Qantas award flight via Shanghai re-booked due to COVID-19 - well done Qantas, but call centre not good

Seat0B

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I was in Japan with Seat0A on Qantas business class classic rewards booking when the corona virus started to get ugly in late January. Our return flights were also award seats, JAL Tokyo to Shanghai on 11 Feb, 2 day stop over, then China Eastern from Shanghai to Sydney on 13 Feb. All of a sudden we were not too keen! We decided to see if we could cancel/re-book/re-route/anything to avoid Shanghai.

The call centre wait time was totally abysmal as per usual. I used a VOIP app and called the Australian number. After waiting over 65 minutes (I'm a WP), it simply disconnected me without ever speaking to anyone. Another 60 minute wait and the same result - disconnected without speaking to anyone. By now it was midnight, so I called back the next day. Same sort of wait time, connected, started speaking, disconnected. Argghhh, tried again and I did eventually get through.

Got a great result. On 28 January, Qantas simply re-routed us onto a direct flight home (JAL flight), still in business class, on the date we would have travelled home from Shanghai. The call taker said they were doing a "no refund/no new charge" arrangement on this, and so I paid no points penalty for cancelling/re-booking. I had booked the tickets before the points required increased last year, so that was a saving too as I expected to pay for the new flight at the higher rate. Of course I had 2 flights that I had bought with points replaced with just one, so maybe I would have been in front even after all the deductions and the higher points cost of the newer booking, but honestly, I was just happy that we could get it sorted, not have to pay a fortune and that we could then relax and enjoy the rest of our holiday. I think in my circumstances this was a very fair response.

So all up, that's a thank you to Qantas for handling my changes so efficiently - but could you please fix up the call centre wait times. They really are unacceptable.
 
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