When Airlines Can get More $$$ for Your PAID Business Seat, THEY WILL!

So you FINALLY found that SMOKIN business class deal you’ve been waiting for. A $6,000 business class ticket with Qatar Airways last week “magically” plummets 65% to $2,100. You know a good deal when you see it. You don’t hesitate. You jump in with both feet & BUY IT NOW! You receive your e-tkt and think you’re all set, right? WRONG! When the airlines emails you a confirmation showing you seated in seat 3C, it’s really “confirmed,” RIGHT? Sorry, WRONG AGAIN! Even though you’ve bought a business seat, carriers frequently try to sell the same seat you already bought (yes, 3C) for more money to other travelers. When airlines sell more tickets than seats, someone has to lose. On September 18th, this exact scenario played out when Qatar Airways decided “Sean from Pittsburgh” would be the ‘BIGGEST LOSER!’

The One World carrier recklessly cancelled ‘Sean from Pittsburgh’s’ paid business class reservation between Athens & Doha, freeing up a seat on a sold out flight. Even though Qatar Airways had already committed seat 3C to ‘Sean from Pittsburgh”, this obviously meant nothing. Qatar Airways shamelessly resold the same seat to another traveler, likely for more money. The middle eastern airline didn’t bother to tell ‘Sean from Pittsburgh’ what it had done. No email, no texts, no phone calls, no nothing! Qatar Airways pretended like nothing happened, allowing “Sean from Pittsburgh” to casually show up at the Athens airport before advising his reservation was (intentionally) cancelled (for more $$$).

Nobody likes being inconvenienced, and who likes being involuntarily downgraded from business to economy? Qatar Airways could have atoned for its missteps by allowing Sean to travel as scheduled in coach. Instead, Qatar Airways continued its lie claiming the original flight was sold out despite making seats available on third party websites. The One World carrier made Sean scramble like a dog and buy a new ticket in coach online for the same exact flight previously bought! Qatar Airways claimed Sean’s onward travel a few days later between Doha and Chicago was reinstated and remained INTACT. Qatar Airways even emailed Sean another confirmation, listing his next flight between Doha and Chicago as ‘CONFIRMED’ in business class. Unfortunately, Qatar Airways wasn’t through making Sean the ‘BIGGEST LOSER.’

After the Athens fiasco, Sean was extremely nervous about his onward Doha-Chicago flight with Qatar Airways. Sean’s immediate priority was for an uneventful and uninterrupted business class return to Chicago. Sean contacted Qatar Airways who reassured him that everything was ‘ALL SET & CONFIRMED’ So what did Sean find out after arriving at the airport in Doha? Qatar Airways lied AGAIN and the situation went from bad to worse!

The carrier claimed that because Sean didn’t fly between Athens & Doha on the first ticket, they wouldn’t allow him to fly as scheduled between Doha & Chicago. As a reminder, it was Qatar Airways who cancelled out Sean’s initial reservation trying to squeeze out more money from other travelers by overbooking the flight. It was also Qatar Airways who forced Sean to purchase another ticket (in economy) between Athens & Doha for a flight he had already paid for in business. Qatar Airways ‘put its head in the sand (In Doha, literally!) pretending that Sean, rather than carrier greed, caused this debacle.  The final straw occurred when Qatar Airways forced Sean to pay several thousand more to fly on the exact same flight previously purchased but cancelled by the carrier. Sean bit his tongue, paying the airline knowing he had been taken for a fool.

In total, Qatar Airways was paid three times for the same trip while reselling the business class seat Sean initially bought for more money. In case there are any doubters, Qatar Airways & the One World alliance should review the history associated with the following tickets

  • 157 7856 883 576
  • 157 7856 141 309
  • 157 2358 659 317

We’ve tried to reach out to Qatar Airways on Sean’s behalf, but they continue to ignore the situation. They’re just waiting for time to pass hoping this story just goes away. As long as we have freedom of speech and Qatar Airways continues to disregard Sean’s reimbursement demands, we won’t let this story just ‘GO AWAY’.  Premium cabin travelers have a right to know how poorly some airlines treat premium cabin flyers. If Qatar Airways profited from the unauthorized cancellation of Sean’s initial reservation, shouldn’t Sean be entitled to that profit? After all, Sean assumed the risk by initially buying the seat at a mutually agreed upon price. Qatar Airways later decided it needed more money and resold seat 3C, regardless of the discomfort and inconvenience it caused Sean. This compensation is in addition to the refunds Qatar Airways owes Sean for triplicated ticket purchases. Additionally, why was Sean forced to suffer even though he was the first buyer? Qatar Airways could have reinstated Sean’s originally reservation, but didn’t. Why? Money. According to Passport Premiere, Qatar Airways chose to award the seat to whoever paid more, without ever giving Sean the chance to match the bid!

So, what’s the moral of the story? Obviously, travel on Qatar Airways is currently a ‘BUYER BEWARE’ scenario. We invite Qatar Airways to respond to this sequence of events and reimburse ‘Sean from Pittsburgh’ for his involuntary ticket purchases and downgrades.  If and when Qatar Airways responds, we’ll update you.

Additionally, this scenario is not limited to Qatar Airways. It could happen on any airline. Airlines have conditioned us all to put an unequivocal amount of trust in e-tkts and airlines confirmation emails. Sure, a reservation may be ‘intact’ when the email is sent but what’s to stop an airline from cancelling flights and reselling seats to a higher bidder at a later date? Nothing. It happened to Sean and it could happen to you!

We’re all just guests of an airline. Unless you have access to a G6, you’re just as likely to be inconvenienced by an airline as Sean from Pittsburgh. Protect yourself with frequent ‘check ups’ of your reservation between the date of purchase and the departure date. Once a week, enter your booking locator on the airlines website to be sure it’s still there. If you can’t see the reservation, this could be a signal of potential problems. At least you can contact the carrier to solve the problem in advance rather than praying for a last minute airport fix on the day of travel. This may seem like a waste of time, but it could save you lots of aggravation later. Not convinced? Just ask Sean from Pittsburgh.

As for Qatar Airways, we’ve got our eyes on you. We’re all awaiting your response and making Sean from Pittsburgh ‘whole.’ Stay tuned!

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