During a recent trip to Doha, my associates and I had the misfortune of travelling with Qatar Airways.
The only minor problem I experienced during my travel from Johannesburg to Doha was the lack of a queue designated to get to the Business Class check-in, which delayed the check-in time quite substantially (flight QR581). I wish that I could say the same for my return flight from Doha to Johannesburg (flight QR584). My flight was scheduled to depart at 08:30. At 07:00, I attempted to check-in at your Business Lounge. The attendant was busy on her computer and called someone during my check-in process, which prompted me to think that there was a problem. This was confirmed five minutes into the process, when another woman approached me, and asked me to have a seat in the lounge, without any apology or explanation. Thirty minutes into my wait, I got annoyed, and since nobody had come to explain what was going on, I went back to the counter and asked to see the manager or supervisor.
The manager / supervisor arrived five minutes later, and I was told that there was a problem with the seats in Business Class. I was also told that there was a front row seat in Economy Class available. Again, no apology. No form of compensation for the possible downgrading was offered, which prompted me to absolutely decline this option.
After fifty minutes, the same manager / supervisor returned, and explained that they had worked on the seats, and handed me my boarding pass. Again, with no apology. (Feedback: The Business and First Class Lounge are very beautiful and a very good idea, with bell staff assisting guests etc. It is also very spacious. However, during my ordeal, I did not experience any form of service in this particular space. There is no personality, no feeling and no warmth at all. And your five star airline claim falls way short and is not reflected at all)
When I enquired, I was told that the only problem with my seat would be a broken footrest, which I accepted and could endure for the duration of the flight. This is now 08:00 in the morning, and I did not have the opportunity to enjoy your lounge, nor was I able to purchase any Duty Free items, which I had actually planned on doing.
Upon boarding the plane, I went to my designated seat, and was quite surprised to see a large sticker on my seat, stating “DO NOT USE THIS SEAT!” When the flight attendants found out that the seat was assigned, they were very surprised, and the ground staff actually tried in front of me, to repair the seat, which did not work. I find this utterly unacceptable and, again, was under the impression that your ground staff was moving a problem from them to the flight attendants, which did not help the overall impression gathered during this episode. This was not only the case with my seat, but also with one of my colleagues. The attendant then proceeded to remove the sticker, and informed me that I would have to use this seat, which was inoperable.
This is not something that I would expect from an airline, especially when one pays full Business Class fare. Two colleagues and myself were on this flight – two out of three of us were inconvenienced in this manner. When I pay Business Class fare, I expect the airline with which I am travelling to do their part in making my journey as pleasurable as possible. Qatar Airways has in no way contributed to a pleasurable journey. On the contrary.
After an exhausting business conference, I would expect my travelling partners to deliver an efficient service and have some level of understanding to my needs. Not only were my needs as a corporate traveller not met, but my most basic needs as a human being were overlooked.