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COMPLAINT: Service not provided for short layover time

 
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Old Sep 20, 2016, 5:25 PM
Asoke Kumar Sarkar Asoke Kumar Sarkar is offline
 
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(1)
I am writing to lodge a complaint about the mistreatment, discrimination, and harassment by Qatar Airways during our recent trip from Boston, USA to Kolkata, India. I, Asoke Kumar Sarkar (69) was travelling with my wife Madhuchhanda Sarkar (63) from Boston to Kolkata on 15th Aug, 2016 by Qatar Airways Flight No. QR-744. The layover time at Doha was 65 minutes, and the flight landed 8 minutes late, thereby reducing the already short layover time to only 57 minutes. The disembarkation process was lengthy, and the security check queue was also long. I am a heart-patient, and my wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. However, there were no electric vehicles or other mode of transport available for taking us to the gate of our connecting flight. We did our best to get through security, and reach the gate as soon as possible, but in spite of arriving 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, were informed that the boarding gate had been closed for the connecting flight QR-540. We were not allowed to board the flight to Kolkata. There were no announcements made beforehand (which, Qatar Airways staff claimed was due to the lack of a PA system at the Doha Hamad Airport), and absolutely no efforts undertaken by the gate staff to locate two elderly passengers that they knew had arrived from Boston, and were checked in to be on the flight to Kolkata. Rather, to add insult to injury, the supervisor at the transfer desk exhibited grossly discriminatory attitude and wanted to know why we were slower than the other passengers who were able to make the connection between the two flights. She had absolutely no empathy, and put the entire onus squarely on us, ignoring the fact that we had in fact arrived at the gate well before the departure time in spite of our age and the ridiculously short connection time exacerbated by the delayed landing of our previous flight. Furthermore, she turned down our request to reschedule the flight, and instead, simply asked us to purchase new tickets for the next day’s flight. On being asked what we were supposed to do until then, she did not offer any assistance with respect to hotel accommodation. By this time, we were panicking at the prospect of being stranded in the airport for 24 more hours (after an already 12 hour long flight from Boston) because of health concerns. Yet, we were shocked to see how Qatar Airways refused to help two senior passengers and was only all too eager to simply wash their hands off the entire thing. After spending some agonizing minutes, we were finally able to contact our son in Boston, who bought new tickets for us online (ETKT Nos. 1577854635648/9 for 17th Aug,2016) and informed us about the hotel in the terminal.
(2)

In summary, Qatar Airways abjectly failed to provide us with even a reasonable level of customer service at least in the following ways.

1) They failed to provide us with any conveyance (e.g., electric vehicle) when they were fully aware of the short connection time, delayed landing of the BOS-DOH flight, and the ages of the transit passengers.
2) They did not expedite the security check for the transit passengers who had a short connection time.
3) They did not deploy any personnel to guide the transit passengers with short connection times. I have travelled all over the world for many years, and have experienced this courtesy from most self-respecting airlines.
4) They did not announce our names—or even a final boarding call for the DOH-CCU flight—before closing the gate, and therefore failed to provide any prior notice of the gate closing.
5) They inflicted tremendous mental trauma, humiliation, and discrimination by insinuating that we were somehow less capable than some of the other passengers who did make the connection.
6) They failed to extend any help in any form to a senior couple who were effectively stranded in a foreign country.

Due to the failure of Qatar Airways at least in the above respects, we had to pay $695.10 for the new tickets and $312.0 for airport hotel accommodation (Room No. 179) on 16th Aug, 2016. We had to pay this amount for absolutely no fault of ours, and simply to extricate ourselves from the undesirable situation that Qatar Airways put us in. Accordingly, I demanded full reimbursement of $ 1007.10 (the amount that we had to pay for the new tickets and accommodation) . I had lodged a complaint in this respect to the customer care of Qatar Airways ( Their case reference no. CAS-707474-P8V1R8 dated 21st Aug,2016 ) and they have refused to reimburse the expenses made by me vide their mail dated 6th Sept,2016.
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