A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me a question regarding his American Airlines award on Qatar Airways that has run into problems due to QR canceling a flight.
Here’s the email from the reader:
We are booked on Qatar Airways MIA-DOH-CPT in August using AA miles and issued as an AA ticket. We found out QR has cancelled the MIA-DOH flight on our date of departure. I contacted AA and they told me they are “working on it” but there are no FF seats available that date or even nearby dates.
Does AA or QR have any obligation to reroute us or change a revenue seat to an award seat? It seems they are saying we may not get any seats on any flights. Are there no consumer protections for award travel? I can’t find this in the conditions of carriage.
The problem here is that the consumer protection when it comes to airline tickets is weak in the United States and neither American Airlines nor Qatar Airways is known for their customer support.
Here American Airlines should be in contact with Qatar Airways to get the airline open up inventory the day before/after your intended flight date to get you moved. Another option would be to depart from one of the other Qatar Airways US gateways and have American Airlines fly you there.
I would open a case with Department of Transportation Aviation Consumer Protection unit. You can do it online here. Open one complaint against American Airlines and another one against Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways has occasionally downgraded passengers traveling on American Airlines issued awards when they have oversold the business class. Very bad practice but then this is a Gulf based airline with no customer support (and some would argue integrity).
If the worst comes to the worst, American Airlines just refunds your miles + cash paid and tells you to get to the Cape Town on other means.