Been a no-show ? Qantas & Virgin probably owe you money !!!

Discussion in 'Qantas Frequent Flyer Program' started by simoninsingapore, Jun 27, 2007.

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  1. simoninsingapore

    simoninsingapore Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    13
    0
    Hiya,

    Here's an article I'm about to place with a few newspapers. Keen to get your feedback ! No idea what the rules are on this site, if any, regarding commercial activities, but rest assured I couldn't give a bugger about being remunerated for this story, although if they offer me cash I'll probably take it. OK, so here we go.
    Flown on a red dot special cheapie air ticket lately ? Couldn't make the flight and forfeited the ticket ? I'll bet you wrote the cost off as the price you pay for buying a cheap air ticket. Well guess what - the airline owes you about $40 ($150 for international flights) and it has no intention of refunding it back to you unless you go out of your way to ask for it. You might expect this sort of reluctance from the corner shop, but huge corporate entities with reputations to protect ? What does this say about their honesty and sense of decency ?
    Some years ago the airlines got into the lark of shoving a number of
    charges and taxes into a separate bucket to the sticker ticket
    price. This has been a global phenomenon, and we are now used to
    seeing headline international fares increase by about $300 when
    taxes and various other supposedly "non-operational" costs are
    loaded into the fare. The airlines like doing this because (1) it
    makes their fares look cheap to gormless travellers and (2) it
    effectively dilutes the value of the frequent flyer points they
    issue. Want to fly from Melbourne to Sydney ? That'll be 18,000
    points, oh and $40 to cover these nasty landing fees, and various
    other charges over which we have no control. There's a fuel levy in
    there also to cover the high cost of fuel these days, the largest
    component in the bucket - funny they treat that as
    "non-operational". You might be excused for thinking that fuel was
    just one of the regular cost inputs into running an airline.

    Also over the last 15 years or so we've seen aggressive yield
    management by the airlines, segmenting their fares into categories
    with varying levels of constraint over flexibility and redeemability
    attached. Buy the cheapest possible ticket and it's likely to be
    completely non-refundable if you miss the flight. But here's the
    beauty of it: if the airlines are going to treat the "taxes etc"
    bucket as non-operational costs, they can't then turn around and
    claim they've incurred those costs if you don't make the flight.
    It's your money, and they owe it to you. They are somewhat shy in
    making this known, however.

    My own flying behaviour is prolific and it occurred to me one day
    that I could claim some of the money back when I wasted a ticket
    through my frequent no-shows. Calls to both Virgin and Qantas
    confirm that this is indeed the case. I sent a note to Qantas
    Corporate Communications before penning this article, as a courtesy,
    to allow the airline to justify its seemingly unconscionable
    behaviour. I received a note back asking me who I was writing the story for. I told them it was for a few minor news outlets. No response - three parts arrogance, four parts
    banditry, and three parts naivety - an uncharming mix indeed.

    Let's do some back of the envelope calculations here.

    Using the traffic and capacity statistics available on the Qantas
    website at
    About Qantas - Investors - Traffic & Capacity Stats
    <http://www.qantas.com.au/info/about/investors/trafficStats>, and
    assuming for simplicity that Jetstar is split 50/50
    domestically/international, we see that Qantas carried 20.02 million
    passengers domestically and 10.50 million passengers internationally
    in the nine months to April 2007. Grossing this up to a full year,
    estimating the "taxes etc" bucket to be $40 for domestic flights and
    $150 for international, and no-show forfeiture rates at 1% for
    domestic and 0.5% for international, we can estimate that Qantas has
    collected about $21.17 million of Other People's Money through the
    "taxes etc" bucket, which does not belong to Qantas, and which the
    airline appears to make no effort to return to its rightful owners.
    Great if you're a Qantas shareholder, not so great if you're a
    Qantas customer.

    Can we have it back please ?
     

  2. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
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    Interesting story.

    I think it has been discussed on AFF before that if you cancel a non refundable ticket then you are entitled to claim back the unused taxes.

    I would be surprised if the no show rates you mention are accurate "no-show forfeiture rates at 1% for domestic and 0.5% for international". Have you taken into consideration the percentage of no shows involving people who purchase flexible tickets?
     
  3. Happy Dude

    Happy Dude Active Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    891
    195
    CBR
    Yes, interesting story but there's no news here for the viewers of this fourm. Can I suggest you actually tell the "gormless travellers" how to go about getting their refund, as part of the story? Perhaps even provide a (link to) a proforma or something? You'd be a modern day Robin Hood!
     
  4. fortymilliondaggers

    May 1, 2007
    199
    0
    Yet how would i go about recouping said taxes/charges? If I call the airline I suspect they would be quite reluctant to do so.
     
  5. simoninsingapore

    simoninsingapore Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    13
    0
    How to recoup the money ? Just call them and tell them you want it back !! Send a letter (they don't encourage emails) to the Melbourne Customer Service address listed on the website. Or else phone them. But don't tug your forelocks about it - it's your money after all. There should be an element of outrage in your voice when you speak to them !
    Good luck, and encourage any others you know to do the same.
    Simon
     
  6. trooper

    trooper Established Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    1,462
    285
    Canberra
    Seems logical to get that money back... but I don't understand the angst the OP feels about the matter...

    You buy a ticket to travel... (which most would consider a "contract" of sorts.. especially if the AIRLINE "tries anything"..) then YOU fail to show up......

    And expect the airline to what? Track you down to refund the taxes?

    I don't understand the anger displayed......:confused:
     
  7. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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    On the contrary.

    I believe that most people would be happier if the airlines were 'even a little' more open about this and offered a way where people could actually apply for the refund. :confused:
     
  8. stryker

    stryker Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    449
    0
    It seems, Trooper, you could be the kind of person the airlines love.

    Or, the more paranoid of us could wonder if you might be representing an airline, surreptitiously. Or what?

    Just a thought...
     
  9. straitman

    Moderator

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    stryker,

    I was trying to be a little more subtle with my comments. Having said that we both thought the same thing. :cool:
     
  10. trooper

    trooper Established Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    1,462
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    Wow...... didn't see THAT coming! :D

    No, whether you believe me or not (!!!) I have ZERO connection with any airline......

    And Yes, they could be a "little more open".. but I suspect THAT would not be enough to satisfy the OP.....

    Please note that my concern is more about the LEVEL of anger apparently felt by the OP which to me seems out of proportion to the issue at hand.. especially for someone who admits to "frequent no shows" (How about some forethought? How about buying refundable tickets if the likelihood is seemingly that great that you will be unable to fly as planned?).... rather than the simple questions "can you get the money back", and "could it be an easier/more transparent process"...

    See, I have a very strong belief (perhaps even excessive;) ) in personal responsibility. So... SURE it could be easier to do... whatever.... but the basic responsibility for doing .. whatever... rests with the interested party... in this case I'd suggest the person who paid for the ticket, then simply didn't show.. should be the responsible party when "effort" is required for a refund...

    Does that make any sense?... some of these "gut level" things are hard to put into words!!!
     
  11. simoninsingapore

    simoninsingapore Junior Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    13
    0
    I think the issue of corporate responsibility blows personal responsibility out of the water. In fact the ignorance of most travellers as to their rights makes personal responsibility in this context rather meaningless. Qantas and VB, who run airlines for a living, are taking advantage of people who do other things for a living, and don't know the ins and outs of the contracts they enter into when they occasionally jump on a plane. There is information asymmetry here and it reflects badly on the airlines that they use it to their advantage.
    And since most people use credit cards to buy their airline tickets I'm not sure that "tracking someone down" is the best way to describe the process the airlines would need to go through to refund the money.
    I choose to buy cheapies because they're, ummm, cheap. I travel more than most hosties (Singapore-Melb-Singapore every fortnight, Asian travel in between, and a bit of domestic Australian in between) and since I'm working for myself I'm up the back and chasing the deals. I've got booked flights all over the shop into the next 9 months. Occasionally I waste a flight, but that's the price I pay and I'm still better off. No-shows are a fact of life and the airlines factor them in to their yield management. They shouldn't be keeping money that doesn't belong to them, it's as simple as that.
    Btw, different topic, but I've analysed the points value of the three airlines that I fly frequently, which are EK, SQ and QF. EK I need to fly 3.5 Melb-Sing-Melb trips to earn enough points to redeem a flight for the same route (assuming Gold and booking online) whereas with QF it's about 6 trips (also Gold). QF is crap !!! Plus EK have Veuve in their lounges and a hundred other things I could mention. Blah to Qantas !
     
  12. vt01

    vt01 Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    374
    15
    Sydney
    Now there's an interesting concept. One which I would say is severely lacking. Something to do about the main goal of corporates - make as much money as possible and use every loophole possible to increase profits even if it puts human lives at risk (ok, only a few of those companies - I hope!).

    I think most of us understand the level of responsibility corporations display.
    It's a bit like the duty of disclosure for insurance possible. You must provide any and all information which may affect the corporations assessment to insure. Well, shouldn't airlines have duty to dislose just how much of a fare is refundable and how much is not? I suppose the airlines could say it's up to you to realise that part of what you pay is refundable. Or shouldn't a good corporate citizen display this information for you?

    Of course then there should be an additional processing fee associated with an airline refunding part of what you paid. There is obviously 'people time' involved in doing this, or even computer processing to identify who should get a refund and how much. I was once hit with a restocking fee for returning something which I had chosen incorrectly.

    Either way it is certainly a can of worms. And as usual the only way to enforce this type of things with corporations is legislation.. They certainly do not tend to do it on their own..
     
  13. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    Of course if the airlines removed the fuel fines and incorporated the cost of fuel into the base fare price instead of making it appear like its a government imposed tax, there would be a lot less money to be refunded and for domestic flights the effort would hardly be warranted. The real +++ value on a typical domestic flight is less than $10, the rest is the fuel fines.
     
  14. Optics

    Optics Member

    Mar 14, 2006
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    Melbourne
    Although I am all for "personal responsibility", I do not agree with the sentiments you have expressed. The imbalance in knowledge and power between the airlines and the passengers (especially in the case of infrequent travellers) is huge. It is for this type of reason that the Trade Practises Act is in place. Its purpose is to ensure that consumers, who have little power to impose acceptable conditions on corporations, are provided with adequate rights. In this case, you cannot expect all passengers to be aware of the fare structures and what amounts would/should be refundable in case of a no-show, or how to go about seeking that refund. The airlines are obliged to make known to the passenger the conditions (such as being non-refundable etc) relating to the type of ticket purchased. The amount that should still be refundable and how to get it should be included in the stated conditions.

    Regarding the OP's angst, judging by his travel patterns and circumstances, I see why he has that angst. He explains why he purchases non-refundable tickets, it is not for anyone else to judge what travel arrangements are in his best interests.
     
  15. trooper

    trooper Established Member

    Apr 16, 2007
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    Absolutely!

    Like just about every thing in life there are different approaches and different attitudes and opinions..... I'm sure we would disagree on as many of these things as we might agree upon! That's life....

    Excuse me if I sounded judgemental - that was not my intent.... The OP's most recent post clarifiied much that I (mis?)understood from the OP...

    I'll say it again - and hopefully better... given the accepted and voluntary loss of $$ in a no-show, it seemed (to me!!!YMMV!!!:D ) that the level of somewhat intemperate language/anger in the OP was a bit out of balance with the loss of the (much smaller) refundable-but-not-easily-obtained amount.... IMO!!!!!

    There were certainly valid points made... I didn't ever deny that... Given the imbalance between the accepted loss and the possible refund of taxes however, I just didn't "get" the anger.....
     
  16. Optics

    Optics Member

    Mar 14, 2006
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    I'm not so sure we would disagree on that many issues by the sounds of it ;) .
     
  17. straitman

    Moderator

    Apr 27, 2003
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    Not a bad attempt at being politically correct :!: :oops:
     
  18. trooper

    trooper Established Member

    Apr 16, 2007
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    Eeeek!! PC!!! Not a label I'm used to.... :D ALL my travel (and all my annual leave) is taken for the single purpose of attending competitions around the world in a deeply politically INcorrect sport!!!

    Just don't wanna offend when discussing matters that are largely subjective... it really IS hard to do "online"... Once all the usual conversational "clues" are removed (expression, tone, etc) there is a risk of unintentionally giving offence....

    (And I've had a couple of drinks this evening so I am relaxed enough to "wax philosophical" Sorry! :D .... "PC", with it's often derogatory connotations and overtones of radicalism and "going too far", IS sometimes just a label for good old-fashioned consideration for others....

    Maudlin rambling over.... time for a nightcap and then to bed! Night all.
     
  19. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    Hmm, gonna have to think about which sport this could be.
     
  20. wallacej

    wallacej Active Member

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    My money is on .... a bull fighter ...:D

    [​IMG]
     
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