Left In A Quandary By Qatar

January 26, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

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.

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 and also to several papers hoping that we can get some kind of justice.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim January 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

This was terrible…and, I feel bad for you and for your experience. Unfortunately, because of the mechanical on the plane, I guess the airline feels little obligation to you. All in all, the airline ticket is simply a "contract of carriage". It is a basic guarantee to get you from airport, point a to airport point b. And, there are enough disclaimers on the ticket to exempt them from culpability as long as they get you to the airport of destination…regardless of how many hours or days late it may be.

Airlines need to keep in mind though, the "ripple effect" of a missed or delayed flight. As you so eloquently explained here…because of the missed/late flights, you missed your train, which because of holidays, later trains were full, which caused you to be stranded in Athens, etc… This domino effect can be serious, and very costly. And, the airlines while not necessarily having a legal obligation to help you out, should feel a moral obligation to do so.


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