What to do if you’re on a flight through Qatar
As we covered yesterday, several countries in the Middle East have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar. If you’ve purchased a future flight on Emirates, Etihad, or Qatar Airways, it’s important to check your routing. Most flights are not impacted, but check the list below to ensure your flight routing has not been suspended.
- Emirates: No flights to Doha, Qatar
- Etihad Airways: No flights to Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways: No flights from Doha to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, or Bahrain
The largest impact will be for travelers flying Qatar Airways to Abu Dhabi, Cairo, or Dubai. If you’re booked on one of those routes, call the airline and you will either be rerouted or refunded. There are currently long phone wait times so if you don’t have immediate travel it may be best to wait a few days (or try to adjust your flight online). Hopefully this temporary travel crisis will be resolved in the near future and no changes will be required.
As part of the severing of diplomatic ties, Qatar Airways access to airspace in neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is now restricted. This means Qatar flights will have a tight airspace corridor in which to depart and land. The lack of airspace will require longer flight times and likely cause more delays on Qatar Airways flights. It is also possible that some of Doha’s runways will not be usable due to airspace restrictions. Overall, it’s a logistical nightmare for Hamad International Airport (DOH) in Doha.
I flew the short flight from Doha to Abu Dhabi last month. Travel between the various middle eastern countries is incredibly convenient, and Doha and Dubai are two of my favorite airports. It’s sad to see a diplomatic crisis impact three of the top airlines in the world. The largest impact of the crisis will be felt by Qatar Airways, which was already seeing negative effects from the US travel ban, which was implemented earlier this year. There is no timeline for the resolution of the ban, stay tuned for more information.