Post by Mark

I had a plan. I was supposed to fly out of Kuwait Airport at 5AM via Qatar Airways, land in Doha, spend an hour and a half killing time before my second flight to Nice (France) also via Qatar Airways. I would have landed in Nice at 2PM, around the same time my best friend’s flight would have also landed. We were gonna pick up our rental, drive down the coast of France all the way to Marseilles, stopping along the way for some beach time and food.

Great plan if it wasn’t for the fact the Kuwait Airport luggage conveyer belt for check-in stopped working this morning. It was a disaster with bags pilled up all around and check-in taking far longer than it usually would. My flight ended up taking off over an hour late and by the time I landed in Doha, I had around 10 minutes to make it to my next flight. I realized I had a 90% I wouldn’t make the flight and let my friends know that before I took off from Kuwait. I stayed calm, I figured stressing wouldn’t solve anything and I accepted the fact I was gonna miss my flight.

Luckily, once I got out of the plane there was a Qatar Airways employee waiting for me, she told me we had to rush to my plane because they were waiting for me. I sent my friends a message letting them know I was miraculously gonna make it. While we were running to my gate the employee tells me they printed me a new boarding pass, just as she is giving it to me she notices something, the boarding pass was for August 18th.. the next day. Because my flight from Kuwait was delayed, they issued me a ticket for the next flight to Nice which was the same time but for the next day. I was devastated. I wanted to continue running to my gate but she told me it was too late, they would have closed it by now. I was mentally ready to miss the flight but then had my hopes raised only to be disappointed again. It sucked.

I stayed calm, I didn’t get upset or angry, I was a bit annoyed definitely but calm. We went to the transfer desk because I asked if there was a way I could get to Nice earlier. While waiting there everyone around me was screaming at the employees and I was just thinking how this must be the shittiest job in the world having to deal with all these frustrated and angry customers. The thing I found the most surprising was how they were finding me alternative flights to Nice. I thought there was some kind of sophisticated mechanism, a smart software with some sort of algorithm that would figure out the fastest way to get a person to a destination. But it wasn’t anything like that, it kinda seemed very manual.

First they came back to me telling me I could fly out through Zurich and I’d arrive in Nice 10AM the next day. I then asked if there was a flight via Paris, so they checked and came back to me 15 minutes later telling me there was, but it had a 12 hour layover and I’d arrive to Nice the next day at 8AM. I then asked them what about flights via London. They got back to me telling me there was a flight via London and I’d end up in Nice at 2AM, but the flight from London to Nice was fully booked. I told them they could put me in economy and that I didn’t care but she said it was against their policy. I told her to try at least, so she left and came back 15 minutes later, this time telling me there was another flight from London and I could be in Nice by 11:30PM. And thats the flight I’m taking now, boarding actually starts in around 30 minutes. Kinda weird that I had to come up with routes when I would assume their software could do that.

Overall, a pretty dramatic morning for what should have been a routine trip. At least I’m flying out now on A380 (my original flight was a Dreamliner), I think there is a bar with a lounge onboard which should be pretty cool. I was actually just thinking how Qatar Airways put me on a more expensive flight so I could still get to Nice today which was pretty nice of them. It wasn’t their fault that the conveyor belt at the airport stopped working, they could have just kept me on tomorrows flight. So definitely a good experience for a shitty situation.

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30 comments, add your own...

  1. Ds says:

    Hi Mark I don’t think economy has access to the lounge on the 380

  2. Raz says:

    Keep calm and conveyor on

  3. lolguy says:

    This seems to be a frequent occurrence!
    During the last Eid break I was flying out by KU and the conveyor belt had stopped working and bags were being manually pushed about. I had low confidence my bag would make it so I just took it on board with me. Luckily it was a small bag which the staff just let me pass with.

    When I have found myself in a situation like yours, I stay calm and let them fix my flight at that moment, then once I’m back home, I write a long polite email saying how the experience left me distressed and disappointed. The least they would do is throw in a couple thousand miles towards your FF account as an apology.
    If you are involuntarily downgraded from business to economy, I know from experience that airlines like Emirates offers you a free ticket (they call it an options ticket) for your original trip, even if the downgrade was on just the DXB-KWT part of your flight.

    Of course all this is to make your next experience better, your present trip is messed up.

  4. Ali says:

    I had a similar experience this summer flying back from Nice to Kuwait with BA. As luck would have it, BA’s computers worldwide crashed on that day. BA offered us zero help. I had to fins flights for myself with other airlines,flying Nice to Barcelona, spending the night at airport there, then to London & then to Kuwait. I used a specialist organization to claim & receive damages from BA.

  5. Mad Tax says:

    Join the onebag revolution. Everything you need in a backpack. My journey has been: 1 Che led in bag > 2 weeks in the US with carry on + backpack > travelling with large backpack > travelling with only a medium pack. The liberation far exceeds the sacrifice and I don’t own a single piece of gear that gives off a “hiking” look aka I maintain an urban aesthetic.

  6. Mohamed says:

    Same problem last year on a trip to Amsterdam but it wasn’t the conveyor belt, it was some other problem also related to Kuwait airport. We took off an hour late and ended up clearing security checks and sprinting to our connecting gate only to arrive 15 minutes before the flight. Of course the plane was taxiing off by then.
    Same experience with the transfer desk and yes those people have the absolute shittiest job in the universe, I’m pretty sure they envy the toilet cleaning staff. I had to make the same suggestions, I even went as far as offering to fly to Cologne and take a train from there at my own expense.
    In the end they got me a flight to Brussels (one week after the terror attacks on the airport) with a connection to Amsterdam. We spent the day in the airport hotel with full meals and then took the flight. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until we landed in Amsterdam and saw the immigration queues for people coming from outside the EU. Being an internal EU flight we didn’t have to go to immigration as we had already done that in Brussels and so we made up the lost time and effort.
    Two lessons learned from this experience, never take a flight with Qatar Airways except if the connection time is at least 3 hours, and if travelling to Amsterdam always go through Brussels :)

    Have fun Mark, travel hiccups are part of that too :)

  7. phil says:

    how much does that conveyor belt cost to fix?

  8. Sam says:

    WTF? You’re going on another vacation? What did you need a break from? The LA vacation?

  9. aceboy44 says:

    Mark, this is your fault (and yours alone!) There are plenty of Qatar Airways flights departing Kuwait daily, why didn’t you book an earlier flight (with a 3 – 4 hours transit in Doha as opposed to 45 minutes) to avoid unfortunate delays such as this? Having a 45 minutes transit is a nightmare for me, and personally I prefer the 3 – 4 hours transit (for a peace of mind) to avoid facing stressful situations like yours.

    Anyways happy vacation.

    • Mark says:

      I didn’t book one with 45 mins transit, I vbooked one with an hour and a half transit which is more than enough time usually

      • aceboy44 says:

        Here’s a tip, try flying Oman Air next time. My experience with them was quiet pleasant. They do fly to Paris just FYI.

    • Salah says:

      That’s a great point. Come to think of it, if I’m flying business on Qatar airways I’d definitely want to spend more time in their lounge. So yeah, 4 hours sounds like a smart move in that case.

  10. Ahmad Khallaf says:

    Kuwait Airport means; CARRY ON!

  11. Ali says:

    I’m glad this happened. I hope this is the first of many misfortunes for you. And i hope they get increasingly worse :)

  12. I Wheeler says:

    The same thing happened to me last year. I had my plane ticket issued at Qatar Airways counter at Kuwait Airport, but there were miles of queues to check in luggage manually as the conveyor belt was broken. After a 2 hour wait in a queue that was not shrinking because of all the wastas pushing in, I followed a European couple. The wife had found another airline checking in random luggage on a working belt on the other side of the airport. I managed to catch my flight, but others missed it even though it left late.
    At Doha, Qatar Airways staff said I landed late and my seat on my connecting flight to Manchester was given to someone else!
    I rushed to the gate with my original boarding pass. The gate was still open waiting for other late arrivals. They confirmed there was still an empty seat, so I was checked back on to my flight at the gate.
    On my return to Kuwait the conveyor belt broke as luggage was loaded off the plane! Most of the luggage had been retrieved. About 10 of us were waiting for suitcases. I had to return to the airport the next day to collect it. Even though they phoned me with an appointment time, I waited for 2 hours with my number (once again because of all the Kuwaiti men not accepting their turn, pushing in front of me and sending the porters to collect their case instead of mine).

  13. yousef says:

    Nice post. Your writing would very much improve if fillers were removed. For example, in this post, “pretty” and “definitely” appear in the final paragraph. Someone once made a comment hat your writing sounds like a high schooler and I’d say cleaning up these fillers would immediately take your writing up a notch or two.

    Safe travels and best wishes.

  14. Farah says:

    Wow, some people in the comments section need to get the sticks out of their asses…🙄

    That being said, I’m glad you kept your cool while all of this went down. These situations give me terrible anxiety!

    The last time I flew Qatar Airways, a similar incident happened regarding the transit time. Our flight took forever to take off from Kuwait because of something with the plane’s electrical situation. Move us to another aircraft? Nope. A woman on my flight was SCREAMING at the crew because they wouldn’t let her off and she had a connecting flight she was going to miss. It was a nightmare. We were stuck in the aircraft for 2 hours because it was against policy to let us off after we’d boarded(? Weird rule).

    After that trip, I made it a point to fly Emirates and keep the layover time to a 2 hour minimum. Enjoy your trip, Mark!

  15. John Fernandes says:

    Its not a surprise to me. Qatar airways always goes a way extra mile to help its customers… U dont simply earn title of “Best Airlines in the World”….They work for it to achieve that status. Glad you experienced it.

  16. Chuck says:

    Qatar A380 does in fact have a nice bar in the back of the plane. I think it is the largest bar on any airline and it is all you can drink for free for Business Class and higher passengers.
    The 380 is an amazing machine and Qatar airlines is an excellent experience.

  17. NG says:

    After missing a connection on Etihad at AUH once (transit time was 1.15 hours) and having a close call with Qatar Airways at Doha, I have made it a rule to have a min layover of 2 hours when flying out of KWI. Unfortunately, the airport here is very inefficient and late evening / night flights are routinely delayed, esp over Thu and Fr.

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