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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
Print Wikipost

Old Jun 13, 17, 11:22 pm
  #781  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Doha, Qatar
Programs: Qatar Airways Privilege Club Platinum; Accor Le Club Platinum
Posts: 718
Originally Posted by C17PSGR View Post
latam a350?
The QATAM 350s were renumbered to effectively become QR planes. Also, the crew are QR not LATAM. Plus, they fly DOH-MUC and DOH-Spain routes so not too affected by the flight ban.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 11:46 pm
  #782  
 
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Originally Posted by SullyofDoha View Post
Interesting. Egypt has just announced that airlines not registered in Egypt or Qatar would be able to use Egyptian Airspace and fly between the two countries. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...105550769.html
I wonder if Qatar Airways will be creative enough to wet lease a few planes to fly those routes!?
The UAE has announced something similar, but I'd surprised if a wet lease work around by QR would qualify. I think this applies to someone like Oman Air who were taking the long way around on MCT-DOH after the initial restrictions were put in place. They now fly over the UAE again on that route.

The embargo bans "all Qatari aviation companies and aircraft registered in
the state of Qatar" from landing or transiting through the airspace of the
Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the statements published
by the national news agencies of the three countries.

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/air-em...tion-authority

I also noticed today that it appears that Bahrain has opened up another route in/out of DOH. In addition to the straight route north towards Iran, QR flights are now also taking the north western corridor in Bahraini airspace that follows the KSA coastline.

Both measures should ease congestion in and out of DOH.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 12:12 am
  #783  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Originally Posted by Davee58 View Post
In contrast to other people, I have had a terrible experience with Qatar, I have waited as they requested, but now 24 hours before my scheduled flight they have refused point blank to reroute me or provide anything other than a refund, or the option of being re-routed and dumped in Muscat.
Yes, I can see that having to try and organise everything at the very last minute would be a complete pain, and may not result in the desired outcome, as well as incurring potentially large additional costs for accommodation, connecting flights, etc.

I could be in a similar position, ticketed in J from ADL to HBE in the near future, and I also have another 3 business class tickets on QR starting/ending in Egypt coming up in the next few months.

Rather than living with uncertainty until the very last minute (or beyond), I am tempted to cancel all my tickets, get my money back, and rebook with Star Alliance carriers (I am UA lifetime plat).

I know it's early days, but does anyone have any experience of getting a full refund (without any deductions) for tickets cancelled after this airspace closure? I'm aware of how to apply for a refund, but am just wondering how good or bad the actual process might be...
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Old Jun 14, 17, 2:31 am
  #784  
TPJ
 
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Originally Posted by extramileage View Post

The embargo bans "all Qatari aviation companies and aircraft registered in
the state of Qatar" from landing or transiting through the airspace of the
Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, according to the statements published
by the national news agencies of the three countries.
So after Eid, KU and WY will grab a few QR aircraft, repaint them and fly as KU/WY between EG/KSA/BAH/UAE and DOH

If not KU/WY, I am sure someone will grab this opportunity sooner or later (hello Ryanair Arabia )
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Old Jun 14, 17, 3:18 am
  #785  
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I have to say that I have lifetime gold with Qantas, so I enjoy benefits when flying Emirates. And I do love Emirates lounge much better than Qatar so Emirates would win my business when the fare is the same between Emirates and Qatar.

But, following this episode, I no longer wish to fly Emirates or Etihad. Qatar would be the only choice for me if I have to fly the ME routes. As a passenger, I just do not like the way UAE and KSA deciding to inconvenience civilian passengers. I know my voice carries very little weight and Emirates would not care if they loose a passenger over the dispute. However, I think I will stand with my decision for my lifetime.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 4:23 am
  #786  
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Originally Posted by chongcao View Post
I have to say that I have lifetime gold with Qantas, so I enjoy benefits when flying Emirates. And I do love Emirates lounge much better than Qatar so Emirates would win my business when the fare is the same between Emirates and Qatar.

But, following this episode, I no longer wish to fly Emirates or Etihad. Qatar would be the only choice for me if I have to fly the ME routes.
Once you're flying on QR, you'll like the Al Mourjan and Al Safwa lounges. Never been in an Emirates lounge, but AM and AS are really quite nice.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 5:57 am
  #787  
 
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Originally Posted by chongcao View Post
......I know my voice carries very little weight and Emirates would not care if they loose a passenger over the dispute. However, I think I will stand with my decision for my lifetime.
I also no longer fly EK (since early April) because of other issues. QR gives me better service/treatment/value for money.

Besides, on 2 week end flights between DOH and DXB, QR re-routed me through MCT and now through KWI. At no charge . Cancelling the two QR booking was not on the table and QR has been very accomodating in re-routing me.

In summary: ^ to QR and to EK
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Old Jun 14, 17, 5:59 am
  #788  
 
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Originally Posted by Dr. HFH View Post
Once you're flying on QR, you'll like the Al Mourjan and Al Safwa lounges. Never been in an Emirates lounge, but AM and AS are really quite nice.
Agreed with the AM venue and especially AS :-:
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:22 am
  #789  
 
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Reflections

I have flown quite frequently with all the ME3 and used to view them as pretty much the same. Long before this incident, I had come to the conclusion that Qatar was a class above the rest. Simply a more professional operation all around. I think they train their staff better and empower them more vis a vis the other two - which admittedly is not saying much but still. Their hub in Doha makes AUH and DXB look like a joke. How anyone can find the lounges in EY/AUH and EK/DXB, either First or Business, as superior to the ones in Doha is living on another planet than me. I once lost a personal item on a QR flight and had never expected to see it again. Then, I received an email from QR saying they had found an item which they believed to be mine ! Amazing.

I think Qatar's response to this incident has shown its unparalled resilience and quality of staff. I think Etihad would have folded operationally faced with a similar situation and their current management.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:48 am
  #790  
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Originally Posted by chongcao View Post
I have to say that I have lifetime gold with Qantas, so I enjoy benefits when flying Emirates. And I do love Emirates lounge much better than Qatar so Emirates would win my business when the fare is the same between Emirates and Qatar.

But, following this episode, I no longer wish to fly Emirates or Etihad. Qatar would be the only choice for me if I have to fly the ME routes. As a passenger, I just do not like the way UAE and KSA deciding to inconvenience civilian passengers. I know my voice carries very little weight and Emirates would not care if they loose a passenger over the dispute. However, I think I will stand with my decision for my lifetime.
This situation has indeed motivated me to choose to fly QR instead of EK or EY (or SV), when facing otherwise largely comparable options for my travel bookings. Any reason I would have otherwise had to avoid QR would be just as applicable or more applicable to EK and EY; and it would be even more extremely applicable to SV.

That QR is in Oneworld was already drawing me more away from EK and EY than would have otherwise been the case.

QR's handling of the situation has inspired the kind of confidence in the carrier that I wouldn't have expected to have. But I still have questions about the character of that character who is the QR CEO.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jun 14, 17 at 7:49 am
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Old Jun 14, 17, 7:25 am
  #791  
 
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I had an award booking CMN-DOH-DXB then DXB-DOH-PVG in business. I was still in Morocco when the incident happened, I called QR US office and they rebooked me on LH to DXB and CX to PVG in business. Too bad that I didn't get to fly QR metal but pretty glad that everything worked out fine. I guess EK and EY are off the table for me in the future.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 11:38 am
  #792  
 
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Adding another data point.

AUH-DOH-DPS by QR rebooked to DXB-HKG-DPS by CX.

Last edited by msm2000uk; Jun 16, 17 at 1:38 am
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Old Jun 14, 17, 11:02 pm
  #793  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Just flown DOH-JNB (Johannesburg) with hardly any problem. Probably a 30-minute increase in the flight time because of the longer route out of DOH. Service in Business Class tip-top as usual. Cabin crew could not have been faulted. HIA was a bit quieter probably because of Ramadan and ?the present political situation. Al Mourjan lounge quieter also and very pleasant. Staff bent over backwards to assist.
We have booked another 3 longhaul trips on QR up till Feb 2018 without hesitation.
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Old Jun 15, 17, 1:35 am
  #794  
 
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Originally Posted by Grace B View Post
Rather than living with uncertainty until the very last minute (or beyond), I am tempted to cancel all my tickets, get my money back, and rebook...
Just a little update.

When I contacted the QR Australian call centre number yesterday I was told bluntly that nothing could be done until 24 hours before my DOH-HBE flight. Not very helpful, I thought.

So I thought I'd try again today (HUACA and all that). Well, the initial response (from a completely different person, but still with an Indian accent) was pretty much the same. Then I suggested that if they could change my booking to a nearby but open port, it would save them and me time and money, and not to mention a little bit more certainty, so I could get on with planning my travels.

This seemed to do the trick. I mentioned that I would be happy to have my destination changed to BEY (in A class). The agent went away to check if this was possible, and came back a few minutes later saying, yes, OK. So my ticket was changed to a flight to BEY with a 3 hour connection in DOH, which then allowed me to book another ticket (on A3) from BEY to ATH/FCO on the same day. Somewhat more convenient than my original booking.

The moral of the story seems to be that if you don't want to be stuffed around at the last minute, ask nicely for your ticket to be changed to a nearby origin/destination, and then make your own arrangements for onward travel, etc. Just don't let them browbeat you into accepting this "24 hour rule".
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Old Jun 15, 17, 2:11 am
  #795  
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Originally Posted by Grace B View Post
The moral of the story seems to be that if you don't want to be stuffed around at the last minute, ask nicely for your ticket to be changed to a nearby origin/destination, and then make your own arrangements for onward travel, etc. Just don't let them browbeat you into accepting this "24 hour rule".
I am guessing this in Economy? My guess is that their default is to simply not confirm the flight, then refund the flight afterwards.

Seems a bit disingenuous especially when they are still selling ex-DXB etc. fares for later this year, but have no certainty if they can actually fly them.

An article in today's local paper saying that Qatari's are selling their Dubai properties for 20% off and taking big losses so seems optimistic that the situation will be back to normal anytime soon.
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