Qantas Rebooking Flights without Permission. Anyone Else Experienced This?

I originally had international return flights booked going to Japan for December 20th but they were cancelled by the airline a few weeks ago. The entire booking made in the same transaction included flying from Melbourne to Sydney and then Japan and vice versa. I tried to call them last night and gave up after waiting over 4 hours on the phone.

This morning I received a new email saying they had rebooked my flights as a Melbourne to Sydney trip…… with the Japan leg completely removed. Why would they book me for a trip I never planned? This seems super dodgy as possible against consumer law. Not only that but I have received no information about a refund at all for the Japan part of the trip. I know under consumer law I am entitled to a refund for the entire journey.

Extremely angry and frustrated at having to deal with this. They are using dodgy tactics to hold on to my money and prevent me from getting a refund. Waiting for hours upon hours on hold with no response on the telephone.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue? Is there a regulatory body I can make a complaint to?

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Comments

  • Did you book with Qantas direct or through a travel agent? Similar thing happened to me; booked Sydney-Adelaide return for late November through Flight Centre, and it was rebooked as Adelaide-Sydney return for early December (wtf). Ended up cancelling for a credit

    • +2

      Direct through the website.
      All as part of a single journey.
      That's why it's really frustrating.

  • +1

    Waiting for hours upon hours on hold with no response on the telephone.

    Thats normal. Specially the way the country is at moment with everywhere opening..

    • +6

      No that is just normal for Qantas at ALL times, before Covid

      • 100 times this. The most frustrating experience, especially if it's urgent.

        • +1

          Man trying to book a RTW flight and being on hold for 3-4hrs and then having the south african call center just hang up on you when you ask for a difficult route booking or they didn't know the rules in the T&C and they won't go and look it up. I wanted to smash my phone when they just hung up.

  • +7

    I had the exact same issue for flights in December with Qantas.
    Fortunately, I booked through Amex Travel, so I contacted them via their live online chat and they confirmed the Japan leg was cancelled and issued me a full refund + a reset of the travel voucher (so now I get another year on it).

    Usually I feel booking through airlines directly is the best way to do it, but this makes me feel like Amex Travel might be my go-to for a while.

    • +11

      It is not even a like for like flight.
      It's not even going to the same destination.
      Why would someone going to Japan be ok with a flight just going to Sydney?
      It defies common sense and is disgusting behaviour aimed at only keeping the customers' money.
      Who can trust this company?

      • +2

        Monopolies are fun!

        • +8

          I’m glad we clarified that you have literally no idea what you’re on about.

          • @jackary: So airlines don't overbook?

            Qantas didn't pay millions for their T's & C's?

            • +1

              @MS Paint: That’s not the discussion at hand my good man.

              • +1

                @jackary: Clearly the OPs issue is unique and most likely an automated system error. They need to speak to Qantas to resolve. That process will take a long time.

                Automated booking errors (or similar) will be written into the T's and C's somewhere that absolves them from any ramifications.

                • +8

                  @MS Paint: And we’ve circled back to the start again. Is there a specific clause of the T&C’s you had in mind or are you just taking a crapshoot?

                  I’m not trying to be rude, but you tried to berate OP for not reading the T&C’s. I’m sure OP would like to know what you’re suggesting he/she missed?

                  • +2

                    @jackary: Ok.

                    I'll stop. I cannot quote the specifics.

                    Thanks for pulling me up.

                    Apologies to op if I caused any extra stress.

                  • +1

                    @jackary: What people don't get ( see OP ) that with the ticket you have not bought any rights.

  • Unless you are on business or first class, for them Trip to A or trip to A by C D E is the same.

    That's happened to me few times, nothing you can do, it's part of the T&C.

    • +1

      I am very surprised "goods/services not as described" are permitted in T&C without breaching the Consumer Law.

    • +1

      However in the OP's case, the "A" in Trip to A is Japan.

      So "Trip to [Japan] or Trip to [Japan] by [Sydney] is the same" is something I can understand… unlike Trip to Japan = Trip to Sydney 🤦🏻‍♂️

  • -1

    It's most likely a system constraint that's creating this - for example, it may be that the flights to Japan have all been removed from the system (or a particular date range has been removed), causing the rebooking algorithm to pick what it thinks is the next best alternative for you. Unless you've acknowledged/accepted the flight change in the booking management page, you should have no issues getting the booking cancelled + refunded (though prob with a good delay on the refund bit).

  • +3

    Did you book a return trip Melbourne to Japan that was routed via Sydney? Its not clear from your post, you say same transaction but that doesn't necessarily mean you had a straight Melbourne-Japan return.

    if you did then, yes, you should be able to get a refund for the lot.

    Qantas call centre is notoriously bad and that has got worse since covid. They have call centres in Hobart, Auckland and Capetown. The Phillipines centre is now mainly for frequent flyer related calls.

    The Cape Town call centre will never be able to help you with your problem because its beyond their capabilities. if you get through to them just hang up.

    The Hobart office is the best but is reserved for premium frequent flyers. The best way around this is to have a friend who is a platinum or gold frequent flyer and get them to call Qantas on a conference call with you. I've done this and the call centre dont care.

    The best time to call is 0700-0800, Hobart has just opened at the same time Auckland is still available. Call earlier and you'll most likely get Cape Town.

    Auckland is hit and miss but if you just want a refund they should be able to do it. Its 8-10 weeks wait for a refund.

    • Yes, it was a Melbourne to Japan trip via Sydney.
      I tried to make it as clear as possible because I knew people would make that comment.
      I have been on the line for 3 hours again tonight with no answer.
      That's 6.5 hours wasted so far and no resolution.

      • No. It is not clear.

  • +3

    Read recently about the customer who cancelled 350K worth of Qantas company bookings after 71 hours on hold - so not that surprised what Qantas service has become.

    • +1

      Wow, that is messed up.
      I feel like I don't have a chance in the world.

  • If they rescheduled the flight then you can refuse the reschedule and get a full refund.

    IIRC it takes up to 3 months for the refund. If you booked with a travel agent the refund is much quicker.

  • As I understand it, the T&Cs allow airlines to change bookings based on availability of flights etc. However, if the new flights arent suitable you should call them to change the flights again.

    These sorts of changes are normal, and have been fairly common recently

    Cancelling a flight and requesting a refund can take a long time to get the funds back. i have a friend that has been waiting many months. Or you can keep a credit with them for use on another flight

    This type of thing creates a risk if you do your own bookings for international flights. If the Australian airline changes a flight that has a negative impact on a subsequent flight in a country that you have booked independently (e.g. missing a connection) then you are stuffed. That is why for international trips I always try to use the one airline so that all flights are on the one ticket. That way the airline (and its partners) will look after you if their changes cause flow on problems with subsequent flights.

    The other thing that is a risk with airlines, but which hasnt happened to me or anyone that I know, is that they can cancel all subsequent flights on a ticket if you miss one leg. So if you are going to miss a flight it is always best to notify the airline before the flight so that you dont risk your subsequent flights. Im not sure how often this sort of thing happens but I have read about it. But I dont know any more about this issue.

  • +2

    I've had similar experiences with Qantas. They recently rescheduled me with overnights in Melbourne to go from Tasmania to Canberra in both directions and even got the sectors mixed up, so it wasn't even possible to fly from Melbourne if I hadn't even left Canberra… and its excruciating to wait hours on the phone to speak to someone incompetent who has no hope of fixing it and has no idea what the problem is… I ended up cancelling all my flights on line and took the car.

    Hoping my trip to Finland won't have complications in January!!!! Wishful thinking I know…

  • +2

    Qantas have been god-awful of late. I had some credits disappear from my account recently, which i got when Qantas cancelled some 2020 flights of mine due ot Covid.
    Took THIRTEEN HOURS (13hrs) on hold to them on the phone across 4 calls to sort it out, and its still only sorted about 95% but i'm going to give up fixing up the last 5%.
    Awful systems, processes, phone helpdesk and customer support in general.

    p.s. their Phone systems currently have a "feature" where if the operator is trying to sort something complex out and puts you on hold for longer than ~10mins, the system hangs up on you automatically. And they dont call you back. So you gotta call back again, another 3hrs on hold to get to a human, and explain from the beginning what you're after. @#$(

    • +1

      Sorry to hear your experience was even worse than mine.
      I can't understand how such a debacle can be allowed to continue.
      We should all be complaining to whoever the relevant overseeing organisation is.

  • +1

    Why do people even fly with Qantas?

    Expensive, cramped seating, poor in-flight service, and as we can see from the above, abysmal pre-flight service.

  • +1

    It is simply too risky to travel anywhere at the moment. Because of business and government rules and regulations, not because of covid. Ironic.

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