When I flew on GOL Smiles issues award (read more about the award success here) on Qatar Airways in business class, something nice happened along the way and I am not referring to the mess on the flight that I wrote about here.
Qatar Airways had substituted the A350-900 aircraft that I was ticketed with an Airbus A330-200 with 2-2-2 seating that would have been completely different (substandard) experience.
I knew that I wouldn’t get anywhere with Smiles or Qatar Airways by phone and decided to ask at the airport if it would be possible to move me to a later flight that would still allow me to make the DOH-EZE flight (originally very long transit in Doha).
To my surprise, the agents at the airport booked me to the later SIN-DOH service that was operated with the A350-900 and made an error along the way.
There is one crucial difference between the bookings. The fare class code for the DOH-EZE segment had changed from U (business class award) to J (full flexible fare).
The second segment probably didn’t have U available when they made the updated booking and the agent just grabbed whatever was there (this happens quite often where there are irregular operations – you end up on a higher fare class).
I had my BA frequent flier number on the reservation and hoped for the best. The tier points and the Avios posted a week later.
I rather spent more time in Singapore where the internet works in the lounges than in Doha where it doesn’t during the peak hours. Also, I was able to hit the Qantas and BA lounges in Singapore (Qantas one is better and catered by Sofitel).
It is very rare that you get miles for award tickets, but it has happened to me few times over the year. Usually only when there are schedule changes or irregular operations at the last minute and you are rebooked at the airport.
I have to say that I really liked the A350-900. The plane was really quiet. Qatar had some issues with their entertainment system, however. The film always reset when they made an announcement and had to rewind to the point where I was left.