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I have a round the world flexi ticket booked through Qatar airways.

However this turns out not to be very flexible at all! Any changes mean calling the Qatar help desk, who claim they cannot do anything directly and must contact OneWorld via e-mail, who come back via telephone with options from the partner airline, and eventually a change in schedule comes through (or not).

Contacting the partner airline at the desk gets you the same procedure in reverse except it is the poor airline employee has to hang on phone for half an hour or more.

Does anyone know how to contact the OneWorld office that calls the shots directly?

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OneWorld is simply an alliance between a number of airlines. They do not sell or issue tickets, and they do not make changes to tickets.

In the situation you describe, they are simply acting as an intermediate between the various parties, but it's the airlines involved that actually need to do the work.

Your ticket is issued by Qatar, which means that any changes made need to be made by them. This is the #1 rule when it comes to airline tickets - they can only be modified by the airline that issued them. The other airline(s) involved are the ones you are flying, and thus obviously any changes need to be based on their availability. Normally airlines will do the process electronically, but it seems in this case for some reason they are reverting to phone/email.

In other words, there is nobody at "OneWorld" that can you help you - your only course of action is to talk to the airline that issued your ticket - Qatar.

  • But QATAR say they cannot do anything except contact oneworld who then contact the partner airline ( all via e-mail for ***** sake!) – James Anderson Oct 2 '15 at 14:59
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    @JamesAnderson: That doesn't make much sense, since Qatar Airways is the partner airline! – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 2 '15 at 19:45
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Oneworld doesn't provide a public contact, and even if they did, this is nothing to do with them. I am afraid you are talking with someone at Qatar who is either completely clueless or being deliberately obstructive.

If you have flown any part of the ticket, then control of the ticket can pass to the next airline on the ticket. Some airlines (AA, BA, CX, QF at least) will be willing to take over the ticket and re-issue it for you on their stock. [However, if they do they may do a tax/fee/surcharge recalculation on the existing segments (even before changes are made). BA is quite famous for collecting fuel surcharges that other validating carriers omit. Therefore you may wish to keep trying with Qatar.] Otherwise, Qatar retains control of the ticket.

Unlike most tickets, the oneworld Explorer fares cannot be issued automatically and must be manually priced and issued by hand. This is a rare skill that is only possessed by a few people nowadays. Therefore the front line agents are powerless to help you. You need to talk to a ticket desk. How did you book this in the first place? Do you have a contact for them? I suggest you start with that contact.

Your eticket receipt should include the issuing office and their contact information. If you did not get an eticket receipt, you may use a tool like the MyFlights app to find the issuing office information in the PNR.

There is no penalty for changing the dates within the ticket validity period, but a local service fee may apply. However if you are making changes before the departure of the first flight and the fare has increased since you bought the ticket, the difference will be payable.

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Could you give a few more details on which ticket you have? I am guessing it is the one world explorer, but I cannot be sure.

According to the inter-airline documents on the One World Explorer ticket the airlines are allowed to change your itinerary dates without fee. Changing stops would have a $125 USD fee. If they are offering to change stops for free, they may actually need email comms as that is special accommodation.

You are right that it is odd that they would go to email, unless they are changing your stops. It is possible that the staff you are talking to don't know what they are doing. Round-the-world tickets are a premium offering and for economy every other airline I have been on is fast to re-book. (In all three major alliances) I would make sure to talk to the booking and reservations departments. Customer service in general will deal with a lot of other complaints such as missing luggage.

  • Its an explorer ticket -- just changing dates. Of the several people I talked to either at Qatar or American Airlines no one seems up speed with the procedures. Just to make matters worse the tedious booking system means me and my partner are on separate bookings for the same trip so we have to suffer the pain twice over. – James Anderson Oct 2 '15 at 17:10

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