Here’s what you need to know if you’re booked to fly with Qatar Airways.
A number of Middle Eastern airlines have announced their decision to suspend flights to and from Qatar, amid an escalating diplomatic crisis.
What will this mean for travellers in the region? Here’s everything we know so far.
Which airlines have stopped flights to and from Qatar?
Here is the full list of airlines which have halted all Qatar-bound flights, as of Wednesday:
What about Qatar Airways?
Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt. The company’s licence was also revoked in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, meaning all offices will be shutting down within 48 hours.
I have a Qatar Airways ticket to one of the four destinations they’ve stopped flying to. What happens now?
All customers booked on affected flights will be provided with alternative options, including a full refund on any unused tickets or free rebooking to the nearest alternative Qatar Airways destination.
The airline is currently prioritising passengers due to depart between now and July 6.
Passengers holding a Qatar Airways ticket to any of the four countries between June 5 and July 6 can rebook their flights up to 30 days after their current confirmed departure date, one time free of charge.
Passengers can also refund the unused portion of their tickets booked for the above period also once, free of charge (so if you’re halfway through a return flight, that’s good news) . The service fee remains non-refundable.
Qatar will not refund other parts of holidays booked, like hotels or connecting flights, unless stated in the small print.
For more information contact Qatar Airways on +974 4023 0072 or visit the website (the airline’s offices in the UAE have been closed).
I am a UAE national. Am I still allowed to travel to Qatar?
No. UAE nationals are now banned from travelling to or transiting through Qatar.
Qatari nationals are also banned from passing through airports in the UAE, even to change planes, Gulf Business reports.
Where else does Qatar Airways fly?
Qatar Airways flies to more than 150 destinations, many within Europe and the Americas. The airline has said these flights are not currently affected. However, passengers based in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt will have to make alternative arrangements to get to Doha for their onward flight.
Are flight times affected?
Yes, some are. Qatar Airways is no longer allowed to enter the airspace of its neighbours, which means some eastbound flights from Doha to places like Asia and Australia will take longer, as they will have to go up and around the Gulf. This map from flightradar24 illustrates the disruption:
I still need to get to Doha. How can I do this?
Oman and Kuwait are still allowing Qatar Airways to fly within their airspace, so it is possible to book a flight to one of these destinations and then onward to Doha. Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc and Air France are the airlines that operate between Muscat and Doha. Qatar Airways and Kuwait Airways operate flights from Kuwait City to Doha.
And travel aside…
Be warned – showing sympathy for Qatar on social media is a cybercrime, and can result in steep penalties.
UAE general prosecutor Hamad Saif Al-Shamsi has said social media users who post pro-Qatar statements face fines of up to Dhs500,000 and between three and 15 years in prison, Al Arabiya News reported.
The number of countries that have severed ties with Qatar now totals eight – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, the Maldives and Mauritania. Jordan has also downgraded its number of diplomats in Qatar.
Amid the unrest, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told CNN on Tuesday that “we are willing to sit and talk.”
Image: Qatar Airways/Instagram