Qatar Airways Ban Travel Influencer Josh Cahill

Qatar Airways Bans Travel Influencer Josh Cahill After Controversial Review

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Josh Cahill, a renowned travel influencer celebrated for organizing Afghanistan’s first-ever all-female flight, found himself in hot water following a negative review of Qatar Airways. Despite a history of flying millions of miles and reviewing over 200 airlines, this marks the first time an airline has banned Cahill from future flights with them.

In his YouTube review, titled “The Shocking Decline of Qatar Airways,” posted on August 25, 2023, Cahill highlighted various aspects of his below-average experience with the airline, a shocker for him, given that the airline has established a reputation in the industry. The video gained significant traction, amassing millions of views on Facebook and over 500K on YouTube.

Cahill, a paying customer expecting more from a globally recognized airline, expressed disappointment with the shabby plane, lackluster in-flight entertainment, unclean facilities, limited food choices, and seemingly disengaged cabin crews.

For ethical and legal reasons, Cahill sought permission from the cabin crews to film inside the plane, an act reciprocated with agreement. However, the fallout was unforeseen. Two days after the vlogger published his review, Qatar Airways’ corporate communication team warned him against recording their conversation. Concerned for his safety and of those involved, Cahill recorded the conversation anyway.

The airline expressed discontent with the negative portrayal, offering Cahill free PR flights if he removed the video. Staying true to his principles, Cahill declined, triggering further actions from the airline. They requested the vlogger to take down the video and the supportive comments in exchange for free PR flights anywhere. Cahill politely declined their request and suggested they make things right by posting a comment on his review defending their side and sharing their point of view.

The airline was unwilling to succumb to the vlogger’s solution, so it ultimately canceled his flight to Bangkok, banning him from future bookings with Qatar Airways.

A subsequent email from the airline cited sections 8 and 12 of its contract of carriage, an inconsistency Cahill found perplexing, especially considering positive reviews from other vloggers were not met with similar enforcement.

In an alarming turn, one cabin crew member sent Cahill an email, admitting they had given permission for filming but were pressured by the airline to retract their statement. Failure to comply would result in dismissal. In this case, the airline was willing to sacrifice their employees in exchange for the removal of the negative review.

Persisting on keeping the video, Cahill faced another blow when Qatar Airways submitted falsified statements to YouTube, resulting in a demand for the video’s removal on privacy grounds. For the most part, YouTube was with Cahill on this matter, only restricting access from Qatar-based IP addresses but making the video available globally.

While Cahill cannot independently verify reports of the cabin crews’ dismissal, sources suggest that the airline’s unsuccessful attempts to suppress the video led to the termination of all cabin crews on his flight.

The incident raises questions about freedom of expression and the handling of negative reviews by business giants. Did the airline suppress Cahill’s right to give reviews as a paying customer?

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