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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 5, 17, 4:19 am
Moderator: InterContinental Hotels and Germany
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Originally Posted by QR27 View Post
Ah have just seen suspension until 6th June on the website. I'll hang on till then.
Currently the alert page (http://www.qatarairways.com/us/en/travel-alerts.page) says 23:59 UTC on June 05 which equals 02:59 Qatar Time for flights to Saudi Arabia (only).

At least now ...
FLYGVA is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 4:22 am
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Originally Posted by VH-RMD View Post
EY are saying refund or rebook at no charge to another EY port, no mention of rebook to another carrier.

Just booked some contingency flights on WY to get from DOH-DXB for EK/BA flights to LHR/DUB.
You'd be thanking your lucky stars you got onto that DOH-CMB-MCY etc fare for the summer holidays when you did! Could have been nasty otherwise with this issue...
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:25 am
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Originally Posted by Reds2011 View Post
You'd be thanking your lucky stars you got onto that DOH-CMB-MCY etc fare for the summer holidays when you did! Could have been nasty otherwise with this issue...
Indeed, although that was CMB-MCY with a separate DOH-CMB UL sector. Thankfully UL are not part of all this.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 4:44 am
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Lots of news online and news networks about this but not much from QR.

I have two upcoming trips this month.

7 June. Man-Doh-Bkk (onward to Bkk on 9 June)

29 June. Man-Doh-Dxb

With the current developing news I fear that the Dxb trip could be cancelled if the ban is still in force. Anyone give any implications for the first trip. I haven't had any correspondence from QR yet.

steviewire is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 4:56 am
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Libya has just joined in, I guess no DOH-TIP flights now?
DanielW is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 4:57 am
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Originally Posted by steviewire View Post
Anyone give any implications for the first trip.
MAN-DOH-BKK no problem.
LukeO9 is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:09 am
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Pretty poor response from QR thus far - they should have had a statement out in few than the ~8 hours it's been since the reports started coming in.
Vitriol01 is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:14 am
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QR DOH-AUH/ DXB flights and back are zeroed out for 6 June as of now, but not on/ after 7 June yet. Nothing similar for RUH, CAI etc yet.
Keter is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:23 am
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This is a very serious situation, unprecedented with KSA closing the borders.

- Qatar could now see a food and water shortage.

This is very bad news for SoQ and everyone living there.
delfindo is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:23 am
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Bringing it back to Tier Points and lounges :-)

... so KWI, BEY seem like they will be OK. Also Iran/Iraq destinations (not on my personnal destination list as yet even on a TP run)

... are there any other QR SH F destinations unaffected?

It seems to me like almost the entire 'F' offering of QR has just been grounded (apart from the A380s) - looks like the Al Safwa will be empty!

Will also make SH TP runs a little trickier
catharsis is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:24 am
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Originally Posted by Vitriol01 View Post
Pretty poor response from QR thus far - they should have had a statement out in few than the ~8 hours it's been since the reports started coming in.
I'm currently in Dammam, KSA. I'm scheduled to fly DMM->DOH->BOS on QR on the 21st with my family. If the ban is still in place, should I expect QR to reroute us through Kuwait, Muscat or elsewhere? Would buying a flight from DMM through Kuwait or Muscat to Doha with the intention of securing availability and meeting our DOH->BOS leg be advisable?

Any advice about what should customarily be expected from the airline in such a situation would be appreciated.

Andrew Crouse is offline  
Old Jun 5, 17, 5:25 am
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Apparently Maldives joining in as well? As a side note, I find it curious that it is Bahrein that controls Qatar's airspace when, by country size, should be the other way around.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 5:27 am
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Maldives has indeed been bought off and is part of the anti-Qatari alliance, and I'm wondering what the Saudis and Emiratis have managed to do with the India government too, since the Maldives is traditionally in the Indian sphere of influence. DOH-MLE is a casualty of those lined up against SoQ/QR. If the Maldives moved in line with what India may have been asked to do too and ends up going as have the Maldives, then QR's market is going to dry up very quickly.

Originally Posted by delfindo View Post
This is a very serious situation, unprecedented with KSA closing the borders.

https://twitter.com/PressTV/status/871655351573258240 - Qatar could now see a food and water shortage.

This is very bad news for SoQ and everyone living there.
Food costs will rise big time indeed. And QR's cost of catering with it.

Reports are that 40% of the food coming into Qatar comes via Saudi Arabia. A "starve them" approach by some of Qatar's neighbors will increase QR's costs of operating and have direct implications for QR's catering. Air and sea lift of consumables via Iran won't do it for QR and the rest of the Qataris without a huge increase in price and/or shift in product range/quality.

Last edited by GUWonder; Jun 5, 17 at 5:34 am
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Old Jun 5, 17, 5:29 am
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This could be a game changer for the middle east..and not a good thing.

I can't imagine how they are going to get out of this mess (Qatar).

But this is bad.
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Old Jun 5, 17, 5:45 am
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If the political spat follows through, then by the end of the week, we could see many QR Aircrafts sitting on the tarmac.
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