Qatar Dust-Up

Doha Dust Storm, Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

Fuck Qatar Airways
Customs Delay Missed Connect
$295 to rebook

Doha Dust Storm
Hamad International Airport
Doha, Qatar

I was coming into the last leg of a two stop, 31-hour transit-time flight, Bali–>Qatar–>San Francisco–>Phoenix.  We were delayed over half an hour in Qatar, then ran into a 2-hour customs/immigration queue at San Francisco.

The Phoenix flight was delayed 17 minutes. I still wasn’t even close to clearing customs when it departed.

The flight was booked as Qatar Airways through all three legs, though the final leg to Phoenix was on its partner, Alaska Air. I’m grateful for that!

I went to the Alaska Air counter at the gate my flight departed from. They said, “We can only rebook you on tomorrow’s Alaska Air flight. You should call Qatar Airways to rebook your onward flight. They’ll have more options.”

OK. Fair ’nuff.

The Qatar airways check-in counters were already closed. So I called Qatar Airways to rebook the final leg. There was no space available on any Phoenix flight tonight. Next available on their partners was the next day, at the same time as the flight I’d missed, 4PM. The agent informed me “the difference in the fare you paid for today’s flight and tomorrow’s flight is $295” I just about lost it. I told the agent, “I missed a connection due to a combination of a flight delay and a customs delay, and you’re going to charge me $295 to rebook the connection on the next day?!?!?”  The agent told me it was airline protocol in these situations.

Ummm… Thanks, but no thanks. And Fuck Qatar Airways — I could have gotten a flight on another airline the next day on Travelocity for $247.

So I went to the Alaska Air check-in counter at the airport. They rebooked me on the same flight, next day. It was a rookie agent at the counter, and she initially charged me $50 for the “flight change”. Better than $295, at least!

However, a senior agent, who was training her, caught the charge after she’d finalized the sale. “Oh, no,” he told her, “that was a customs delay. That wasn’t the customer’s fault. We don’t charge for those.” So, even the $50 is being refunded.

Thank you, Alaska Air.

By the way, “two ninety five to rebook” are the syllables to complete the Haiku. 😉