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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 Jun 5, 17, 4:00 am
  #106  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Will this affect my CPH-DOH-SIN journey on 17th June? I don't really mind if the CPH-DOH takes longer it will mean more sleep!
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:03 am
  #107  
 
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Originally Posted by Gomac View Post
Will this affect my CPH-DOH-SIN journey on 17th June? I don't really mind if the CPH-DOH takes longer it will mean more sleep!
Nothing to worry about except maybe a bit more time in the air.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:03 am
  #108  
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Originally Posted by Gomac View Post
Will this affect my CPH-DOH-SIN journey on 17th June? I don't really mind if the CPH-DOH takes longer it will mean more sleep!
Almost certainly, but there is even some chance that the stand-off gets resolved well before Ramadan is over. Personally, I don't mind the CPH-DOH flight becoming longer too -- rather I welcome it as I'd get more sleep too. I just hope that QR adjusts its schedules to make the onward connections work more smoothly under the circumstances.

Sort of amusingly, the QR "transit stay" program may be getting more customers than would have otherwise happened. Can't say that staying in DOH in the summer was my idea of fun, but I don't really fancy these kind of situations where passengers' travel is disrupted for concerns that are degrees removed from travel concerns.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:04 am
  #109  
 
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I see all the promotions on Qatar airways home page for traveling from the UAE has been removed...
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:08 am
  #110  
 
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Originally Posted by QR27 View Post
I'm due to fly RUH-PHL via DOH. I want to keep the DOH-PHL sector and can reroute via Muscat or Amman. Do you reckon I should call or give it a few days. Not flying for another 3 weeks
Very hard to advise here. This issue could get resolved in days...then again.
I would reroute, but make absolutely sure Oman and Jordan won't break relations as well.
Could someone with political knowledge of the area state categorically?
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:08 am
  #111  
 
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I have a HND-DOH-CAI followed by a CAI-DOH-BRU with only 8 hours in Cairo. I wonder if I could cancel the CAI round trip and stay in Doha or take an earlier flight...

Qantas allows to get points for originally booked itinerary so I would still get what I paid for in term of status credit.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:08 am
  #112  
 
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I think this may have a lot more implications for the network integrity of Qatar Airways than mere inconvenience. With all the overflight restrictions in place, it is hard to see how Qatar will maintain it at all. With Qatar government money, it will of course survive but I wouldn't want to be a private investor in Qatar Airways ;-)
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:09 am
  #113  
 
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Originally Posted by QR27 View Post
I'm worried that I book that then MCT and AMM join in. Also wonder if QR will just cancel my whole booking as I won't use the first sector. Will wait and see and hope it will be fine. I really can't see how this can last as it will cripple QR. Worst time of year for it! Eid and summer holidays coming up!
I would guess that MCT would be the least likely to join in, but impossible to predict with any accuracy. Booking a refundable fare ex MCT would be the way I would go as cheap insurance. At present I would expect QR would be grateful to get any revenue at all, so might let the 1st sector slide, otherwise they would have to issue a full refund. Which becomes an issue in itself with QR famed (not) customer service.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:09 am
  #114  
 
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the problem will occur if Iran retaliates in sympathy with Qatar. As you can see every flight to Europe and beyond goes through Iranian Airspace. The alternative if say Emirates were refused entry to Iranian airspace would be over Saudi and Iraq, which due to shoot down concerns, airlines have avoided. It could become a real problem.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:09 am
  #115  
 
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Originally Posted by LukeO9 View Post
Very hard to advise here. This issue could get resolved in days...then again.
I would reroute, but make absolutely sure Oman and Jordan won't break relations as well.
Could someone with political knowledge of the area state categorically?
Very unlikely Kuwait or Oman would. Jordan possibly plus Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:11 am
  #116  
 
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Got a CAI-DOH-CPT (and back) scheduled in less than two weeks so gave them a call. Agent said I don't have to worry and need to ignore the news. Only flights to Saudi are impacted and flight schedules to all other countries will remain in place...

Of course many things can happen in the coming days. I'll follow it closely and ask for a reroute if CAI-DOH will be cancelled. The friendly agent repeated about 10 times that I don't need to worry and that they'll solve it if needed. We'll see....
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:11 am
  #117  
 
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Originally Posted by Reds2011 View Post
Nothing to worry about except maybe a bit more time in the air.
Not even more time in the air, since Iran & Turkey not involved.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:12 am
  #118  
 
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Oman and Jordan have been reticent to join spats in the past and the Sultan of Oman has been instrumental in resolution previously.

Both countries are certainly more liberal in their behaviour than the other Gulf states (understanding Jordan is not actually a Gulf state).
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:13 am
  #119  
 
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Originally Posted by Mr_Ed View Post
Very unlikely Kuwait or Oman would. Jordan possibly plus Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
Good info.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:13 am
  #120  
 
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Originally Posted by LukeO9 View Post
Could someone with political knowledge of the area state categorically?
Anyone with even passing political knowledge of this area knows there is no such thing as a categoric statement particularly when it comes to this sort of issue!!!!
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