Qatar Air / controlling and non-informative
On 19 Dec 2010 my wife and I originated travel from Kuwait to London, England. The first segment of this trip is Kuwait to Doha, a roughly 1.5 hour flight. We checked in on-time in Kuwait and was handed boarding passes for both segments without much comment other than detail of color coded terminals in Doha. Durign the boarding process we noted that our Doha to London boarding pass reflected a 6+ hour delay but was assured this would be addressed in Doha. We made inquiry with the agent but was told that it would be addressed in Doha as the Kuwait office did not have any detail. Upon arriving in Doha, we found that nearly all Doha to London flights had been cancelled for the past 6 hours and that Heathrow was closed. We were herded to the appropriately color coded terminal, flight services counter with the thousand other travellers but after waiting in line for nearly an hour, the best the agent could do was ask us to wait until a bit later to see if we could be re-booked. When pressed to find why they allowed us to board the flight in Kuwait, the agent said they did not have that information and there were other customers waiting. In discussing this with other passengers from prior cancelled flights, still waiting for re-booking, we concluded that Qatar waites until 1 hr or less from the flight departure time prior to deciding on hotel accomondations...so our original 1+ hour connection, delayed to 6 hours, now required waiting at the gate departure lounge per direction... with a few hundred others from 3 prior cancelled flights... pending disposition. A frucus started on three different occassions as the agents walked to the exit door and awaiting shuttle bus(s) before yelling for this or that flight to London (QR001, QR011, QR112?). Those passengers allowed to push through the herd was allowed to board a shuttle bus for hotel assignment. We waited... asked them what was going on a few times and if alternate flights could be booked to other destinations... but the agents had been well versed in not offering information and making sure that people stayed in place. When our turn finally came to board the bus, we were escorted to the baggage claim area and assigned a hotel for the night. Once again any question of when they or how they would contact us at the hotel was diverted without answer. Even the hotel check-in was less than informative. Yes, Qatar Air, yes many delays, many travellers, the airline would contact them when they have infiormation for us. The next morning we called the front desk. No, Qatar had not called. We called Qatar... no information available and the best they could suggest is a possibility of booking on a 8:30 am flight the next morning but they could not confirm this now. We called our corporate agent and booked a flight from Doha to Paris where we thought we would have more choices. Did we note that Doha has very few options other than Qatar Air?? We requested a shuttle to the airport and checked out. The hotel staff was reluctant as ... Qatar did not advise them that we could leave or that a flight had been booked. Be that as it may, we boarded the shuttle for the airport... but jsut befire it departed the hotel, the Hotel Manager jumped on board and said they would hold our room as Qatar didn't provide re-booking information and they thought holding the room would be best. We took the flight to Paris (departed on-time). Stayed in a airport hotel, took the airport shuttle to the train station, the train for Calais, a taxi from the train to Ferry station, bus from ferry to train station in Dover, and train from Dover to London...arriving the evening of day 3. In questioning Qatar on the flight home about refund for the cancelled segement??? They confirmed that the record showed we had flown it.
As it turns out... Qatar was able to fly 2 days later but as they had already booked passengers on those flights, they needed to fit the few thousand delayed passengers into the vacant seats on those flights... hence the lack of advise.
Tried to make a claim for the missed segment in Londaon. Nope, had to be done on line. Tried to pursue it on-line. Sorry... we dont have that information... try Delta or United but please make sure you have your color coded boarding pass and carry-on tage visible at all times while in Doha.
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