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Robert's complaint against Qatar Airways
Wrongful cancellation by airline of return sectors of flights
Complaint against Qatar Airways
On 5th September 2015 this year my wife and I were due to fly from Barcelona to Kuala Lumpur (via Doha) with Qatar Airways for a two week holiday. However, I did not know that Malaysia (or any other country for that matter) requires 6 months passport validity - indeed it would never have occurred to me. As my passport expires in January 2016, we were not allowed to board the aircraft. Please note that I acknowledge and accept that this was my responsibility. Nevertheless, I had checked in online, a process which required me to enter my passport details. So I do ask myself, with the sophisticated software systems possessed by a major airline, how difficult would it be for them to flag up potential problems of this kind? If they had done that, I may have been able to get an emergency passport renewal in time, or changed the dates of our flights. However, this is not my main complaint. My main complaint is that when I attempted to change the dates of our return flights so that we could use them later, I was told that they had been automatically cancelled by the airline without refund. In a telephone call to Customer Services, when I asked why, I was told that that was the company's policy in cases of "no show". When I objected that ours was not a case of "no show", I was told that we should have informed the airline at least three hours before departure of our intention not to fly. I informed the lady truthfully that we had been at the check-in counter three and a half hours before departure, and therefore they were fully informed that we would not be flying. She said there was nothing she could do. In the next few days I emailed Customer Services twice to complain and to ask that they let us use the return sectors of our booking at a later date. After a week I received a cursory reply, regretting that they would not refund our fares (which I hadn't asked them to do). Further attempts at engaging with the company (a letter setting out my case in full, then an email to the company CEO) have drawn no reply. I think it is unacceptable that a major world airline should be so disrespectful to its customers. I need to point out that I had perused Qatar's published conditions of carriage, and I find that these do not justify their actions in cancelling our return flights. I find the following regulations with regard to this: a. Article 6 Point 7 : "Cancellation of Onward Reservations Made By Us. If you do not use a reservation and fail to advise us, we may cancel or request cancellation of any onward or return reservations." This describes a situation in which the airline were not informed. In fact, they were fully informed that we would not be travelling at least 3 hours before departure of the aircraft. Therefore, this regulation does not apply to us. b. Article 8, Point 3: "Refusal to Carry or Removal of Passenger. We may, in our reasonable discretion, refuse to carry you, or remove you en route, due to your conduct, behaviour, physical or mental condition. In such a case, we may cancel the remaining unused portion of the Ticket, and you will not be entitled to further carriage or to a refund, either in respect of the sector, which was the subject of refusal of carriage or removal, or in respect of any subsequent sectors covered by the Ticket. We will not be liable for any consequential loss or damage alleged due to any such refusal of carriage or removal en route. We reserve the right to claim from you all reasonable costs of such removal as referred to in Article 12-2." This refers to refusal to carry a passenger on the basis of conduct, behaviour, physical or mental condition, none of which correspond to our case. We have now changed our request of Qatar Airways. Originally we asked to use the return sectors of the booking at a later date. However, as Qatar did not respond satisfactorily within a reasonable time, we have now booked our trip with a different airline. We now ask for a full refund of the fares for the return sectors of our flights. In closing, let me recap that I find Qatar's inability to flag up problems when somebody checks-in online incomprehensible, and their cancellation of our return flights completely unfair and unjustified. I hope they will reconsider and refund our fares for the return flights. After all, they undoubtedly sold those flights to another customer as well as keeping our money, so they will have lost nothing. As things stand they have lost our goodwill and custom. I have since claimed at least a refund of the air passenger duty on these tickets, for which we will hopefully recover a total of €79.92 on the two tickets (of total value €1027.92).
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