That dream came to an end when met by Qatar Airways’ supervisor at Brussels airport. Having traveled the world for many years and with many different airlines, the band and crew have never experienced such lack of ability to accommodate 12 ticketholders with a small special need.
After 30 years of traveling with different bands, no one from this band and crew have ever met a smaller person. The band members carried guitars and two bass guitars in soft gig bags, which were accepted on board by the carrier taking them toEuropea few days prior to this incident (and has always been accepted by all other airlines in the past).
Qatar Airways insisted that soft bags with valuable and irreplaceable instruments were to be checked in as normal baggage and loaded in the plane’s compartment.
Trying to talk sense to the supervisor was only met by a somewhat polite decline, claiming it was company policy to check said instruments, which later was denied by the same airline when ourDubaipromoter made a call to Qatar Airways.
To cut the story as short as possible, attempts were later done to try to go to Dubai with Turkish Airlines, who had no problems letting guitar bags into the cabin, as well as Etihad Airways, who also said “no problem” when hearing about the small special request.
The Dubai promoter did any- and everything possible to make the show happen, even offering to buy business class tickets for the entire travel party with Turkish Airlines to solve this (willing to take a guaranteed loss to avoid canceling the show) – only to find out that Qatar Airways refused to accept the return tickets from Dubai to Brussels as the band and crew did not board for the first part of the trip.
Etihad Airways was the next possible solution, but trouble with ticket payments (only hard cash or the credit card from someone present at the ticket counter accepted) made this impossible.
After spending 6 hours at the airport running back and forth between airlines and talking to theDubaipromoter, the band and crew realized that the actions of a small man who had his own strict policy and could not think a little bit outside the box, made this day one of the most miserable ever.
TheDubaipromoter was willing to go far beyond what made financial sense in order to bring the show toDubaiand stick to his commitment, which makes this even more sad for all parts involved , except for the triumphant Qatar Airways supervisor with his own agenda.
WE HAVE CONTACTED QATAR AIRWAYS DIRECTLY AND ARE WAITING FOR THEIR FEEDBACK ON THIS INCIDENT.
Here is the statement from The Hourglass guitarist Rawad Abdel Massih
Guys, im the guitarist of The Hourglass the opening band. u cant believe how much a disappointment this is for us, actually the most disappointing thing happened to us since we started the band 10 years ago.I have to say to the people who have doubts about the story (and here i am talking from the promoter’s (Sharbel) perspective), this story is a true story, it is not a lie. But like many, I don’t find what happened reason enough for not taking the flight, JOP has their own opinion and that’s their own call. but from our side i guess the problem should have been solved by shipping them on the cost of the promoter, or checking guitars in Dubai have them tuned and ready or any other solution that could be possible, u know in Dubai there is every kind of guitar including a 5000$ Gibson Les Paul, and as a band manager they should have always plan B, or else most of the shows will be canceled cuz everyone faces this kind of shit always. So briefly, personally i dont find it an enough reason for JOP not to take the flight, but they take their own decisions.Honestly guys, i was with Sharbel the whole time next to him when he spent 4 hours making tens of calls with the management of JOP, you should know guys that Sharbel really is not responsible for ANYTHING, he was ready even to lose Dh100,000 on the show, but JOP’s manager said he doesn’t have the money to pay for his new tickets at the Brussels airport, and there was no way (technically) for Sharbel to pay that, until next day morning to verify his CC no.from our side as The Hourglass, as i said, i guess there is no one as much as us got disappointed from what happened, it was our dream which became a nightmare. BUT we will not just go home after spending so much time, effort and money in this. we will be playing at Metal Asylum on Friday the 29th. we’ll post details later.
many thanks for everyone who helped us reach here. and guys , i know its a huge disappointment for u, but at minimum Sharbel is an honest man who will be refunding every dime. we hope to see u at Metal Asylum guys