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Qatar Airways - UAE, KSA, Bahrain and Egypt withdraw licenses and close airspace

Qatar Airways - UAE, KSA, Bahrain and Egypt withdraw licenses and close airspace

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Old Jul 21, 17, 3:19 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: plunet
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Wiki last updated: 21 July 2017 18:00 UTC

Summary of key traveller experiences and feedback on this forum since Mid-June
  • Policy statement (link) for the travel industry issued 15th June 2017
  • Refund is always an option, but very varied experiences of how quickly the refund is processed, from a few days to "still waiting". Some experiences of passengers being pressurised into taking refunds when this is not necessary if you can wait.
  • If you want to reroute from a closed destination to another middle east destination still served by QR, you might be able to do this as early as 30 days from 1st sector, although we have had reports of rerouting at 6 weeks out.
  • Where QR have to reroute onto other carriers, long haul reroutes typically onto BA, CX and TK seem to be quoted most often. In the Gulf region ME, KU, WY are quoted most often. Although RJ is a OneWorld carrier and should be a parter for QR, they are not accepting QR rerouted tickets.
  • Status of reservations for travel to affected destinations typically changes to "Unconfirmed" 7 days ahead of travel.
  • If your booking was via a 3rd party or agent you probably can't get Qatar to change the ticket until 72 hours before the first sector. 3rd parties and agents seem to be offering refunds rather than rerouting, although there has been some success if you can show them the QR rebooking policy document.
  • There has been a very mixed bag of reports of how QR are handling rebooking. Some people have no luck getting itineraries changed before 72 hours before departure, but others do. So some good advice is to always be polite but if you don't get what you want, then thank the agent for their time and HUACA (hang up and call again) - preferably after you have had a drink and have calmed down, and maybe calling a different office.

Some specific data points from other travellers:
(but there is a lot more valuable information if you can trawl back through the thread)

#753 CAI-LHR-DOH been offered as alternative for ex-CAI 4 days prior to 1st sector.
#772 KUL-DOH-LXR reroute to CAI and IST refused
#792 AUH-DOH-DPS by QR rebooked to DXB-HKG-DPS by CX
#794 Australia-DOH-HBE rebooked as DOH-BEY on QR on 2nd attempt.
#808 CAI>DOH>BOS>DOH>CAI rebooked to KRT and date change
#818 SYD-DOH-CAI changed to SYD-DOH-KWI-CAI, layovers optimed and +Qatar stopover
#830 and #840 Economy ICN-DOH-DXB rebooked onto CX ICN-HKG-DXB
#849 ex-CAI ininaries changed to ex-AMM but needed to HUACA a few times.
#856 CAI-DOH-BKK changed to FCO-DOH-BKK all on QR
#868 DFW-DOH-HBE changed to DFW-DOH-LCA all on QR 2 weeks out.
#906 Unable to get LXR-DOH-HKG-BNE rerouted until 72 hours prior
#927 CAI-DOH-BKK rebooked onto CAI-BAH-AMM on Gulf DOH-BKK (on QR) and return back to AMM
#966 DXB-DOH (award ticket) was changed to DXB-KWI-DOH on Kuwait+QR 48hrs in advance
#966 DOH-CAI (2 award tickets) were changed to DOH-BEY on QR 48 hours advance
#966 CAI-DOH-MUC (paid business) were changed to BEY-DOH-MUC 72 hours advance
#981 HKT-DOH-DWC (J/F tix) change to HKT-DOH-KWI all on QR 10 days out.
#985 ex-LXR ticket rerouted by OTA as CAI-BEY-DOH outside the 72 hr window
#1004 BKK-DOH-CAI in F rebooked as BKK-DOH-BEY in QR F, BEY-CAI in C on ME
#1005 HEL-DOH-DXB rebooked HEL-DOH-MCT on QR and MCT-DXB on Oman once ticket status went to unconfirmed.
#1057 MAN-DOH-DXB rebooked as MAN-LHR-DXB on BA (had to HUACA 3 times)
#1141 Multiple ex-CAI itineraries CAI-DOK-BKK return in J, CAI-DOH-LHR return in J, CAI-DOH-BKK single in F changed to all be ex-KWI. Had to HUACA 3 times.
#1157 LXR-DOH-NRT booked in January, flight changed to CAI-DOH-NRT
#1172 Rebooked CAI-(F)-DOH(J)-BKK to CAI-(C/ME)-BEY-(F)-DOH-(C)-BKK at 77hrs from departure
#1173 Rebooked at QR office HBE-DOH-DPS to HBE-IST-DOH-DPS on TK/TK/QR and improved timing on DOS-DPS segment

Offical guidance from QR website as of mid July:

Passengers who have purchased their tickets from Qatar Airways have the following options to refund their tickets:

For tickets booked on qatarairways.com, they can:
  1. Go to Refund requests;
  2. They can approach their nearest Qatar Airways Office; or
  3. They can call the Qatar Airways contact Centre at +974 4022 0072
For tickets booked through a Qatar Airways Office or through the Contact Centre, passengers can
  1. Contact their nearest Qatar Airways Office; or
  2. Call Qatar Airways Contact Centre on +974 4022 0072
The refund will be made to the original form of payment and the refund will be processed within 14 - 28 days.
Passengers who have purchased their Qatar Airways tickets through a Travel Agency can request their refund from the issuing Travel Agent.
Within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kingdom of Bahrain and Egypt please use: https://refundsapp1.blueivysync.com/...er-refund.html

This is a different web form as the Qatar website is blocked from some of these countries.
For further information and FAQs please visit: http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/e...002369667-FAQs
What Happened

On the 6th of June flights from Qatar to Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (and vice versa) were suspended.

This includes all Qatar flights between Doha and Abu Dhabi, Abha, Alexandria–Borg el Arab, Bahrain, Buraydah, Cairo, Dammam, Dubai–Al Maktoum, Dubai–International, Gassim, Hofuf, Jeddah, Luxor, Madinah, Ras Al Khaimah, Riyadh, Sharjah, Tabuk, Ta'if and Yanbu.

Adding to this at 00:00 (UTC) on the 6th of June restrictions were put in place limiting flights to Doha to one particular corridor through the airspace of Bahrain. This has since been relaxed to two specific corridors through Bahrain airspace with a second corridor up the Saudi Arabia the new addition.

All other flights to other Qatar Airways destinations including the Maldives are still operating although some have delays due to the extended time required to avoid restricted airspace.

There are a couple of routes that are having to make fuel stops in Athens or Muscat but this seems to be dependent on the type of aircraft as well.

Details on the Airspace can be found here - https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/f...ain-and-egypt/

What about my Flights to other destinations?

Flights to Europe, Asia, Pacific and Norte America are operating as per schedule with minimal delays. There is no need to contact QR regarding these services.

Flights between Doha and Souto America are facing delays due to longer times and/or need for a technical stop-over. Flights to GRU and EZE are 2hr to 5hrs longer.

Flight between Doha and Africa/Middle East have longer flights times due to the airspace restrictions. Some routes like Doha to Khartoum have felt the full force of the restrictions with the flight now taking 2hr 30 mins longer than normal.

Qatar has begun to re-time flights to ensure the network continues running smoothly. Changes have been since Monday 12 June 2017, so it is advised to check your flight status and times on the Qatar website.


What about my flight to a suspended destination?

If you are due to fly in the next few days, search for alternative routings and note them down.

24 hours before your scheduled departure time, contact your LOCAL QR office, and ask for their assistance. Advise them that you have found an alternative routing which you would be willing to accept and see if they will book it for you.

If you are due to fly more than 5 days from today, try and relax. Do not panic and please do not call QR as you are blocking the lines for those flying in the next 24 hours. At this stage, Qatar is only offering options to those who are traveling in the next 24 hours.

Currently, people in the thread have suggested that Qatar is rebooking on flights through Muscat, Kuwait, Amman, Istanbul, Mumbai, Beirut, Athens and Tunis.

You can only get a refund if your booking is to one of the destinations listed at the top! (The number of people asking QR on Twitter for a refund of other flights is amazing)

What about other airlines?

Most other carriers in and out of Doha are still operating except for Air Arabia, Air Arabia Egypt, Air Cairo, EgyptAir, Emirates, Etihad, FlyDubai, Rotana Jet and Saudia.

Most other carriers are using the new restricted routes into Doha although provided the aircraft is not registered in Qatar they are allowed to use the Saudi Arabia or Egypt Airspace.

Timeline of Events:


5 June 2017

- UAE, KSA, Bahrain and Egypt withdraw licenses and close airspace
- All MS flights between CAI and DOH was zeroed out
- All GF flights between BAH and DOH closed for sale
- All QR flights between DOH and CAI closed for sale
- All QR staff travel was canceled

6 June 2017

- Airspace Restriction came into effect at 00:00 (UTC)
- All QR flights between DOH and UAE/Bahrain/KSA closed for sale
- QR flights between DOH and MLE still bookable
- QR Charters 3 aircraft from Jeddah to Muscat

7 June 2017
- QR Charters an aircraft from Jeddah to Kuwait

8 June 2017
- Qatar Airways website blocked in the UAE
- Qatar Airways offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain close

11 June 2017
- Second flight corridor added along the Saudi Arabia Coast

13 June 2017
- UAE Relaxes rules allowing non Qatari registered aircraft to use their airspace to/from Qatar but they are still not allowing flights between the UAE and Qatar from any operators.
- Egypt Relaxes rules allowing non Qatari registered aircraft to use their airspace to/from Qatar. The new rules also allow for non Qatar or Egypt registered aircraft to operate flights between the two countries.

14 June 2017
- Agreement between QR and BA/A3 on reticketing passengers (link below)



Further information:
- QR Travel Alert http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/e...bile_site=true
- QR FAQs http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/e...002369667-FAQs
- QR Charter flights arranged from Jeddah KSA to Muscat Oman http://support.qatarairways.com/hc/e...Muscat-to-Doha
- QR agreement with BA & A3 to reticket their flights http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/qatar...r-help-qr.html
- Political background and latest updates: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-40155829
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Old Dec 13, 17, 7:48 am
  #1546  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Doha, Qatar
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Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
This is not a blockade. Aircraft and ships are free to come and go from Qatar. If it was a blockade, they would not be. There are travel restrictions but a blockade is a military action, whereas this is a diplomatic action.

That being said, I was hoping for a breakthrough at the meeting, accompanied by a business class sale to celebrate!
Maybe not a military blockade, but it is economic warfare... :/
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Old Dec 15, 17, 12:22 am
  #1547  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I must say that I am somewhat disappointed with QR's new policy of not re-routing existing bookings ex-CAI. QR stopped selling tickets ex-CAI not too long after the crisis started last June. That means that those of us who have bookings for 2018 must have purchased our tickets reasonably well in advance of our travel dates, and my expectation is that there can't be such an extraordinarily large number of such bookings (at least, compared to the second half of 2017). I had two bookings, one for Jan (CAI-KHI return), the other for Mar (CAI-JFK return) which I hung on to in the expectation that they would be re-routed as had the trips booked for the second half of 2017 (via BEY on ME, and then QR flights from there). Every time I asked QR about the 2018 bookings, I was told that they have not yet issued any policy for how to deal with bookings past 31 Dec and that I should check back in, say, a month. And then, all of a sudden and relatively "late in the day", so to speak, I find that my only option is to get a refund on the 2018 bookings, which I have done, and repurchase tickets for my trips on other airlines (in one case, at considerably greater cost than the refunded ticket, given how much nearer my trip dates now are), which I have also done.
I am also a little puzzled by this new policy. As I said, there can't be that many existing ex-CAI QR bookings for 2018. Apart from the potential loss of good will amongst those of us who had decided to stick by QR with our bookings instead of jumping ship at the first opportunity, it doesn't make sense to me that QR would find it financially more beneficial to itself to refund my tickets in full, rather than pay ME for a CAI-BEY-CAI re-route, for example, and then put me on QR flights whose seats would probably have otherwise gone empty (in my re-routed 2017 trips, I never witnessed 100% loads on *any* of the QR flights I was put on). It doesn't make sense to me.....

Last edited by husseinbadr; Dec 15, 17 at 12:28 am
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Old Dec 15, 17, 1:35 am
  #1548  
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Originally Posted by husseinbadr View Post
......the potential loss of good will amongst those of us who had decided to stick by QR with our bookings instead of jumping ship at the first opportunity.....
While I sympathise with your frustration, I think most stuck with QR - and even went out of their way to fly from Cairo - to take advantage of low fares, sometimes exceptionally low fares, and then stayed with the airline because of its readiness to indulge sometimes quite exotic re-routing.
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Old Dec 15, 17, 3:17 am
  #1549  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK View Post
While I sympathise with your frustration, I think most stuck with QR - and even went out of their way to fly from Cairo - to take advantage of low fares, sometimes exceptionally low fares, and then stayed with the airline because of its readiness to indulge sometimes quite exotic re-routing.
Fares (especially Business Class fares) ex-CAI are, of course, distinctly cheap by international standards. But that is true pretty much across the board for all airlines. QR fares were not particularly cheaper compared to other airlines', at least not for my destinations. In fact, for JFK they were most definitely somewhat more expensive than other reasonable-quality choices available: TK, AF, etc. -- even the ticket I have just purchased on AF to JFK for travel in late February was cheaper than the refunded QR ticket by a couple of hundred dollars, and would have been cheaper still had I bought it at the time I bought the QR ticket months ago. For KHI, fares were comparable to EK's & EY's.
I fly QR, even when they were not necessarily the cheapest, because I like them, and I stuck with tiresome re-routings and five- and six-hour layovers in BEY in the hope that by the time the return portion of my last existing booking was done with (Apr 2018) the crisis would have been resolved, and I would be able to continue flying with them for my next trip after that, summer 2018. Of course, the way things are looking, hoping for the crisis to be resolved by the time one would have to make plans for the summer seems like a forlorn hope at the moment.

Last edited by husseinbadr; Dec 15, 17 at 3:35 am
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Old Dec 31, 17, 4:46 am
  #1550  
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Ireland
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Posts: 366
Well I wanted to post a final follow up to my First Ticket Booked with QR after several calls and emails to their HQ. In a nutshell they won't budge. The flight was originally a First Ticket ex CAI (yes to take advantage of a great fare) to DOH then BKK on A380. I totally understand the political issue is beyond their control but what annoys the hell out of me is when it all kicked off I could have used the ticket (Summer) and flown from CAI to LHR on BA and then onwards. I spoke to an agent and as my dates were flexible I was told the best thing to do would be bank the ticket and there would be no issue in the future as this was a new agreement with QR. I double checked in May and was told yes I could fly from any airport within a few hundred miles of CAI as this was standard policy on QR First Flights if the schedule changed.

Of course when I go to ticket I get the magic ZERO. Sent a complaint to Doha via email and three emails back saying "policy has changed" which basically different words for "we are not keeping to the new agreement we made with you". These things happen and I will of course have to take the refund and just book with a different carrier. Life goes on but it does severely tarnish my opinion of QR. Best of luck to anyone else if they are in the same position.

Happy New Year to all,

Stephen
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Old Dec 31, 17, 9:11 am
  #1551  
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Originally Posted by IrishStephen View Post
Of course when I go to ticket I get the magic ZERO. Sent a complaint to Doha via email and three emails back saying "policy has changed" which basically different words for "we are not keeping to the new agreement we made with you". These things happen and I will of course have to take the refund and just book with a different carrier. Life goes on but it does severely tarnish my opinion of QR. Best of luck to anyone else if they are in the same position.
I certainly understand how you feel; but the fact is that policies do change. "PLT for life" on AA really means, of course, PLT for the life of the program as it is currently configured. Same with Lifetime PLT in Starwood. People over in that forum (including me) are hoping that Marriott doesn't change that. And you're not out anything, -- you're getting a full refund, right?
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Old Jan 3, 18, 3:57 pm
  #1552  
 
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
I certainly understand how you feel; but the fact is that policies do change. "PLT for life" on AA really means, of course, PLT for the life of the program as it is currently configured. Same with Lifetime PLT in Starwood. People over in that forum (including me) are hoping that Marriott doesn't change that. And you're not out anything, -- you're getting a full refund, right?
I totally agree and am ok about it. Out some money as the ticket was purchased using a Euro card but in Egyptian Pounds and the exchange rate has tanked not in my favour and also what really annoys me is they are charging me some Egyptian tax or whatever but I really just am done with the argument and will move along...
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Old May 10, 18, 7:27 am
  #1553  
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This could produce some progress. IIRC, it's the strongest statement to date from the U.S. government. Pompeo’s Message to Saudis? Enough Is Enough: Stop Qatar Blockade.
synd likes this.
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Old May 10, 18, 1:13 pm
  #1554  
 
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
This could produce some progress. IIRC, it's the strongest statement to date from the U.S. government. Pompeo’s Message to Saudis? Enough Is Enough: Stop Qatar Blockade.
We live in hope. The first anniversary of the blockade is fast approaching and as far as I can make out it has achieved the square root of f**k all.
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