Following news that several GCC and Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya were cutting ties with Qatar, airlines across the region announced they will be suspending flights to and from the country.
Qatar Airways also suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt until further notice.
An announcement on their website read: "All customers booked on affected flights will be provided with alternative options, including the option of a full refund on any unused tickets and free rebooking to the nearest alternative Qatar Airways network destination."
The restrictions will certainly affect thousands of nationals and expats who live in the GCC and who regularly travel between the countries for work or other purposes.
We spoke to a few of those affected and here's what they told us about the current situation.
All those interviewed spoke to us on condition of anonymity.
"It’s chaotic at the moment"
For families who live in one of the countries cutting ties with Qatar and who also have relatives living in the Gulf state, news of flight cancellations is extremely worrying.
Speaking to Stepfeed, M.N who lives in Saudi Arabia along with her husband and has a son who lives in Qatar told us of the chaos that has ensued since the travel restrictions took effect.
“I live with my husband in Saudi Arabia, and my son works in Qatar. I was going to visit him there next week and now I won't be able to go," she said.
M.N. worries her son won't be able to come visit them in Saudi and explains that amid the current situation the only option left for them is to meet back in their home country.
"With the recent happenings, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like for us. I used to travel at least 3-4 times a year between the two countries, my son also travels back and forth for work. It’s chaotic at the moment, our travel plans have been halted and we’re hoping that things are figured out soon.”
"We'll have to wait and see"
When it comes to people who travel between Qatar and other GCC countries for work, the situation is also quite complicated.
This is because many hold jobs that require them to travel extensively across the GCC.
A. H. who lives in Qatar explained that he usually travels to countries including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain at least twice a month as part of his job. As of Tuesday morning, his travel plans have all been halted.
“I don’t know what the next step is, I mean there’s nothing much anyone can do now except wait and see what happens in the next few days,” he told us, adding that he and his colleagues are worried about the effect the travel restrictions will have on their business and life in general.
“Alternative travel options remain unclear”
S.H., who lives in Qatar had booked a flight to visit her family in the UAE, next week.
Speaking to Stepfeed, she said: "I am truly upset that I won't be able to visit now, and I can't even think of what I'd do in the near future, as I had several other trips planned. One of them was to attend a friend's graduation in Dubai next month."
"At the moment, if I want to see my family, we'll all have to make a trip back home, which is practically impossible for us at the moment. I am not sure if there are any alternative travel options for us, but if there are they remain unclear," she added.
"Eid flights cancelled"
Speaking to Stepfeed, S.A. who lives in Qatar, said that she and many of her friends had already booked flights to the UAE for Eid.
Eid is considered a high season for airlines in the region, as it sees thousands traveling to visit relatives or enjoy vacations.
"Our Eid flights have been canceled. We had booked early so as to get a good deal," she explained.
S.A. also said that she had tried to contact airline officials or anyone at the airport to get more details on the situation early on Tuesday, but was unable to get through.
She thinks it's because information desks are currently overwhelmed.