Qantas recently emailed customers flying out of Melbourne, warning them of delays during roadworks on the Tullamarine Freeway. These emails mistakenly contained the surnames and booking reference numbers of other passengers.
If the email recipient had logged onto the Qantas website using the information in the email before the error was detected, they would have been able to see the customer’s personal information. This includes the passenger’s email address, phone number, frequent flyer number and flight details. If it was an international booking, the passenger’s passport details and date of birth may have also been visible.
Qantas has since sent an email to affected customers, to explain what happened and to apologise for the breach. The airline claims that the mistake has been investigated and should not happen again. Qantas has also issued new booking reference numbers to affected passengers.
While affected customers were not required to take any action, some say they lost their allocated seats when their tickets were re-issued.
Our members are understandably concerned that such a breach of privacy was able to occur in the first place. Nonetheless, many believe the situation has been handled relatively well. They give credit to Qantas for proactively contacting affected customers and apologising. As the loophole has since been closed, one member does not believe much more could have been done after the fact.
One member points out that the data compromised in this breach can also be extracted from any airline boarding pass. This member advises flyers concerned about exposing their personal information to be vigilant when posting photos of boarding passes online.
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