HomeAirlinesQatar AirwaysQatar Airways customer service is not always what it should be

Qatar Airways customer service is not always what it should be

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I’m a big fan of Qatar Airways because my onboard experiences have always been pretty good. Some flights have been noticeably better than others, but I’m fortunate enough to be able to say that I’ve never had a bad in-flight experience when traveling with the airline (the fact that I’m always in Business Class probably helps!)

Recent experiences with Qatar Airways customer service and the Qatar Airways website, however, mean that I can’t really say the same for the airline’s operations down on the ground.

Qatar Airways can be as bad as the rest

None of my poor experiences with Qatar Airways have been anywhere near as bad or as significant as some of my bad experiences with other airlines, but as the airline is often put up on a pedestal and given as an example of how all other airlines should work and act, it’s important to bring some balance to the conversation and highlight what the airline could do better.

In recent months, I’ve had three poor experiences while dealing with Qatar Airways. All three experiences revolved around comparatively minor (some will say, insignificant) things, but all three were annoying, and for me, they all highlight why we should be careful before claiming that any one airline is head and shoulders above any other.

The name change issue

Last year, a friend of mine got married, took her husband’s name and then asked me to help with getting her name changed on her various airline accounts.

The process was (mostly) straightforward with all the airlines that I helped her with (including Qatar Airways), but after a couple of weeks had passed, her Privilege Club account was the only account that hadn’t been updated.

I contacted the airline on her behalf (via online chat) and was told that the change was still processing. Ok, fair enough. I figured that some airlines just take longer (a lot longer) than others.

Two more weeks passed by and still her Privilege Club account remained unchanged, so I contacted the airline again (via online chat) to see what was going on. This time I got a different response.

I was told that (a) her name change request had been rejected due to insufficient evidence and (b) that she would have been informed of this by the Qatar Airlines website moments after she uploaded her paperwork.


Firstly, the documents that were uploaded included an image of her old passport photo page, an image of her new passport photo page (together with new name), and her marriage certificate which shows her maiden name and her married name (that’s more than what the Qatar Airways website says is necessary), so one has to wonder what more the airline wants.

Secondly, I was there when the information was uploaded and did not see any error message or message to say that the supplied documentation was insufficient.

Thirdly, if the documents supplied were insufficient and the fact that they were insufficient was known at the time of upload, why was no email sent out to confirm this and, more importantly, why did a Qatar Airways chat agent say that the name change was still progressing 2 weeks after, apparently, it had failed?

I pointed all of this out to the chat agent who was of little help and who suggested that the name change request be re-submitted using the documents that we had already been told were ‘insufficient’.

That didn’t sound like it was going to work, so I had a better idea.

As the Privilege account had a zero Avios balance, zero elite credits, and very little history, I suggested that my friend close her account and open a new one with her new name and new address (and with a new email address).

That took a matter of minutes and seems to have worked very well.

Chasing Avios

Way back in September last year, I flew JetBlue Mint between Paris and New York (roundtrip travel), and because I have no need for JetBlue points but have an ongoing need for Avios, I credited my flights to the Privilege Club.

The Avios from those flights failed to post to my Privilege Club account and ever since I flew (i.e for the last ~4 months) I’ve been trying to get the Avios owed to me.

Qatar Airways keeps blaming JetBlue and keeps telling me that it has contacted ‘its partner airline’ for an update, but the fact that the Qatar Airways customer service staff keep marking my issue as ‘resolved’ cannot be helping.

To date, I’ve had to request that the word ‘resolved’ is removed from my request a total of four times and while I now have 50% of the Avios owed to me, a recent twist to events has seen Qatar Airways claim that I only booked a one-way fare and not a return.

This is even though I have supplied the airline with my original booking documents and both of my boarding passes, so the battle continues.

A significant issue? of course not. An annoying one that displays aggravating incompetence? Yes.

The login issue

In the past few days, I have been unable to login to my Qatar Airways account through the desktop site and a change of browser and the clearing of my cache has made no difference.

When I enter my username and password and confirm that I’m not a robot, all that happens is that the website refreshes and I’m taken back to the login screen

a screenshot of a computer

There are no error messages and there’s no indication that there’s anything else going on (e.g. site maintenance).

The first couple of times this happened I assumed that it was a glitch and I got on with the rest of my day (I’m used to dealing with British Airways so I’m programed to expect a website issue to be down to an IT glitch).

After a couple of days of not being able to login to my account, I decided to see what would happen if I reset my password.

This time, the website froze and an email with a link to reset my password was never received.

a screenshot of a computer screen

Eventually, bored of not being able to login and wanting to see if my Avios issue had been marked as ‘resolved’ yet again, it occurred to me to try to login via the Qatar Airways app. This is the message that the app gave me:

a screenshot of a cell phone

Apparently, my password had expired (it would have been nice if the desktop site could have told me this) so all I need to do is to reset it via the app … right?


a screenshot of a phone

To make matters worse, I can’t use the online chat option to get this sorted out because … and the irony here is beautiful … you must be logged in to access the online chat!

a screenshot of a phone

I’ve been on hold to Qatar Airways ever since I started typing this article as I now try to get this issue sorted by talking to a human (old school), and I can’t help but wonder if, perhaps, now that the airline uses Avios and is a part owner of IAG, if Qatar Airways IT and BA IT are one and the same department 🙂

Bottom line

In the air, Qatar Airways is often one of the best airlines to fly if you’re traveling in a premium cabin, but don’t let anyone tell you that it’s an amazing airline across the board, because it’s not.

Qatar Airways has flaws just like any other airline and while, to an extent, its inflight premium cabin offering can make up for (and help you overlook) these customer service setbacks, they’re still highly annoying setbacks to have to deal with.

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  1. Less than impressed by their loyalty award program as well. I tried to switch an award flight for another on a different day, both costing equal amounts of avios. The rep told me I would have to cancel one, wait for the points to be refunded to my account and to 12 weeks, then rebook the other.

  2. I first flew QR in 2013 when I started traveling full-time. I joined PC at that time and a year later I was Platinum. And have been since then. My experiences with the on-ground capabilities of this airline would make your hair curl. Appalling. Like you said, from some of the best experiences as soon as you board one of their aircraft, to probably the worst on-ground services of any airline I know. They are cumbersome, arrogant and completely devoid of real-life. It is typical Middle eastern though, never wrong, never admit an error. Perhaps with Big Al Baker gone, things might improve but I remain pessimistic. They control and rule their own population in that part of the world with an iron-fist and I think they think they can do the same with foreign Western passengers. If they were’t so good on-board, I’d dump them in a heartbeat. And why are they so good on-board? International flight crews, without the Middle Eastern arrogance and rudeness.

    • The reason why on board service is good has nothing to do with the Arab culture as you claim. Mostly it is because the cabin crew can get fired to receiving complaints from passengers. For these cabin crew the qr job is quite: can’t get the same amount of money anywhere else given their background/education/language skills etc. Also the job doesn’t require much so they are easily replaceable

  3. These real-life experiences serve as valuable insights for fellow travelers and, hopefully, for Qatar Airways to refine its customer service processes. Thanks for sharing your candid encounters!

  4. Your title has a typo: Qatar Airways customer service is always NOT what it should be.

    You had really minor issues but qr has one of the worst customer service. I had plenty of issues (significant) and even had to sue them to have them act. I flew with qr so many times I had my own share of irregularities and then it goes nuts. I live in Europe so I am protected by laws and courts but I wonder how one can have them do what they promise when those options are not available. I had similar issues with Turkish, Pegasus, etc they are on the same league and these days I just try to avoid them unless the itinerary is so simple and I have a lot of free time after my flights and the price is cheapest. All these conditions are hard to be met so I rarely fly them these days but I am happy. Had my own share of qsuite experience and it is nice in beginning but many airlines are comin close to qr on hard products anyway

  5. QR simply doesn’t have an edge anymore. Doha is out of the way for a lot of destinations for int. travellers and with their prices not being competitive anymore, why risk IRROPS with them? Which they by my experience are non capable of handling satisfactoryily.

    Spice that up with ground service rudeness and indifference, there are not any amount of sliding doors that will make me fly them again.


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