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AA Qatar Award buyer beware (ensure baggage allowance)

AA Qatar Award buyer beware (ensure baggage allowance)

Old Jun 19, 2023, 7:01 am
  #1  
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AA Qatar Award buyer beware (ensure baggage allowance)

Here is the short version:

1. Booked two F (saver) one-way awards using AA miles on Qatar Airways between BKK and VIE (routing: BKK DOH, DOH VIE). Booking was made around early April.
2. Showed up for my flight in BKK about 5 hours early and proceeded to the F check-in counter (June 15th), I was the first customer for the day.
3. While waiting to get our boarding passes the check-in agent called in a supervisor and had an exchange in Thai that I couldn't understand.
4. I checked in two pieces of luggage but the agent informed me that I have no luggage allowance in my first class fare (something I have never heard or experienced before. And I travel a lot, both revenue and non-revenue!)
5. I requested a copy of the contract of carriage and the fare rules governing my baggage allowance. My request was repeatedly denied by agent and the supervisor. The supervisor also refused to identify herself, citing privacy concerns.
6. I figured that I'd pay for the luggage and then deal with the airline to address the issue after I arrive at my destination.
7. Proceeded to load my luggage on the belt (two roller carry-on Tumi cases, combined 39 kg) and was quoted ~ $1565.00 (USD) for the two pieces of luggage. 1kg = 1360 THB x 39 kg = 53240 THB.
8. I refused to pay and requested the station manager and a printout (again) of the luggage conditions and the contract of carriage for my fare. Refused again. The supervisor then claimed to be the station manager.
9. Requested that they check my fare with Qatar Airways' ticketing office but my request was refused. There was nobody else at the F check-in line and plenty of time to contact Qatar's ticketing office.
10. The same supervisor also informed me that they will weigh in my backpack and my wife's purse and if we exceeded 7 kg ea., they will charge us at the same rate for the excess carry-on.
11. I requested again, a station manager and a call to their ticketing office, again refused. The same supervisor advised me to call American Airlines (the airline issuing the award) and sort the issue out.
12. I promptly refused the pay, took the luggage from the belt and left the check-in counter.
13. I called AA and was given 32 minute waiting cue. After connecting, I explained the situation the AA agent who was just as surprised as I was, stating "I've never heard anything like this". At that point I requested the baggage policy for my award ticket but this was not something the AA agent could readily produce. I was placed on hold for about 20 minutes after which point the call was dropped. There was no attempt from AA to call me back. Luckily I was advised that I can cancel the award and get my miles refunded back without any issue (as long as I don't fly).
14. I called AA again, this time I was given 42 minutes of wait time and I placed myself on the callback cue.
15. While waiting for the callback from AA, I managed to get two business class seats to Vienna for the same evening via my United Airlines MP account.
16. AA called me back after about 40-ish minutes and I canceled my Qatar award. My miles were credited back to my AA account within 24 hours without any issues.
17. AA representatives were highly professional and courteous, both times but I could not get to the bottom line issue of my luggage allowance.
18. The staff at BKK servicing Qatar Airways and specifically the anonymous supervisor was unprofessional, rude and disinterested in resolving the issue. I can clarify the entire experience as dehumanizing.
19. Needless to say, my first impression of Qatar Airways, an airline I have never flown, would likely be my last impression.
20. I have directed my company to avoid Qatar Airways for its future business travel.

I hope this post could save some headaches for future travelers in the same predicament.

Cheers=Delta141
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 8:01 am
  #2  
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Given that this was an AA award -
the fare rules and baggage allowance are between you and AA - it is AA that failed to include baggage allowance
With zero allowance, the QR staff were quite correct in assessing baggage fees on a per kilo basis for that journey - excess fees are high
refusing to refer to QR ticketing saved you time since it was nothing to do with QR ticketing
Your problems were those created by AA and is there that you should address

It sounds like QR staff simply acted factually - if you wanted to check luggage in, then you had to pay for it
I would expect the staff to be disinterested - they shouldn't be having opinions on who caused the problem
That they wouldn't just cave in to complaints does not make them umprofessional - it would have been unprofessional to just give in to people who complain enough

If AA's service had been high quality and professional, you would not have had the problem of having been issued a ticket that had no baggage allowance
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 8:01 am
  #3  
 
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dealing with award tickets on partner airlines can and will always be a mess..
happened to me on a MLE to DOH on qatar.. AA it seems didnt issue the ticket properly..
but unlike i your case... the staff was very helpful.. and had us sorted.. with about 15 mins to spare
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 8:29 am
  #4  
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What did your email confirmation say?

QR is a great airline for the most part. However, their ground staff are like asking chat GPT for an answer, they have zero capability to think and will keep repeating the same thing on loop. IROPS can be frustrating with them

Last edited by Antarius; Jun 19, 2023 at 8:55 am
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 9:19 am
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This is not a new issue for AA rewards. Most ground staff will realize that this has to be a mistake and just check your bags anyway. But if you are unlucky and get a stickler for the rules, then its usually too late to try to have AA fix the issue.

The e-mail confirmation you receive should have a baggage allowance issued. If it does not, then call AA to have the ticket reissued with a correct baggage allowance.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 9:45 am
  #6  
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IIRC this is actually an Old Issue that AA side has problems to properly include baggage allowances with the tickets issued to Qatar. There is bugs in AA system when issuing tickets to fly QR. Really are known issues for several years.

If the OP googles it he would find A Ton of such issues in the past, long BEFORE Covid. I am really surprised that this issue is still not fixed after these many years.

The lesson learned here, ALWAYS check the baggage allowance on the ticket - whether it is an award or a revenue ticket - do NOT take it for granted. I have a feeling that if the OP goes over his tickets AA sent at the time of booking, he would be shocked to see the baggage allowance was Zero. Had he done that he would immediately contact AA to get that error corrected, like so many had done so in years past.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:07 am
  #7  
S.R
 
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Hm I'm also flying BKK-DOH in QR F on AA award in a few weeks. No checked bags, but I have heard the BKK check in agents ask to weigh F carry ons and force pax to check them in if too heavy. If that ends up happening, I will need some checked luggage allowance!

How/where can I see on my email confirmation if it was ticketed properly with the luggage allowance?
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:16 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by S.R
Hm I'm also flying BKK-DOH in QR F on AA award in a few weeks. No checked bags, but I have heard the BKK check in agents ask to weigh F carry ons and force pax to check them in if too heavy. If that ends up happening, I will need some checked luggage allowance!

How/where can I see on my email confirmation if it was ticketed properly with the luggage allowance?
Look at the bottom of your AA confirmation email.

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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:18 am
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I must have redeemed over 2 million asia miles on QR and not once have i experienced any such thing. The real incompetence lies with AA. If they had ticketed it right you would never face what you did. Well its a learning experience. Good luck on your future travels
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:25 am
  #10  
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I agree that the issue is more likely on the AA side or some system integration issue between AA and QR. There are too many possible failure points to be completely certain exactly who is at fault.

The reason I posted my story is to hopefully help others avoid the same issue. Check your tickets, call the airline and re-ticket before you show up at the airport.

As far as QR front line service people at BKK, I've seen better humans.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:31 am
  #11  
S.R
 
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Here's what I see. Guess I do need to have it re-ticketed. Hope this isn't too much of a pain, I feel like the agent won't understand what I'm asking


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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:33 am
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Thank you for OP. I will stay away from Qatar for both cash or award tickets
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:50 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Given that this was an AA award -
the fare rules and baggage allowance are between you and AA - it is AA that failed to include baggage allowance
With zero allowance, the QR staff were quite correct in assessing baggage fees on a per kilo basis for that journey - excess fees are high
refusing to refer to QR ticketing saved you time since it was nothing to do with QR ticketing
Your problems were those created by AA and is there that you should address

It sounds like QR staff simply acted factually - if you wanted to check luggage in, then you had to pay for it
I would expect the staff to be disinterested - they shouldn't be having opinions on who caused the problem
That they wouldn't just cave in to complaints does not make them umprofessional - it would have been unprofessional to just give in to people who complain enough

If AA's service had been high quality and professional, you would not have had the problem of having been issued a ticket that had no baggage allowance
Dave, thank you for your post. I do agree that AA likely originated the issue. I am not quite sure how you come up with the 'complaints' section of your post. I personally prefer when staff is interested in helping with solving problems. I do realize that not everyone shares the same values and that's OK. I wish to alert others to this issue and encourage checking baggage allowances on award tickets, even in first class. That was the lesson for me.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:51 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by unfrequentflyer
Thank you for OP. I will stay away from Qatar for both cash or award tickets
I wouldn't take that step personally.

QR is still the best airline (or top 3) in terms of overall flight experience. Just keep an eye out before traveling and cross check your tickets.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by unfrequentflyer
Thank you for OP. I will stay away from Qatar for both cash or award tickets
Ummm... that isn't my take away, particularly as someone that never checks a bag. My takeaway is "measure twice, cut once."

Regards
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