
  
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I have seen several stories liike this, e.g.,the famous one about the British couple in Dubai who were supposedly jailed just for kissing on the beach, which conveniently left out the rest of the story.

I am always skeptical, and believe that there is more to the story here, too. You wouldn't know it from Le Monde, a news source probably biased to the French alleged victim -- they apparently didn't seek any other side of the story, and felt compelled to add some gratuitous commentary about Qatari society, which they apparently also didn't fact check. I don't believe for one second that one would be thrown in jail for writing an expletive on his Facebook page. And I have lived in Qatar, and dealt with the legal system, for three years.

Plus, a minor factual qualm: Qatar Airways does not sell tickets from Dubai to Paris, so they couldn't have cancelled his ticket to Paris. Presumably he was on QR from CEB-DOH-DXB, connecting on another airline to Paris. But this just seems like sloppy journalism.

I hate to sound like a Qatar apologist, but, even in Qatar, one can count on a small amount of basic common sense, which we should apply to the "numerous questions [that] abound."
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Old Feb 28, 12, 12:38 pm   #4
  
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I was initially shocked at first, but I too am waiting for the full story.

As present it just sounds very sensationalized.
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Old Feb 28, 12, 4:25 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by mecabq View Post
I have seen several stories liike this, e.g.,the famous one about the British couple in Dubai who were supposedly jailed just for kissing on the beach, which conveniently left out the rest of the story.

I am always skeptical, and believe that there is more to the story here, too. You wouldn't know it from Le Monde, a news source probably biased to the French alleged victim -- they apparently didn't seek any other side of the story, and felt compelled to add some gratuitous commentary about Qatari society, which they apparently also didn't fact check. I don't believe for one second that one would be thrown in jail for writing an expletive on his Facebook page. And I have lived in Qatar, and dealt with the legal system, for three years.

Plus, a minor factual qualm: Qatar Airways does not sell tickets from Dubai to Paris, so they couldn't have cancelled his ticket to Paris. Presumably he was on QR from CEB-DOH-DXB, connecting on another airline to Paris. But this just seems like sloppy journalism.

I hate to sound like a Qatar apologist, but, even in Qatar, one can count on a small amount of basic common sense, which we should apply to the "numerous questions [that] abound."
I've flown a DXB-DOH-CDG with QR ! Why QR wouldn't sell it ?
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Old Feb 28, 12, 6:22 pm   #6
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The point is that the guy threatened to cause a scandal.. in that he himself was threatening the crew... that this happened. He should have just perhaps brought up the matter after his arrival in Paris - and that to the newspapers or airline. But then again, after this incident, I am sure there will be much publicity at least in France !!
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Old Feb 28, 12, 8:25 pm   #7
  
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Originally Posted by G_G View Post
I've flown a DXB-DOH-CDG with QR ! Why QR wouldn't sell it ?
The article says, "Mr. Thevenin was supposed to change planes in Qatar and then continue on to Dubai and Paris." I doesn't seem that he was scheduled to return to Doha again after Dubai.
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Old Feb 29, 12, 12:38 am   #8
  
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Interesting story, but I would like to hear more. The translation is a bit sketchy though. 'he said / she said' stories are always tough, and I think it is probably fair to generally (but not always) side with the crew.

I think the biggest story is the captain with the beer. An on-duty captain with a beer is a serious offense.
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Old Feb 29, 12, 3:14 am   #9
  
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Originally Posted by will2288 View Post
Interesting story, but I would like to hear more. The translation is a bit sketchy though. 'he said / she said' stories are always tough, and I think it is probably fair to generally (but not always) side with the crew.

I think the biggest story is the captain with the beer. An on-duty captain with a beer is a serious offense.
This article is basically a load of racist crap, pardon my English. I am sick of these articles that will generalize a whole country based on one incident. It makes it sound as if the guy got put in jail for no reason whatsoever!

AND NO, I will not be touched and moved and play the violin by the "immigrant-rights Nepalese, Indian workforce" stuff WHICH is unrelated to this case. Why would he mention it in his article? In order to give Qatar a bad reputation. To give the impression that Qatar jails immigrants for no reason?

Qatar police are professional people and take matters seriously when it comes to the saftey of the passengers on board. When a passenger threatens staff of a plane, the staff will take matters by law and call in reinforcements to help the situation.

I was on a flight to Dubai recently, I am not sure if I was on the same flight as the article, where a European man was shoving cabin crew WOMEN and cursing Qatar and Qatar Airways and threatening to blow up the plane. HE was a bit drunk himself. NOW, how would people feel if I said Europeans are drunken savages which is obviously not true???

Come on guys, there are 2 sides to every story. Qatar Airways pilots take their job very seriously.
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Old Feb 29, 12, 6:51 am   #10
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Quick reminder of the FT TOS, which can simply summed up as: stay on topic, comment on the post made not the poster. Accusatory language or personal comments will be removed without notice by the respective mods.

Thank you for your understanding. Now back to the on topic discussion.

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Old Feb 29, 12, 8:02 am   #11
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Originally Posted by QatarA340 View Post
This article is basically a load of racist crap, pardon my English. I am sick of these articles that will generalize a whole country based on one incident. It makes it sound as if the guy got put in jail for no reason whatsoever!

AND NO, I will not be touched and moved and play the violin by the "immigrant-rights Nepalese, Indian workforce" stuff WHICH is unrelated to this case. Why would he mention it in his article? In order to give Qatar a bad reputation. To give the impression that Qatar jails immigrants for no reason?

Qatar police are professional people and take matters seriously when it comes to the saftey of the passengers on board. When a passenger threatens staff of a plane, the staff will take matters by law and call in reinforcements to help the situation.

I was on a flight to Dubai recently, I am not sure if I was on the same flight as the article, where a European man was shoving cabin crew WOMEN and cursing Qatar and Qatar Airways and threatening to blow up the plane. HE was a bit drunk himself. NOW, how would people feel if I said Europeans are drunken savages which is obviously not true???

Come on guys, there are 2 sides to every story. Qatar Airways pilots take their job very seriously.
Well said.

In my experiences, all employees of Qatar including the pilots take their jobs very seriously. Many are ex-BA by the way- so maybe that is why the bashing in French news JOKING.
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Old Feb 29, 12, 8:08 am   #12
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I am gonna call DYKWIA on Mr. Thevenin.... probably caused a drunken ruckus on the flight because he is oh so important, and then was shocked to get what was coming to him ...

Captain with a beer in hand Really... someone would risk their career and livelihood to flirt with an FA
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Old Feb 29, 12, 9:29 am   #13
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I am gonna call DYKWIA on Mr. Thevenin.... probably caused a drunken ruckus on the flight because he is oh so important, and then was shocked to get what was coming to him ...

Captain with a beer in hand Really... someone would risk their career and livelihood to flirt with an FA
I flirted with FAs when I was single and nothing happened...
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Old Feb 29, 12, 11:39 am   #14
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I flirted with FAs when I was single and nothing happened...
Obviously because of your looks, charm, and personality the FAs were loving every minute of it!
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Old Feb 29, 12, 1:02 pm   #15
  
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Originally Posted by QatarA340 View Post

I was on a flight to Dubai recently, I am not sure if I was on the same flight as the article, where a European man was shoving cabin crew WOMEN and cursing Qatar and Qatar Airways and threatening to blow up the plane. HE was a bit drunk himself. NOW, how would people feel if I said Europeans are drunken savages which is obviously not always true???
just kidding...

Still waiting on the other side of the story!
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