13 Women Flying Qatar Airways Given Genital Inspection At Doha Airport

I’m a big fan of Qatar Airways. Their inflight product is great, their route network opens up a world of possibilities, and they’re a great way to use American AAdvantage miles. Airlines are generally far more liberal and westernized than the countries they serve, and it’s easy to forget sometimes that even this westernizing influence can be overcome by local ways of doing things that shock human rights.

A baby was found abandoned in a restroom in the Doha airport terminal. Someone abandoned the child which is a tragedy. What happened next is shocking. Qatari authorities detained 13 different women prior to departure of Qatar Airways flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney earlier this month in an attempt to find the mother.

Authorities “forced them to remove their underwear for a genital examination in an ambulance on the tarmac.” In addition to these women enroute to Australia “Women from other countries were also detained and subjected to inspections.”

Hama International Airport, Doha

The women then proceeded to travel home to Australia where they completed the required 14 day quarantine. Australian officials have “registered…serious concerns regarding the incident with Qatari authorities.”

Travel to places where human rights aren’t fully respected entails risks. Those risks are on the rise in China for instance. I’ve enjoyed visiting Doha. The Museum of Islamic Art is absolutely worth the stop. But this incident certainly gives pause.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. First, trying to catch the culprit by doing the examination was always going to be a stretch. It rests on the fundamentally shaky theory that the perpetrator was a departing passenger and not an arrival or airport employee, and that if it was a departing passenger that they hadn’t already departed.

    Second, don’t they have security cameras there? I think that would have given them a better chance at catching whoever it was. I read on another site that the premature baby died and there’s no mention of how far along it was.

    BTW, Qatar has an entire web page devoted to pregnancy flying on its website…


  2. You people responding are unbelievable! Don’t trust those people near ANY women, children or animals–ever

  3. China will never violate human rights in such a way. Facial recognition technology rendered genital inspection unnecessary.

  4. Question is , where was human rights when a mother dumped a helpless baby?…. When you speak of human rights it must be meaningful, and the exam was purely medical to determine the recent mother that dumped a baby…. don’t just throw stones neglecting obvious facts for the naked eye!

  5. So a teacher gets her head cut off, yet Qatar pulls French products off the shelves. Now they attempt to rape christian women. Expect amazing!!!!

  6. These people are 5 minutes removed from the C14th. Don’t be fooled by the vulgar modernity of these cesspits; they’re still as feudal and medieval as it gets.

  7. I wonder why they didn’t say no. I would have refused the moment I was instructed to remove clothing, demanded the American Consulate and raised holy hell.

  8. @noway:
    “So a teacher gets her head cut off, yet Qatar pulls French products off the shelves. Now they attempt to rape christian women. Expect amazing!!!!”

    1) The beheaded teacher was Samuel Paty, a male, not a female, so the correct pronoun is “his”, not “her”;
    2) The boycott of French products is a spontaneous reaction across the Islamic world, not a Qatar government action;
    3) Nobody attempted any ‘rape’ and you don’t know what faith the women in this story were.

    You have a sloppy disregard for the facts so don’t try and reach an opinion until you fix that, otherwise that opinion will be the result of pig ignorance.

  9. What the actual F??? This is unbelievable and a horrific violation for these women. Beyond disgusting.

  10. Should do more than ‘give pause’. This is what creates a situation where a woman might abandon her newborn (in a place it will be found).
    From the Washington Post:
    “In Qatar, sex between unmarried people is illegal, according to a law that largely targets women and marginalized migrant workers, which sometimes leads to secret pregnancies, Deutsche Welle reported.”
    From the NY Times:
    “The Doha episode shined a harsh light on the treatment of women in a country where systemic gender disparity and oppression are common, and where it is illegal to have sex or become pregnant outside of marriage. Local women charged with such a crime, known as “zina,” can be imprisoned.”

  11. Gary

    This might be a good incidence where turning off commenting would be advisable….mine included.

  12. why not put politics in responses here. this is a meandering article. with Gary adding crazy apparently political spin commentary at the end. Gary always puts some spin in that is anti-administration. What does China travel restrictions have to do with this subject? Gotta read these crazy articles for the even crazier reader base comments.

  13. hopefully the Australian government puts an end to this human rights abusing tactics by the Qatari absolute monarchy royal family !! Qatari regime must be fined an sanctioned the hell out of them

  14. 20% of the women would have been menstruating.

    Quite what the Qataris thought they might find boggles the mind. They must know less than nothing about the female body.

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