Doha-based Qatar Airways has the best service in the sky but is not empowering call centers to handle customer issues.
Qatar Airways always delivers for passengers looking for excellent service, especially when flying business or first class.
Therefore, it’s difficult to understand why the service provided by the 24-hour call center is lacking way behind services for premium customer service by airlines such as United Airlines.
Call center agents are not empowered to help efficiently, especially when a flight is interrupted by a cancellation or re-routing. Agents in call centers are primarily based in India and respond based on hard-to-reason policies set by Qatar Airlines management.
The second reason Qatar Airways fails to be 5-star airline is due to when a passenger travels on a ticket issued by a oneworld alliance partner airline, such as American Airlines, or by a travel agency.
Here is my latest experience, shares eTurboNews publisher Juergen Steinmetz.
Steinmetz is a Platinum Executive flyer with American Airlines and a 1K flyer with United Airlines. These are the top tiers for both airlines. American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance, and United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. He said:
“My latest flight on Qatar Airways took me from Kathmandu, Nepal, to Doha, Qatar, in business class then first class from Doha to Dubai, UAE.
“I arrived at the Qatar Airways business check-in on time at 4:00 pm for my 6:00 pm flight to Doha and was looking forward to spending one night in Qatar.
“Due to a weather situation, the incoming plane could not land in Kathmandu and was rerouted to Calcutta. This was done for security reasons and was understandable.
“It took more than an hour after it was known the plane could no longer fly from Calcutta to Kathmandu to finish this round during the same evening.
“Qatar Airways agents were friendly in escorting me to the business class lounge at Kathmandu Airport to await information on a hotel arrangement and alternate flight. I canceled my hotel in Doha and wanted to connect the next day to Dubai directly.
“After complaining to the lounge agent 3 times over the next 2 to 3 hours, she took me downstairs to talk to a Qatar Airways agent.
“Qatar Airways just finished caring for all economy passengers and left me, a business class passenger, last. I was told the flight would be leaving the following afternoon. I explained this would not be a good idea since I would miss a second night to get to my destination, Dubai.
“I found the station manager handling bags downstairs. He accommodated and booked me on an earlier flight with a 5-hour layover. I agreed.
“I was transported in a packed van to the Radisson Hotel with many other QR passengers. At the Radisson Hotel, I noticed a sign stating that the delayed flight would leave earlier than I was told at the airport. Going on the original flight would have cut 3 hours into my wait.
“I googled Qatar Airways and only found the US call center phone number. When I called, I was asked for my booking code, passport number, cell phone number (I have several), and credit card number (I have dozens of cards). It was an interrogation you only expect in a crime story.
“Finally, the agent said she could not re=book or do anything for me because my ticket was issued by American Airlines. She said I had to call American Airlines.
“When a flight is interrupted at United Airlines, I can easily talk to my 1K desk or find flight alternatives on the United Airlines app, allowing me to re-book with a few clicks.