Qatar Airways accused of breaking oneworld alliance rules

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Barely a week after joining the oneworld airline alliance, Qatar Airways has been accused of breaking the rules by denying some premium frequent flyers from partner airlines access to its luxury lounges in London and Doha.

One of the few Gulf airlines to join an international alliance, the carrier is refusing access to top-tier frequent flyers with statuses such as gold and premium, unless they are travelling in business or first class.

The decision appears to be in stark contrast to the oneworld lounge policy.

“Members of oneworld airline frequent flyer programmes with the equivalent of oneworld Emerald or Sapphire tier status can use any lounge offered by any oneworld airline when departing on any flight marketed and operated by any oneworld member airline, regardless of cabin class being flown,” the policy on oneworld’s website says.

“Emerald tier frequent flyers can use First Class, Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.

“Sapphire tier frequent flyers are welcome in Business Class or frequent flyer lounges.”

However, at London’s Heathrow Airport, Qatar Airways is forcing high-status oneworld passengers who have chosen to fly economy to use the alliance’s own lounge.

The same disqualification applies at Doha International Airport, where premium frequent flyers in economy are barred from the Premium Terminal and told to use the far less luxurious Oryx business lounge.

Responding to the criticism, Qatar Airways (QR) said its premium lounge in London was not included in the oneworld lounge scheme because it was exclusive.

“QR offers both first and business class lounge access for the first/business traveller, his/her guest, and emerald/sapphire travellers,” a Qatar Airways spokeswoman told Australian Business Traveller.

“In addition, QR offers a Premium Lounge which is only for (first and business) ticketed passengers on QR or another oneworld member airline – not their guests, not emerald/sapphire passengers”.

The spokeswoman said the situation was similar to British Airways’ Concorde room at London Heathrow, which is only for passengers flying in BA’s first class cabin.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: vish n

I'm traveling from FRA-->DOHA--CMB on NOV 21 on Qatar. ECON tkt( code share) issued by American Airlines. Currently , AA freq flyer program status is, EXEC PLT on AA ( Emerald-OneWorld ). Can I use a Qatar Biz/FClass lounge during the 3 hr stopover in DOHA. I checked with AA EXEC PLT Desk, and they too confirmed ACCESS to the lounge. Again, Boots on the ground is far realistic than someone reading some lawyer verbiage off the
screen. Seems a mess just get to the lounge ?

Posted by: John Thomas

Dear RAH; wow you are really vested in this ... why??? In any event, Qatar is a mess whether you like it or not, maybe the article is not completely accurate but you shouldn't be so worked up about it... chill!!
No matter how you paint it, as long as the Control Freak CEO of Qatar remains its CEO it will always be a mess... better to accept it and move on...

Posted by: RAH

I just checked oneworld.com and the website CLEARLY states exception to the rule that the writer quoted above.

The oneworld website does state exceptions to lounge access via http://www.oneworld.com/ffp/lounge-access

Oneworld website further states "Some lounges may get busy at peak times, and access to them may be restricted as a result."
Furthermore, oneworld writes "Each oneworld member airline reserves the right to change its frequent flyer programme rules, regulations, travel awards and special offers, and to end its frequent flyer programme in accordance with its relevant frequent flyer programme rules."

The writer stated one part of the website while clearly neglected to write the other parts that basically tells us that no, Qatar Airways did not break any rules as the article title states. What is happening here is that oneworld website failed to update their page to include Qatar's exclusions to lounge access priviledges.

Posted by: Yahya Ismail

Very much looks like a Qatar Airways sponsored comment or a PR company :)

Posted by: Cap

And hows is this any different from Emirates Airlines not allowing Gold and Platinum members from using the First Class lounge unless they're flying First Class.

Posted by: RAH

Its different because EK is not affiliated with an alliance, whereas Qatar is.

In any case, don't get worked up over the article. It is marred with mistakes and a very biased writing showcasing Qatar with a dim view. The oneworld website clearly states there are exceptions to lounge access and these exceptions were not mentioned in the article here, making it biased and inaccurate.

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