Qatar Airways??

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by Dee S, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    Just a little update on Qatar, from "The Points Guy":

    Taking the stage to call itself the “world’s fastest growing airline” (although it doesn’t make the top 10) Qatar held an entertaining press conference Wednesday at ITB Berlin. While the news that the airline had to share this year was much less monumental than last year, that didn’t keep Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker from over-dramatizing the event.

    After a fittingly dramatic unveiling of Qsuite last year, press were invited to an unveiling again this year. With media gathered around, Al Baker noted “our competitors are absent” just before pressing his hand down on a digital screen. Dramatic music built to the climax, a promotional video played and finally a countdown began. Then, the curtain fell to unveil… Qatar’s improved trade show stand. Impressive, sure. But certainly not deserving of the dramatics.


    At the press conference afterward, Qatar shared plenty of new routes, Qsuite plans and more. But, it was Al Baker’s persistent comments about the ongoing blockade of Qatar that were the most memorable part of the event.

    For those unaware of the situation, in June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates suddenly shut down their borders with and closed air routes for the tiny peninsular country of Qatar. Since then, there’s been a slight easing of the air restrictions, but Qatar is still highly dependent on flying in food and supplies. Qatar Airways quickly ordered and took delivery of a Boeing 747-8 freighter to assist with these needs.

    [​IMG]
    Image courtesy of Qatar Airways.
    In his ITB Berlin press conference opening remarks, Al Baker boasted how the blockade has “had a positive effect” on the airline:

    Under these difficult times, how we continue to expand our airline, challenging all odds, when our adversaries thought that we would shrink… as a matter of fact, it had a positive effect.

    Indeed, he went on to confirm: “In 2017, under the blockade, was one of our most successful years.” However, later in the press conference, the outspoken CEO would paint a much different picture of the airline’s results.

    While never identifying them by name, Al Baker also took time to take potshots at Emirates and Etihad throughout the press conference. After announcing Qsuite would be flying to Germany, Al Baker explained all of the benefits of Qsuite before making an aside:

    So, of course, you don’t need to waste your money and fly on the Residence. This is now your Residence at an affordable price.

    While Qsuite truly is “first in business class,” it’s no comparison to the three-room Etihad Residence — or even the spacious Etihad Apartment. But why let something like facts get in the way of a good dig? And that’s disappointing, because Qatar has a legitimate claim of superiority over its competitors. Even a year old, Qsuite is still ahead of the just-unveiled 2-2-2 Emirates business class:

    [​IMG]
    Emirates’ new 2-2-2 business class. Photo by Emirates Airline.
    But, it was the first question of the press conference that prompted the longest rant on the blockade topic. Al Baker clocked a seven-minute response including:

    • “We have not lost anything. As a matter of fact, it is their loss.”
    • “The world should never condone something like [this blockade] ever. Because this is a challenge to civilization.”
    • “People that themselves have been promoting extremism — which is known to the world. People who are funding terrorism — which is again known to the world, intelligence community — are blaming my country for the same thing that they are practicing. Not my country.”
    • “What did it do? It made my ruler an icon. An icon of defiance.”
    Even after receiving applause, Al Baker wasn’t done with his criticism. Pulling out a prepared prop, he pointed out that “the country that felt that we are going to capitulate. That we would be hurt. Actually they are being hurt. When you discount 50%, 35%, 40%… We are not discounting, we are expanding, this shows that it backfired on them and not us.”

    [​IMG]

    After all of this grandstanding, a very different picture of the effect of the blockade emerged. When asked about Qatar Airways’ profits and the costs of the blockade, Al Baker explained that it is costing the airline quite a bit. The airline is spending more on fuel to fly the required longer routes. But also, Al Baker explained the airline is having to up-gauge aircraft on some routes. Instead of flying the narrow-body aircraft that were previously flying on some routes, Qatar is having to use wide-body aircraft — and the airline isn’t able to fill the extra seats.

    Then the hammer dropped:

    Qatar Airways will announce a very large loss during the current financial year which will be ending at the end of this month. But, the airline is financially robust. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of Chapter 11 [bankruptcy]. So, we have to consider and find additional financial stream — investments — in order to continue our expansion, even under the loss. In the right time, we will claim for our losses against the blockading countries.

    When an airline CEO references bankruptcy, things must not be going very well. This also might be meant as an obscured dig at the US airlines that are currently calling for Open Skies agreements to be renegotiated with regards to Middle Eastern carriers — each of which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime since 2006.
     

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  2. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    I did some digging and found the email from early last year. I was wrong, I guess I was thinking $400 per stay when it was $260 per stay. Either way, I have a room in town for $85 per stay. If they have showers in the airport, then we may not leave it, and just make the best of it there?
     

  3. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    I posted this same story in another Qatar Airlines thread, so it's on the website twice. Found the other thread first....

    Thought I'd add some information in regards to Qatar Air. We depart June 2nd for Windhoek, leaving from Houston. Here is a run down of the past 24 hours and I'll try to make this short and to the point, saving you the additional gray hairs and upset stomach.
    After much research, discussion, etc., we opted to go with Qatar Air for a couple of reasons. Main reason, it was affordable and second, only one layover. I purchased the tickets around Sept of last year (2017). Leave Houston on Sunday, June 3rd, arrive in Doha, with a 9 hour layover, then straight into Windhoek, arriving Tuesday, the 5th, around 1000, whereupon our PH would be picking us up. In January, I receive an email from Qatar Air, flight times have changed, please call. I call, they tell me the flight times have changed, arrive now 35 minutes later or something like that. NO PROBLEM I say, I'm good with that. Fast forward to yesterday. I go online to check the flight status, and I see that I'm still leaving on Sunday, the 3rd, but arriving now on WEDNESDAY the 6th!!! WTF!!! I panic, what the heck is this? I call, on hold waiting for about 20 minutes, finally get a lady on line, very nice lady too, and she states that it shows that I accepted the change in flight back in January. WHAT? No I didn't, only the different arrival time, not a different arrival date. She says that maybe customer service can change the flight or issue a full refund. Another 20 minute as they put her on hold. Finally, customer service on the phone with her, she comes back to me. Sorry Mr. Smith, you accepted the changes, nothing we can do. Now I'm really PO'd. I ask for her supervisor and she quickly gets her on the phone, again, a very nice lady. She tells me they can review the audio from that phone conversation in January and if their representative did not explain the situation well enough, then they'd refund the money or try to work with me on another flight, but they no longer fly into Windhoek on Mondays, in fact, she stated they only fly in every other day now. So I tell her to review the tape please and she said to call her back today by 1500 hrs. I go home, settle my nerves, pray to my LORD that HE handles this and just gives me peace of heart with HIS resolution. I also go online and look for alternate flights. Just so happens, Qatar Air flies out of Houston Saturday and arrives on Monday, WITH THE EXACT SAME TRAVEL TIMES AS MY ORIGINAL FLIGHT THAT LEFT ON SUNDAY AND ARRIVED ON TUESDAY. HMMMM???
    I also pulled my notes from that email and phone conversation back in January, which I had at home, and they collaborate what I already knew. That email showed me arriving still on the 5th, not the 6th, and my notes reflect the time differences on departure and arrival times. I call back this morning, ask for the boss from yesterday and I'm told, "sorry Mr. Smith, Suzanne is off today," seriously? Ok, let me speak to another boss and she puts April on the phone. I quickly update her, she reads the notes from yesterdays conversation and she states that the review process takes up to 48 hours, and that hasn't taken place yet. I'm feeling a bit frustrated again, but then I mention that I found the other flights and all I'm asking for is to move our two tickets from Sunday to Saturday. You ready for this? She calmly asks, and in a very polite tone, "Is that it, you can live with that flight and be okay?" I said "Yes Ma'am, surely that's not too much to ask." I hear her start typing in the backyard, she goes silent on me, then asks for our passport numbers. She finds mine in their data base, but my daughters in not listed. She asks me if I could email her the passport number and expiration date tomorrow? I said "Of course, can you change the flights or what? Her reply, "Oh, I've already updated the flights, you leave on Saturday, arrive on Monday, I'm just taking care of your free hotel, on us, for your layover in Doha, that's why I need your passport numbers for the VISA to leave the airport and go out into town." I about fell out of my chair. I'm thinking, why didn't our conversation go like this yesterday?" I told her THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!
    End result, we get an extra day in Namibia, to be tourists, to acclimate, to just relax, and still start our hunt on time and DO NOT have to spend 33 hours in Doha for the layover. Plus, I can cancel the hotel I had reserved in Doha and spend that money in Windhoek.
    I can't speak about their planes, or actual flight service as of now, but I can say, all three ladies I spoke with were extremely nice, very helpful, and really did their best to help me, with the last ultimately coming through for us.
    Counting down now to June 2nd!
     
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  4. Doug375

    Doug375 AH Senior Member

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    I was informed by my travel agent back in February that Qatar Airways had changed its WDH to DOH flight schedule and that they dropped their Thursday flights. I understand that Qatar is not seeing enough demand for their daily service to and from WDH. This means I have to stay an extra day in Namibia and leave on Friday. No big deal, but I was surprised that they offered me nothing for my trouble. No upgrade (OK I asked, but knew the answer would be "no"), no upgrade to the better lounge while in DOH, nothing. My alternative was to get a full refund. That's not appealing since the alternatives all cost more (no doubt they know that.) So, I stay an extra day and incur a bit more cost. I leave in 51 days!
     

  5. raimanparoni

    raimanparoni AH Senior Member

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    Be careful with Qatar Airways. They co-operate with Kulula which dont garry guns
    I and my friend left in East Londons dropping desk by Kulula when we starting to come back home. Happily we have two extra days in our gun permits, and South African Airlines find tickets next day from East London to Helsinki for us, and help us as much as they can. ( We had 55 min time to change plane in Johannesburg and we made it in 35 min with two guns). We buy tickets from travel agency and they bought flights from QA. In booking systems its ok to flight with guns.

    If you have booked your flights from QA check the co-operators that they take your guns or better flight with South African Airlines
    In my experience flying tickets its not right place to save in your African Trip
    Im happy to drink morning coffee in my home instead of South African jail
     
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  6. Dee S

    Dee S AH Veteran

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    We’re not traveling with firearms.
     

  7. raimanparoni

    raimanparoni AH Senior Member

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    I mean in common
     

  8. Doug375

    Doug375 AH Senior Member

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    Thanks Rainmanparoni for the advice. I will be traveling with firearms, but won't be transferring to any partners of Qatar. It's certainly getting harder to travel with guns, but so far it has been worth it. Someday, I may think differently, but I hope not. I've found that travel agents who specialize in traveling with firearms (i.e., Gracy, TWG and others) can be a big help in avoiding such complications. It's well worth it to me to spend an extra few hundred dollars going through one of these travel agents rather than booking directly with the airline or "regular" travel agents who are not as up to speed on airline firearm policies.
     

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