A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a question by email about an unfortunate situation that happens frequently with airlines and not just with Qatar Airlines – equipment downgrade.
You can access Qatar’s page for Qsuite here.
Here’s email from the reader:
I am Marco Polo Diamond (Emerald on One World), mostly flying Cathay Pacific. From time to time I do try other airlines when convenient. I was given an opportunity to try out Qatar Airways from London to Hong Kong (Return) on Business. I booked the Q Suites well in advance on the return, and I was keen to try out this type of seat.
On the 29th January I checked in at Hong Kong airport for the HKG to Doha Leg, and the Doha to LHR 2nd leg. Imagine my horror when I was informed that due to terms of carriage, Qatar Airways had rotated the aircraft and the seat allocated would be the 2-2-2 configuration. So, the point of travelling Qatar to try out the Q Suites was completely negated. The point I made was that it was possible for Qatar Airways to notify me (as they had time) to give me a chance to change my flights.
I think the service on Qatar Airways is superb, and the food quality is better than other airlines that I usually travel with. However, the lack of consideration for passengers booking a type of seat in advance, and then giving no notification to change the configuration is unacceptable, especially if the airlines is basically promoting this class of travel as a major pull for the choice of aircraft and ticket.
Would you like more information on this? I have asked Qatar Airways to re-consider their decision to give me no compensation (no refund and no other alternative gesture based on their conditions of carriage). For sure, I will not entertain the idea of travelling Qatar Airways again, as I would rather bank on the seat that an airline like Cathay Pacific would deliver, rather than a lottery of a seat I would get with Qatar Airways.
Airlines always promote and advertise their most recent and up to date product even when they are installed to small number of aircraft. Qatar Airways is not the only airline that does this.
The product is never 100% guaranteed and Qatar Airways is known to perform plenty of last minute swaps. You should never book a single flight based on a type of seat that you would be only willing to fly.
Many airlines are willing to provide or at least entertain an idea of a compensation before throwing their CoC (Contract of Carriage) at you. Qatar Airways is fantastic once you are in the air but their ground and customer service (+ erratic Akbar Al Baker) often leave a lot to be desired.
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways all have this same issue with customer service. They are not just equipped to deal with customer feedback and hit you with replies from “customer service officers”.
In-flight service is fantastic but you are on your own if something goes wrong, and I cannot stress this enough.
It is certainly an unfortunate event when Qatar downgrades their equipment from the flagship Qsuite to one of the oldest 2-2-2 configurations and this is not an isolated incident.