I would be traveling from Mumbai - Doha - Cape Town South Africa. (Qatar Airways all the way) This would be in late June.

While the Mumbai - Doha is an easy and sweet ride. The next connection from Doha to Cape Town is 22 hours away (layover). It is probable that there are other flights which go from Doha to Cape Town (on Qatar Airways) within that 22 hour window and am sure there is possibility that there would be no-shows as such. In such a scenario is it possible to change the tickets for the earlier flight by paying some small difference ?

Is it possible to ask the check-in counter if such a possibility comes up. I am sure there are and would be empty seats and the airline would like to have 100% occupancy in the flight.

  • 3
    Note that Qatar Airways only operates one direct flight a day from Doha to Cape Town (it leaves around 2:59 in late June according to their schedule). Since your layover is 22 hours, there isn't going to be an earlier flight to request. You can talk to reservations about whether there are any connecting flights that would leave earlier, probably connecting through Johannesburg, but there will likely be additional costs involved, depending on the fare rules for your ticket. May 13, 2016 at 17:11
  • Or not because connecting flights are typically cheaper and if they overbooked... as the answer says: who knows.
    – user4188
    May 13, 2016 at 18:12
  • 3
    "I am sure there are and would be empty seats and the airline would like to have 100% occupancy in the flight." Qatar would also like to avoid revenue spoilage, such as allowing people to believe they can buy a cheap flight and then swap to a more desirable or expensive flight on the day for free.
    – Calchas
    May 13, 2016 at 18:58
  • 1
    Note that for long-haul international routes like this, it's quite common for a particular airline to only operate one flight per day (or even only a few per week,) especially to cities that don't have very high demand. Also, it's incredibly uncommon for an airline to allow you to change your schedule without a fee if you're booked on a cheap fare class and don't have frequent flier status with the airline.
    – reirab
    May 13, 2016 at 20:41
  • I've done this domestically between LAX and JFK... Cant hurt asking. May 14, 2016 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


You can always ask. They may say yes, they may say no.

It depends on availability, fare class, your status with the airline, whether you have checked luggage (or not), mood of the agent, and phase of the moon.


It is probably not possible for you to get an earlier flight unless someone invents a time machine.

However, on some classes of tickets, Qatar Airways will pay for a hotel room and meals for you in this circumstance, and in that case you may be allowed to clear immigration and go to the hotel without a transit visa.

Holders of a prearranged Stopover Paid by Carrier (STPC) issued to those in transit for min. 8 hours and max. 24 hours are permitted to leave the transit area, if holding passports valid for at least 3 months and subject to approval from immigration.

You should contact Qatar Airways immediately, to find out if you are eligible for the free accommodations.

Note that the transit without visa only applies if the airline pays for your accommodations. It does not apply if you pay for the accommodations yourself.

  • I do doubt that we would do a good thing if a time-machine does come, we would probably make things more worse than they already are. I, for one am happy it doesn't exist :)
    – shirish
    May 13, 2016 at 19:26
  • 1
    +1. While this is a good gesture from QR, most tickets (the cheapest "o" class) are not eligible for this. I traveled QR many times lately with the discounted fares which they offer frequently, there is no accommodation. Doha airport is quite good and you can easily find some place to crash. I only had max 12-15 hrs, so OP's case can be different.
    – AKS
    May 13, 2016 at 19:38
  • The Qatar Airways page also says there's a hotel in the airport itself. Even if you had to pay our of pocket, it might be a better option than sitting in a chair in a departure lounge for almost a day. May 13, 2016 at 23:08

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