A cry for help - Another example of QF System Failure leading to loss of Award seats

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As it says in the title, I’m suffering from another Qantas System Failure.

I have already phoned the call centre many times, I have filed a Customer Care form via the QF website, and I have sent an email to Stephanie Tully (or at least an email address with her name on it that probably goes to an assistant of hers…). So far with no response, let alone solution...

To explain my predicament, following is a (slightly edited) copy of what I sent to Ms Tully:


I apologise for troubling you with this issue, but I feel like I have exhausted every other normal avenue available to me.
I hope that you can help me.
Background:
I have an itinerary which, until recently, consisted of 8 sectors on various OneWorld carriers, and on 22 May 2022 was ticketed by Qantas on ‘081’ ticket numbers.
On 25 May 2022, Qantas advised me of an involuntary schedule change, initiated by Qatar, and affecting flight numbers & times on sectors 3 & 4 of the itinerary (FCO-DOH, DOH-KUL).
Soon after, I accepted these changes via the Qantas website.
The booking details were adjusted to reflect this change on the Qantas website, but Qantas did not produce new tickets.
I also saw that the booking details were adjusted to reflect the change on the Qatar, Finnair and Japan Airlines websites.
Since then, I have phoned the Qantas call centre 7 times in an attempt to have the adjusted itinerary ticketed; each time referring to my (very justifiable) fear that if it was left unticketed there was a high risk that some of the award seats would be cancelled by their carriers (Qatar in particular).
Each time I called, I was assured that the itinerary had been put into the ticketing queue, and that the new tickets would be produced in 24-48 hours. No tickets have been produced.
Now, on 24 June 2022, I noticed in ‘Manage My Booking’ on the Qantas website, that 4 of the 8 sectors have been cancelled from the itinerary.
Without going into a lengthy emotional rant..., I am now absolutely frantic to rectify this as soon as possible.
Since discovering this issue, I have phoned the Qantas call centre 4 times in an effort to have it rectified.
So far, the call centre staff (who seem to be genuinely trying to help), have not made any progress at all.
Two of the calls have concluded with the call centre staff member promising to do further work and call me back. So far, those promises have not been kept.
A couple of Details:
Itinerary PNR: xx_xx_
Family Name: xx_xx_
QFF#: ###### & ######
Ticket Numbers (at 22 May 2022): 081 ##########-## and 081 ##########-##
Total Fees, Taxes, etc. paid to date: $3,###.00 (2 passengers combined)
This Itinerary is a OneWorld Classic Award, all in Business Class.
It is in 2 parts: The first 4 sectors relate to a journey from SE Asia to Italy and return; the last 4 sectors relate to a journey from SE Asia to USA and return.
The issues:
The itinerary currently contains 1 sector with 2 passengers in Business on 17 Aug 2022 on AY132 from SIN-HEL. But… it has lost the connecting sector on 18 Aug 2022 on AY1751 from HEL-MXP. So that leaves us stranded at the transit hub.
The Qantas website currently shows that there are at least 2 award Business seats available on the missing flight.
On the face of it, this looks like a relatively straightforward item: add the missing sector back in.
Once that is done, then the ‘Italy Journey’ is complete.
Taking a realistic approach, my guess is that there is very little chance of recovering the 3 missing sectors of the ‘USA Journey’.
Obviously I’m unhappy about that, but I have sufficient flexibility to postpone that Journey for a few months.
The Qantas website currently shows that there are suitable Business class award seats available in May.
Again, this should be straightforward: delete the 1 remaining ‘USA Journey’ sector from the itinerary (HND-JFK), and add in the new available sectors.
Once that is done, then the ‘USA Journey’ is complete.
New Sectors currently available:
10 May 2023, QR853, KUL-DOH,
10 May 2023, QR701, DOH-JFK,
31 May 2023, JL5, JFK-HND,
1 June 2023 JL79, HND-SGN
Get the itinerary ticketed.
Again, this should be straightforward: Adjust any Fees, taxes, etc. difference as required, adjust any points difference as required (none expected), and submit to ticketing.
Once that is done, then the itinerary is complete and we can all go back to our lives...
The Request:
As we both currently only have Bronze status, it appears to be impossible for me to reach the call centres in Hobart or Auckland where the most experienced & knowledgable call centre staff seem to be found.
I believe that if I can somehow reach an experienced & knowledgeable staff member, then these seemingly straightforward issues can be addressed and rectified.
Is there any way that you could put me in contact with someone who possesses the required experience, knowledge & authority to get this done?
I understand that you probably don’t want to hand out a direct phone number to me to call, so an alternative would be to ask someone to call me (there would need to be a little bit of organisation required to coordinate a mutually agreeable date & time, but I will be very flexible for this).
I apologise again for troubling you with this request, but I don’t seem to have any option.
Please keep in mind that this entire issue has arisen following an involuntary change by Qatar, followed by failure to promptly re-ticket by Qantas, then exacerbated by failure to promptly rectify the failure to re-ticket by Qantas call centre staff.
Thank you in advance for any assistance that you are able to provide.
But if you decide that you will not take any action on my behalf, please, please, please let me know as soon as possible, so that I can attempt to make alternative arrangements.
Best Regards,
“Jimmy"

In my email I tried to keep calm, stick to the facts, and provide realistic solutions. I don’t know what more I can do.

I think this case goes to the very core of the value proposition of accumulating QFF points by the general public.
Qantas goes to great lengths to promote the QFF program, showcasing the many ways of redeeming QFF points: Toasters, Coffee Machines, Gift Cards, Wine, Hotels, Upgrades, Domestic Flights, International Flights, etc.
But underlying it all is the message “if you collect the points, you’ll be able to get long haul international premium cabin award seats*”

* But in the fine print there might be a few passing references to the fact that these are sometimes not available when you want them...

In this instance, I had managed (despite all of the challenges brought by the CV19 period) to cobble together the holy grail of QFF point redemption: The OneWorld Classic Award, with a Europe section and a USA section, split by a “Stop” in SE Asia - only 8 sectors, but maxing out the milage.

As you know, the only way to get this done for a lowly Bronze such as myself, is to put in hours of planning 12 months before the first flight in the itinerary, and then hover over the keyboard on ’seat release day’ (which varies depending upon which carrier you seek) in an attempt to beat all the other like minded members trying to do the same thing.
Of course, for an itinerary that spans more than a few days (i.e. almost all of them…), the award sectors need to be added one or two at a time. But that can’t be done online; each time you need to run the gauntlet that is the Qantas Call Centre [Insert Rant here about the many deficiencies of the QF CC, particularly for lesser status members].

Sorry, I got carried away…
Back to the Core Value I alluded to earlier. There’s a lot involved with compiling a OWCA itinerary, and getting it fully ticketed, but for those with perseverance, time, & knowledge it is possible. But, the itinerary will generally be complete about 6 months before the first sector is due. Particularly now (during CV19 recovery), but even in ’normal times’, there’s a decent chance that there will be carrier initiated schedule changes. And so it can all go down the toilet if QF can’t get the itinerary re-ticketed after the change. With the high number of carrier schedule changes occurring, and the number of ticketing issues detailed by AFF members, the risk of creating an award redemption and later having it snatched away from you is very real.

Just as an aside… During the Europe leg of this itinerary (due to start in 6 or 7 weeks) we are walking about 1,000km from NW Italy to Rome, so I have about 60 nights of accomodation booked, most of them single nights - so its not just the award flights that are at risk here… (but I understand that has nothing to do with Qantas).


So…
If you’re still reading…

Can anyone suggest any other avenues that I can pursue (keeping in mind that I’m not the ‘go to Current Affair’ type, although a bit of written Social Media isn’t out of the question)?

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can give.
Best Regards,
"Jimmy"
 

Scr77

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Hey Jimmy. How did you manage to get this booked in the first place? Was it before Qantas banished bronze from the local call centres? I presume you have tried the supposedly priority numbers in the long call centre wait times thread And are still going offshore?
 
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I got most of it finalised before the Call Centre times blew out earlier this year, and the last bits by using the numbers published in the "Qantas Call Centre Long Wait Times" thread.
Yes, I've used the numbers recently to try for resolution of my issues - still go offshore. There's now very little wait time to get through, especially on 1300 659 116, but IME the agents still suffer from lack of training, lack of experience, lack of supervisory support, poor backroom systems, etc., etc.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I think it was an excellent email to QF!

It was clear, easy to follow, and I didn’t lose interest at any point while reading. I initially thought maybe the ‘issues’ section could have been left out, but on second thoughts it will be easy for QF to forward that email to Hobart and someone can see the exact problem.

Let’s hope you get a result!
 

snabbu

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I feel for you Jimmy, I really do. You are absolutely right about QF selling the dream of premium cabin long haul awards for the masses where in reality its next to impossible for 90% of members.

Good luck with the email, to me it seems clear and concise. Whether anything happens or not is another question.. I hope for your sake it is promptly rectified.
 

Franky

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I got most of it finalised before the Call Centre times blew out earlier this year, and the last bits by using the numbers published in the "Qantas Call Centre Long Wait Times" thread.
Yes, I've used the numbers recently to try for resolution of my issues - still go offshore. There's now very little wait time to get through, especially on 1300 659 116, but IME the agents still suffer from lack of training, lack of experience, lack of supervisory support, poor backroom systems, etc., etced
Speaking of cries for help, hadn't seen a checkin email from QF for our flight to Sydney tomorrow morning, so thought I had better do it myself. Twice the response has been 'It looks like something went wrong, try again later'. Sigh. Will give it a shot at the airport tomorrow.
 

kpc

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drron

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Jimmy all the best.This must be really gut wrenching. And as others have said you sent a wonderful email which does set out what could be done. Should be straightforward.
Qf really is the pits.
 
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Status Update:

Today, with the extremely generous help of a Platinum status QFF member, I was able to make contact with the Hobart call centre. [See note below for a few details on that process…]

As I had hoped, once I was able to talk to an experienced & knowledgable agent, most of my booking and ticketing issues were able to be overcome (using only currently available award seat inventory - no special favours).

My current status is that my itinerary now contains 7 of the 8 required flight sectors (up from 4 of 8), with the remaining sector waiting on a re-instatement request via the OneWorld help desk. The Hobart agent submitted the itinerary for ticketing in its current state to protect the 7 sectors in the meantime. The tickets have not yet arrived, but I’m hopeful that they will arrive overnight.

So, if the remaining sector is re-instated, and the entire itinerary is re-ticketed, then all of the issues will be resolved.
Obviously it’s not all finalised yet, but I feel like significant progress has been made.
Fingers crossed...

My special thanks to the volunteer Platinum member for their unwavering perseverance well beyond the call of duty, and to the Hobart agent that agreed to attend to the needs of a lowly Bronze member for 2 hours.



A few notes on contacting the Hobart Call Centre with Platinum Credentials

We started dialling about 10:15am.
It took 10 consecutive calls over a bit more than an hour to finally connect to Hobart.
Roughly half of the first 9 calls went to South Africa, the remainder went to Fiji.
Most calls took between 5 and 10 minutes to answer.
We used a mixture of the 13 12 11 & 1300 659 116 numbers.
Such is the value of the Premium Line (but the agent was great once we got through)
 

Mattg

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Can I just say a huge kudos to the AFF member who volunteered their time to help @There'sOnlyOneJimmy get this sorted. This is a key example of the value of being a part of a helpful community like AFF.

I think it's appalling that the OP had to resort to this to get their matter sorted (which wasn't even their fault in the first place), but that's another matter...
 

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