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Booking SNAFU with Qatar Airways

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I’ve run into a SNAFU with Qatar Airways (QA, for this post) and am hoping for some advice about how to proceed. I’ll try to spare all the gory details...

• I booked a flight from the eastern US to Singapore, back home from Bali with QA during a sale.
• I have a stop in Doha in each direction – I wanted a stop about 1/2 way each way! -- except that I chose poorly when planning my return route, electing for a longer layover than I would, in fact, prefer.
• In an exchange with them some time ago, I established that I don’t qualify for their layover hotel support options because I could have chosen the shorter layover.
• Yesterday, I spoke with them again to determine the cost of changing the flight from Bali to Doha to the one with the shorter layover, and determined that the cost of changing the flight – the difference in the current fare prices plus a fee for making the change -- is higher than I want to pay.

During that conversation – yes, really, during that conversation -- I learned that the 2nd flight of my US to Singapore route has been cancelled and they had put me on a different flight. What??? Without notifying me or offering me a choice??? Seriously? I was nearly speechless.
• So I now have a really long layover on the way there, too, and I arrive in Singapore late enough that I will not be able to do some of the things I want to do while there.
• They offered to comp me a hotel for the new long layover and said they would send an e-mail soon with that information.

• As soon as I got off the phone, I checked my e-mail and found a message from QA that was apparently sent and received while I had been on the phone with them. (Odd timing, isn’t it? It could happen….) It includes my itinerary, and it shows this change in flights – but only if you study the numbers. There is nothing in that message that suggests that there had been a change to my itinerary. I'm frankly stunned that there was nothing that clearly indicated a change.
• I have still not received anything about the transit hotel while en route to Singapore.

After calming down and considerng my options, what I would like would be to
(a) Leave a day earlier, using flights at the same times as my original flights AND
(b) Change my return flight to the one that has a shorter layover.
I have confirmed that all of these flights are still available.

My guess (I could be wrong!) is that I have a good case for having them switch me to flights the day before my original outbound leg – I hope to make the case that I, not they, should have the option of choosing whether to leave the US earlier or arrive in Singapore later. I’m less sanguine of persuading them to change the return flight.

I would appreciate any and all suggestions you have about how to approach this situation in a way that is most likely to help me achieve my objectives. Thank you in advance!

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