Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Letter to Qatar Airways

I couldn't sleep last night because I kept thinking of what I was going to say to Qatar Airways about our lousy treatment. I just emailed the following letter...

Dear Sirs;

I flew your airline for the first time on the 14th of July. I was very impressed with the flight attendants. They were very professional, courteous, and always smiling. The food served on each flight was probably some of the best I have had on an airplane. I am a pilot myself, and in my opinion, all the landings made were some of the smoothest I have ever experienced with an airline. After a long flight from Jakarta to Doha via Singapore, the good feelings I had of your airline came to an abrupt end.

We arrived in Doha in good spirits, and with our CONFIRMED RESERVATIONS, we proceeded to the transfer desk to receive our boarding pass to Athens, Greece. After a long wait at the desk, we were told that Qatar Airways had overbooked our flight to Athens. The agent at the desk said that is was of no fault of our own, and that the airline was responsible.

We were then given no other choice but to take another flight to LONDON delaying our arrival time in Athens by more than EIGHT HOURS. Instead of a three hour flight to Athens, we crossed Europe TWICE to get to Athens, not to mention a long wait in the London Heathrow Airport Terminal waiting for our connecting flight. We were seated in the very back row of the airplane next to the toilets when there were several empty seats in Business Class.

Because we arrived in Athens very late, our hotel we had previously booked had cancelled our reservations. We had to walk the streets of Athens after midnight looking for another Hotel. Because we arrived late in Athens, we were unable to make boat reservations for our trip to Santorini. We had a hotel booked for the 16th of July, and had no option but to fly to Santorini to make our reservation time or we would have lost those reservations as well. The additional flight cost us more money than we had planned on spending to get to Santorini. My wife, traveling out of Indonesia for her first time, became so stressed, that she wanted to cancel our vacation and return to Indonesia. In short, because of your airline's mistake, our short and much needed vacation, began a nightmare.

I have traveled all over the world on hundreds of planes, and I have NEVER heard of passengers being bumped from a flight without compensation. For an airline that is ranked the SIXTH best in the world (according to your magazine), and striving to be one of the best airlines in the world, how can you possibly treat your customers this way?? At a MINIMUM, we should have been offered Business Class seats to London as compensation for Qatar Airway's mistake. I have never been so angry in my life for the way we were treated. I was in shock, and still am in shock over the events that passed.

I plan on sharing this letter as a "Letter to the Editor" with every major newspaper around the world along with every website I can find concerning travel. I will wait, however, until I hear a response from Qatar Airways.


Scott Graham
Jakarta, Indonesia
Z3S26F (reservation change)


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Anonymous said...

Did you ever get a reply or some compensation? We have also had a similar nightmare with Qatar airways...

On Dec. 22 6:30am we checked in on flight 613 in Bangkok scheduled to fly out 8:15.
The plane was basically empty. We departed from the gate, got on the runway only to hear the captain say we were returning because of engine problems.

After a 3 hour wait they said the flight was being cancelled and we would return to the gate. In the terminal the attendants just kept insisting that the airline would address all our needs including connecting flights and travel.

By 2pm they finally got us to a hotel and we got a meal after a 6 hour wait (this would end up being our only meal in 12 hours). We sat a the hotel till 17:30 when they called us up and said we would return to the airport, where they would check us on the next Qatar flight at 8:30 pm. When we asked about what to do about our train tickets from Athens to Bulgaria which we would now miss, they said "all will be taken care of in Doha"

We arrive in Doha before midnight and now start dealing with managers who could care less about our problems. They insisted that their only obligations were to get us to Athens and we should be happy that they just get us there safe, no matter how late we arrive. We spoke to 3 managers. They all insisted there was nothing they could do but we could present our case in Athens to the Qatar staff. (They said they would send a report to them, but the staff in Athens said they never received anything. Somebody was lying...)

The following morning at 7:30 we depart for Athens and arrive in Greece now 20 hours late. On arrival we find we have no baggage. How much worse can it get?
When we explained our story to the Qatar staff, there they listened with empathy (for the first time). They tried to phone the train station about our train tickets but couldn't reach them so they encouraged us to go ourselves and try to get on the train, insisting that our tickets could still be valid. When we arrived at the station, surprise, surprise, there was a big sign saying due to the Christmas holidays all trains are sold out. As a matter of fact we couldn't reserve a seat until Dec. 29. Now we were stranded in Athens.

That evening we managed to book a flight to Sofia for Christmas morning.
The next day (24th) we returned to the airport to see if our bags had arrived, which they did, but one of them had holes in it from the trip. The Qatar staff said that this was normal and there is nothing they could do.

Now we had lost our patience with this airline. We finally arrived home 3 days late, lost our train tickets, had to buy another flight out of Athens and had a damaged bag. All this and the answers they kept giving us was, "Sorry, we wish we could help you but we can't!"

We have now sent a complaint to the airline (no reply yet), and also to several papers hoping that we can get some kind of justice.

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