Can I ask for compensation?

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beardoc

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I'm sitting in the SYD T3 QP at the moment - I'm a lifetime QP (paid) and have been waiting to board QF544 at 6:0pm from SYD-BNE. It's now 11pm and I still have not boarded. It's looking like they're going to cancel.

In this circumstance, I know they'll pay for a taxi home (I live in Sydney) and a taxi back to the airport tomorrow. But if I am sent home, I'll have paid for a Hertz Vehicle and a motel in Brisbane that I can't use - significant costs.

In this circumstance, do you guys ask for compensation? If so, what do you ask for? What if anything have you got in the past, in the event you're boarded 5 hours late, or denied boarding that day and brought back the next day?

EDIT: We're now cancelled - about 8 flights cancelled for the night.
 
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medhead

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Checking the conditions of carriage - online version: Bookings - Flights - Conditions of Carriage

8. Delays and Cancellation
If travelling on Qantas, we will use all reasonable efforts to depart on time, but we do not guarantee flight times. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, you may in some circumstances be entitled to assistance and/or compensation depending on your journey and applicable law.

Or the full conditions Bookings - Flights - Conditions of Carriage - Long

Section 9

c) If, due to circumstances within our control, after You buy Your Ticket, We make a significant change to the scheduled departure time of Your flight or the flight is cancelled, We will, at Your option:
  • refund Your fare; or
  • rebook You on the next available flight (or combination of flights) on Our services to your booked destination at no additional cost to You; and
  • if the change or cancellation occurs on the day of scheduled travel, resulting in Your delay at the departure airport, We will provide You with meal and refreshment vouchers (or reimburse You for the reasonable costs of meals and refreshments if We do not provide vouchers)
  • if Your travel is delayed overnight and You have already commenced travel on Your booking (ie You are at an 'away' port), We will use reasonable endeavours to assist You to find overnight accommodation or reimburse Your reasonable accommodation costs.
 

beardoc

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I know what the terms and conditions say, but there's often significant variation from the T&Cs.

SYD T3 tonight is a mess. I think about 8 flights cancelled - well over 1000 people displaced. Baggage is a quagmire, and they're saying that it's going to be at least half an hour unloading the jumbo from PER-SYD (14 containers of baggage!), and then they're going to get onto the other flights that have come in, and then onto the remaining bags from the cancelled flights. I'm expecting to be here for at least two hours more, and it's already 12:45am. The lines for baggage services look huge.

I have to call telephone reservations to rebook - at the moment I was on hold for 25 minutes before my mobile's battery ran out. The lines for taxis are more than half an hour. I will call when I find a landline.

All major accommodation in Sydney is now exhausted, and they are going to be opening the QP for people that are stranded, and providing food and pillows to those that need to stay. I have my home here in Sydney, so I'm going to have a bed, but with collecting the baggage and then finding a taxi, I doubt it will be much before 3.30am before I am home.

The news crews are here. I snapped a few photos of the crowds. It's an absolute mess.
 

moa999

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Another great night. I assume the wicked looking storm that passed through Sydney had a few hits or diverted a few flights???
 

bambbbam2

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I came in of QF566 from Perth. Near touch down in SYD, the co-pilot made an announcement about a v. large strorm that had just come through. He mentionted 'slight delays'.

We got in ok, I notcied the arrival boards were almost all 'CANCEL' and several thousand very unhappy looking peple standing around and all the boards were saying 'See Staff'.. :(
 

beardoc

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It was early storms (with the QF544 SYD-BNE 6:05pm service cancelled as it had been hit by lightning), but in the end it was air traffic control shortages that meant ongoing delays that compounded and compounded. My boarding time was pushed back 5 times before the flight was cancelled. Some flights (QF556) was even boarded before it was cancelled as too late for the curfew and deboarded again.

I ended up getting home at around 2:30am with baggage. Currently in a taxi heading for the airport again for QF510, 8:35am SYD-BNE.

In this circumstance, I am planning to write to QANTAS and ask for:
* My taxi fares to and from the airport last night and this morning (about $100 total)
* The first day of my Hertz vehicle (about $35)
* The first day of my motel ($99).

I have missed several family and social comittments, but should make my school reunion in time tonight.

Is asking for this likely to be accepted by QANTAS or not?
 

MEL_Traveller

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It was early storms...
My boarding time was pushed back 5 times before the flight was cancelled....

In this circumstance, I am planning to write to QANTAS and ask for:
* My taxi fares to and from the airport last night and this morning (about $100 total)
* The first day of my Hertz vehicle (about $35)
* The first day of my motel ($99).

Is asking for this likely to be accepted by QANTAS or not?

Hi beardoc

If the delay is weather related I'd say you have a pretty slim chance of being successful in your requests for compensation other than the taxi which you said was likely to be paid.

The only thing you could perhaps challenge is the amount of time it took before the flight was finally cancelled - perhaps you could argue that they should have known earlier... but it's a tough one to argue. That may get you a few points in compensation.

Generally I find it is sometimes worth waiting a couple of weeks to see if any compensation is forthcoming from Qantas. I had a mid-air emergency once and got a voucher in the mail - completely unexpected. Maybe the same'll happen here (but again, its not really their fault).

regards

Mel_T
 

Dave Noble

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Do you have travel insurance? this may cover the additional costs incurred?

The car hire I wouldn't expect to be an issue; unless you booked a pre-paid rate then there are v few rates that I am aware of with Hertz that penalise you for not collecting the car. If a gold member, then they will have taken authorisation for a few hundred dollars but you should be all ok on the rental fees

Dave
 

QF WP

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I agree totally with Dave Noble. Travel insurance will be the only thing that will cover the accomodation (if the policy responds to the claim). I haven't had that issue with Hertz before, but given Dave's standing with them, I'd back his comment.

Hope you arrived in BNE safely...which at midday is now starting to warm up nicely (and I expect an evening storm - as I sail up the river on a Xmas work function).
 

milehighclub

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If it makes you feel any better the QF32 from London diverted to Canberra, they had issues refueling there, and then the tug broke down and they missed curfew. No customs facilities like in Sydney or Melbourne and Melbourne apparently refused them as well - I believe due to a staffing issue. My understanding is 1 man in Canberra, who clears private jets was responsible for 245 passengers. It took 3 attempts to get them off the aircraft as the thunderstorms made it to Canberra when they were trying to disembark.
 

medhead

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I know what the terms and conditions say, but there's often significant variation from the T&Cs.
If you are so familiar with the T&C, then you should have already known that you can ask for compensation.

Maybe it would have been better to ask for speculation on what non standard compensation we think you might get.

Given my brother's recent experience with a re-schuduled PER-SIN I reckon you'll be luck to get anything more than allowed by the T&C.
 

IMOA

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I was one of the lucky ones on QF556 who got to board, turn off all our electronic equipment, close the door and then got told to piss off. After getting downstairs and seeing the chaos I called a mate to tell him I'd be arriving on his doorstep as I figured there was no way in hell they'd be getting anything close to the displaced passengers into hotel rooms. The return taxi fare was more than I paid for the flight, now I just have to figure out where to send the receipts.

It was a bit of a joke at the airport to be honest and someone should cop a solid cough kicking. Very early on they really should have realised there were going to be problems and put a plan into action. Instead they waited till the last minute and then looked all surprised and confused. Even the boarding of our flight was a farce, when they started boarding it was obvious they were not going to make curfew so if they weren't going to get clearance what was the point beyond giving all the passengers the chance to blame ATC for their lack of departure.
 

russ

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Maybe it would have been better to ask for speculation on what non standard compensation we think you might get.
Despite the subject line, I believe that's what beardoc was asking in his original post.

I'm not sure that I'd want QF (or any airline) to pay high levels of compensation in weather-related cases. The reason is that if there was significant money at stake, eventually economic forces would prevail and the airlines would start influencing their pilots to push into weather a bit harder. (There is a recognised risk in aviation called "get-home-itis" which has killed many people.)

I agree that there was some kind of communication problem on the ground, though. I was in a holding pattern waiting to get into Sydney at about 8:30pm and the pilot said that there would be an hour's delay, and he was pretty much on the mark.

Regarding the diversion to Canberra, I am disappointed to read that the Department of Transport thought it was better to send a 747-load of people to Canberra with one customs agent and no fuel truck on duty than to inconvenience Sydney residents with one late-night aircraft approach. Perhaps we ought to find the person who made that decision and lock them in an aircraft for 24 hours without any toilet paper!
 

milehighclub

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I don't think anyone is to blame for the Canberra diversion. Obviously the weather caused it to go there, there was a fuel truck, but for some reason took a while to refuel, and then when it was ready to go, the tug broke. A series of unfortunate events and was well beyond curfew when everything was sorted. Everyone was put up in a hotel.
 

nlagalle

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I'm not sure that I'd want QF (or any airline) to pay high levels of compensation in weather-related cases. The reason is that if there was significant money at stake, eventually economic forces would prevail and the airlines would start influencing their pilots to push into weather a bit harder. (There is a recognised risk in aviation called "get-home-itis" which has killed many people.)

Get-home-itis has another deadly partner called get-there-itis..
 

beardoc

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I'm not sure that I'd want QF (or any airline) to pay high levels of compensation in weather-related cases. The reason is that if there was significant money at stake, eventually economic forces would prevail and the airlines would start influencing their pilots to push into weather a bit harder. (There is a recognised risk in aviation called "get-home-itis" which has killed many people.)

I agree that there was some kind of communication problem on the ground, though. I was in a holding pattern waiting to get into Sydney at about 8:30pm and the pilot said that there would be an hour's delay, and he was pretty much on the mark.

Yes, there was. From early in the night, there were calls asking people in the QP without checked baggage to come forward - and this was happening with alarming regularity. I went up to talk to them, but because I had checked baggage, they did not want to deal with me all that much. I became a little frustrated. I asked if they were likely to be cancelling more flights, but they were coy about this.

I'm not suggesting that it's all factors within control of QANTAS. The weather thing was overplayed - the airport was closed only for a very short period. It was more Air Traffic Control issues, and these were not going to change. There were only a couple of flights that left after 8pm from T3, and this was obviously a bad warning sign. Communication could have been better, particularly when asked direct questions about possible cancellations.

Anyway, I am not going to fight this tooth and nail, but I will ask QANTAS for the above and see what happens. As mentioned above, I will wait a couple of weeks then write the letter.

Thanks for your help and thoughts everyone. I will report back as to how it goes.

And I hope I never have to go through that process that I did on Friday night. I'll think twice about travelling on Friday nights again - I know it's the busiest time and prone to problems, even without the specific issues that occurred on this night.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I think the key here is not the cause of the cancellations, but the way in which they were handled (no plan until late etc etc).
 

beardoc

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Just to wrap this up - for the record, I finally wrote the letter to QANTAS in February, with all the receipts for taxis, lost hotel rooms, and hire cars. Got a call from QANTAS last week, and they paid the lot.

I'm glad they did - it does do something to restore my faith in them.
 
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