Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Qatar Airways and Malik Obama

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Just arrived in Doha, Qatar, on Qatar Airways and I have to say, it was probably the best long-haul flight of my life.

Being in business class always make things better, but you could tell the entire operation was run well. The cabin crew was fantastic -- friendly, attentive, etc. The food was just as good. And there's no substitute for fully flat beds. Extra bonus: we arrived well over an hour early. If only all flights could be like that.

Extra extra bonus: I happened to be sitting next to the Obama family. Not Barack, of course, but his half-brother Malik from Kenya. He was traveling back from D.C. with his wife and young son and daughter. Super friendly guy. He was talking about how cold D.C. was for the inauguration and how he was too wiped out to go to any of the inaugural balls.

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We have a had a nightmare experience flying with Qatar airways.

Dec. 22, 2009. We checked in on flight 613 in Bangkok scheduled to fly out 8:15. Destination: Athens, via Doha. 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.The flight was cancelled. In the terminal the attendants gave no information, just told us 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 were put on the next Qatar flight at 8:30 pm. When we asked about what to do about our train tickets from Athens back home to Bulgaria which we would now miss, they said "all will be taken care of in Doha"

We arrive in Doha before midnight and talked to 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 couldn't believe their rudeness.
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, they at least 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!"

This is not the customer service you'd expect from a 5-star airline. Their cheap tickets ended up costing us a lot more in time and money.

Worst Exprience of my life... I have contacted the Attorney General to resolve my claim. Will send pics of my luggage to the news shortly.

Qatar Airways, toether with Emirates and Etihad, are some of the finest airlines in the Middle East, with award winning inflight service. Qatar Airways also has the distinction of being the only airline from the Middle East with the distinction of being classified by the Skytrax airline quality rating company as being 5 star.

Hello Lori. I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the great service on Qatar Airways. Our business class product is award-winning, and for good reason. We hope you have a great time in Qatar. The best news for US residents is that we're flying to Houston starting 30 March non-stop. We've dedicated a really nice website to the new service at http://www.qatarairways.com/houston. Hope you and your readers will check it out. It's got interactive demos of the new product which you enjoyed in business class. All the best from Qatar Airways. Michael in Qatar Airways Marketing (Doha).

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on January 23, 2009 10:30 AM.

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