Qatar Airways — experience and luggage
Re: CAS-942449-Z6S6K9 CRM:[protected]
Good day Louise,
I thank you for you e-mail and for sending my request to Cabin Services, they were more than gracious on our flights to Larnaca, Cyprus.
Sadly, we have endured the most awful experience once we arrived at our destination and it carried through to late in the evening of 28 July 2018.
Upon arrival, we waited for our luggage at the carousel and nothing arrived. Eventually, my husband, Noel, was called to baggage reclaim and there the assistant, Christina, informed us that all 3 suitcases had not accompanied us on our connecting flight from Doha.
We were informed by Christina that as soon as the second flight from Doha arrived, our luggage would be sent through to our residence in Paphos which is approximately 1 and a half hours drive from Larnaca International Airport in Larnaca.
We were assured our luggage would be with us by 21:30 and we were to sign a document we hadn't had the opportunity to read through. The document handed to us before departing, is the PIR (Property Irregularity Report) and the form and instructions to submit a claim for missing or damaged luggage which is to be submitted to Qatar Airlines. In addition to this, we were given €43.00 each for the inconvenience.
We departed Johannesburg @ 19:40 on Friday evening during winter and arrived in Larnaca in summer and could not even take a shower to refresh due to not having our toiletries and clothing to change into.
Our daily medication too, was in our suitcases which concerned us greatly as my husband needs to medicate with 2 different types of blood pressure tablets and this experience was contributing to his blood pressure rising and being erratic.
Around 19:00, my husband called Qatar Airlines at Larnaca airport but to no avail as there was no answer.
Eventually, he managed to get in touch with Swissport and spoke to a lady called Miss Panayiota of Swissport Baggage Services Centre who did her utmost to assist us and this is where things got really intense as we we informed that customs wanted to check the luggage as they suspected food in the cases. It must be documented that at the time of signing the document indicating that we were informed of the luggage situation and receiving monies, we were asked if we had anything to declare in the luggage to declare to which, I, Petra Abendroth advised that there was 1 bottle of wine to which another gentleman at the counter replied that 1 to 2 bottles are acceptable and anything more would requiring declaring. Therefore, we were confident that all would be well. This is as not to be the case at all.
Swissport informed us that Customs had stopped the luggage and we were requested to give our combinations of our locks on the luggage in order for them to carry out their inspection.
As we declared 1 bottle of wine during the incident of the luggage not even sent from Doha, we were informed that Customs suspected that the luggage had food stuff and they deemed it necessary to carry out an inspection.
We were surprised by their request considering we had been patient and fully co-operated with all requests up to this point.
We had paid to have all suitcases wrapped in plastic at O.R. Tambo prior to checking in our luggage as we know of many instances that the baggage handlers forcibly steal from suitcases at the South African transit and as a precaution, it is better to have all suitcases plastic wrapped so that no one can tamper with a passengers luggage without their knowledge.
As we have been victims of 2 hijackings and an armed robbery in South Africa, we are vigilant and ensure the safety of ourselves and our belongings. At this point when we were notified of the inspection due to suspected food stuff, we were concerned than there had been a violation of our luggage between South Africa and Larnaca and were adamant that something was seriously wrong and could have been exposed to someone trying to plant something in our luggage as it never arrived and could have been violated. Our level of trust does not exist and we demanded that our luggage be opened in our present as we did not understand what was transpiring at the airport as we were not present.
We fully understand that Customs have the right to carry out their duties however, the stress which we endured and the levels of frustration by not being able to represent ourselves was beyond belief.
After many phone calls and uncertainty, the one suitcase was opened while we were on the phone live with Miss Panayiota, and with the insistence of Customs, we were forced to offer up our codes to the lock.
Customs apparently opened the suitcase and then shut it immediately.
This experience is rather infuriating as number one, our luggage left with us and due to unknown reasons, never arrived in Larnaca and then we are inconvenienced and were further put through an ordeal, that in our opinion, need not have happened had Qatar done their job.
What is even more alarming is that we met a couple the same evening who had experienced exactly that same experience upon their arrival in Larnaca from South Africa and I feel strongly that Qatar need to address their processes with passengers from South Africa and if there are time constraints with the intransit, why then does Qatar continue to operate in the manner that they do by making a passengers' flight experience so unpleasant and frightening.
As a post morten to this experience, I would like to comment that "Together we go further" is an understatement. Qatar seems to exist their passengers to more than is required or necessary in getting them and their luggage to their destination.
We are flabbergasted that Qatar have received the following awards:
2018 Skytrax World Airline Award for worlds best business class; best first class airline lounge; best airline in the Middle East and best business class seat. We cannot attest to these accolades as we merely flew economy class and were exposed to the worst possible experience for any traveler.
At this point in our holiday and the time we have taken to process this experience, if we had the means to cancel our return flight in order to book tickets with Air Emirates or Gulf Air we most certainly would.
We shall actively share our experience on Social Media to alert the public of what we have endured and caution them to select their carrier carefully especially seeing as this type of incident seems to be a common occurrence.
Please will you advise what email address we can address this matter to at Qatar Airlines as we would like to take this matter further within the echelons of Qatar Airlines as they may not be aware of their shortcomings.
We appreciate your assistance with this and reiterate that we shall not be considering Qatar for our future trips and travels as the experience has been rather traumatic for all 3 of us when we should be having a relaxing and happy holiday.
We look forward to your prompt response to the above and await the email address where we need to address this experience with.
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