Travellers flying via Qatar face upheaval following a diplomatic row that has seen Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with the country – here's what you can do if affected.
Qatar's capital Doha is a major international hub for long-haul flights, so the disruption isn't limited to passengers travelling to the country itself. Here's how flights are affected:
- Some major airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, have cancelled all flights to and from Doha.
- Qatar Airways flights between Qatar and the other countries involved in the row have also been cancelled until further notice – this will also affect passengers travelling via Qatar from somewhere else.
- British Airways' and Qatar Airways' direct flights between the UK and Qatar aren't affected.
The row centres around allegations of Qatar supporting extremist groups, which it denies.
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My flight's affected – what should I do?
You're unlikely to be able to use EU rules to claim additional compensation for delayed or cancelled flights, as it's highly likely the diplomatic crisis would be deemed an 'extraordinary circumstance' and so airlines are under no obligation to pay out.
If you're due to fly to or from Qatar, even if it's not your final destination, check your ticket to see which airlines you're flying with. If you think your flight's affected, contact your airline to check.
The following airlines have confirmed that customers booked to fly to and from Qatar will be offered an alternative route or refund (in most cases you'll be able to choose between the two):
Qatar Airways has said all passengers flying between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt will be offered alternative flights or a refund.
British Airways has said its direct flights to Doha are still running. It does not operate any onward flights from Doha.
What's the official advice about travelling to Qatar?
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice on travelling to Qatar warns that terrorism is "likely". This advice was updated in 2016 and not because of the diplomatic row.
If you wish to change your travel plans as a result of this, contact the airline or travel agent you made the booking with to see if it can help, but there is no guarantee it will do this for free. The FCO says many use its advice when making these decisions.