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Australian Women Accuse Qatar Airways of Overstepping Boundaries with Exams

Australian Women Accuse Qatar Airways of Overstepping Boundaries with Exams
Joe Cortez

A group of Australian flyers say they were strip-searched and given paramedical exams at the orders of Qatar Airways, after a newborn baby was discovered abandoned at Doha Hamad International Airport. The flyers claim all women were ordered off a flight and given a brief exam to determine if any of them had recently given birth.

The Australian government is calling upon the nation of Qatar to investigate an alleged incident aboard a Qatar Airways flight, where all women were allegedly forced off the aircraft and subjected to a strip search and examination. The Guardian reports the incident happened aboard Qatar Airways Flight 908, bound from Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) to Sydney Airport (SYD), after an abandoned newborn was discovered.

Australian Government “Deeply Concerned” By Accused Activities

According to women who were aboard the flight, the flyers were kept aboard the aircraft for three hours after boarding, without an explanation. That’s when they say the women were requested to leave the aircraft.

Prior to departure, airport officials say a discarded, premature newborn baby was found alive in the terminal. Because the child was left alone and the potential existed that the mother was still present, medical officials wanted to identify the party who gave birth.

Accounts by those aboard the flight say the women were taken to a private area of the airport, though the accounts are conflicting. One report by Australia’s Channel Seven says 13 Australian nationals were given exams in an ambulance on the runway, while others say they were taken to a room in a basement. In all situations, the women claim they were forced to strip while medics felt their abdomen to determine if they recently gave birth. According to Channel Seven, none of the women were told of the child prior to being examined.

“The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent,” a spokesperson or the Australian Foreign Affairs Office told The Guardian. “The government has formally registered our serious concerns about this incident with Qatari authorities.”

The Guardian reports as many as 34 Australian women were subjected to the alleged searches. Eyewitnesses to the incident say the women returned to the aircraft upset, with at least one in tears.

Airport and Airline Provide No Comment on the Allegations

While the airport provided no comment on the purported strip searches and exams, officials did confirm that the child is still alive, and are asking anyone with information about the mother to step forward. The baby is in the custody of doctors and social workers.

The airline itself has not made a public statement on the allegations. In response to a request for comment by The Guardian, a spokesperson said the airline has not been contacted by anyone claiming to be affected, but would be “investigating these matters.”

View Comments (6)


  1. OZFLYER86

    October 27, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    women & gays should never ever fly on these ME airlines.

  2. Kuttermax

    October 28, 2020 at 4:52 am

    Well scratch Qatar off the list of an airline that I would consider flying on.

  3. weero


    October 28, 2020 at 5:46 am

    That must be the yet most grotesque invasion of privacy any airport authority came up with so far ….

    I hope this crime can get investigated and reconstructed (the numbers in the article are conflicting). I guess if 34 Australians were affected by such treatment that the overall number is much higher.

    And what do the same authorities mean with “the child is still alive”? Did they not expect that ??? Well given their medical team, perhaps not…..

  4. scotymac


    October 28, 2020 at 5:36 pm

    Why is this not making more news then on Flyertalk?
    Shameful way for a company to treat women, that airline is off my “to fly” list.

  5. J S

    November 1, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    “Overstepping boundaries”? Is that what you are calling sexual assault? Perhaps Hurricane Katrina was a little windstorm.

  6. ozgal

    November 6, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    This topic has been widely addressed by the Australian Government at high level, and so it should.

    There would NO WAY, I would allow an ‘Internal’ examination by ANYONE that I have not authorised.

    Basic Human rights were not applied here, but are we surprised!

    These women up to age 60+ were subjected to the most embarrassing situation ‘Without’ being advised the reason.
    Laughable really to the rest of the Modern World and given that this country blindly enacts the command from above, to disembark passengers without a reason, is deplorable.

    I don’t care If the next flight out of there was weeks away, there are avenues available to bring to the immediate attention of the Australian Government with Consulate assistance urgently enacted at the first sight of this disgusting,despicable event.

    I’m aware that the Australian women (possibly others) were traumatised by this event, and of course the recourse of liability cannot be taken individually, unless you have ‘Rothschild’ as your last name!

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