With a trip to the USA often taking 15 hours or more, the thought of travelling in economy class for that time is one too difficult to contemplate for many. Corporate travellers will often find Business Class mandated for such a journey, thanks to a company’s travel policy. But for the leisure traveller, avoiding economy more often than not will mean buying your own business class ticket. Even then, there are no guarantees it seems, when it comes to actually getting what you paid for.

Paid Brisbane-Los Angeles-New York return in Business (I) class (with Qantas). My friends (both Gold Frequent Flyers) have checked in (with 9 bags) but received economy boarding passes. Not Premium Economy, but Economy. They have now missed QF12 and QF94 (as well as the Delta, Virgin and Air New Zealand flights) and are receiving no co-operation from QF in Los Angeles as to why they have been downgraded.

At the time of writing, we don’t know the full story as to why this has happened. And it looks like our forum Qantas representative, Red Roo, is on the case when it comes to suitable resolutions. In the meantime our members were quick to voice their concerns and shock at the situation.

I would be very disappointed and angry having paid for J then put into Y. There is a world of difference between the two. I’d also be contacting my credit card as having paid for something I didn’t receive. I hope there is more to this otherwise Qantas has acted very poorly especially to a loyal passenger.

For many of our members, the act the customers were not even given a choice was the most surprising part.

Sounds like it was overbooked, though would have thought Gold FFs would have had a reasonable priority and others should have been bumped before them.

The bigger issue here is – aren’t airlines supposed to ask passengers who would be willing to be downgraded/wait for a later flight when they check-in, rather than just unilaterally bumping people? There could well have been other passengers who might have been happy to stay another day, or take a lower class seat and get some extra points/money. But these people were given no choice or options.

The airline should be negotiating, not just telling them they have been downgraded. That’s appalling customer service (especially of status passengers) and not the first time Qantas has acted in this way.

Sadly, as mentioned previously in the gazette, Australia is behind most of the world when it comes to travellers and consumer protection. Had it been a departure from a port in the European Union, 75% of the price of the flight would need to be refunded if a traveller is downgraded on a similar distance trip. As this is a departure from the USA, is likely US law would be applicable, which generally requires a refund in the difference between fare classes, paid in cash (not a travel voucher or credit).

Do you think the passengers have been treated fairly, perhaps you have been in a similar situation and if so, how did you handle the negotiations, what compensation did you achieve? Join the conversation HERE.


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