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Qantas Business Class customers bumped to economy in Tokyo

Forg

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Well it says they can provide alternatives, paraphrasing the conditions of carriage are to get you from Point A to Point B, how they do it is up for grabs.
From the Qantas POV, they chose to refund the money spent because they weren’t able to provide an alternative.

Where this falls down is the fact that Qantas will then charge full fare for the Y seat. What they need to do, to be fair, is refund a full J fare when they charge a full Y fare as part of the downgrade. But as there’s no motivation to do so, because their competition doesn’t do it, they’re not likely to do that any time soon.
 

SeatBackForward

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From the Qantas POV, they chose to refund the money spent because they weren’t able to provide an alternative.

Where this falls down is the fact that Qantas will then charge full fare for the Y seat. What they need to do, to be fair, is refund a full J fare when they charge a full Y fare as part of the downgrade. But as there’s no motivation to do so, because their competition doesn’t do it, they’re not likely to do that any time soon.
It would be interesting, if you were in this position, before accepting the downgrade, to enquire immediately about purchasing an economy ticket, the cheapest available, on the same flight. If they can sell you a ticket that is not a full Y fare, then this should determine the difference and therefore the compensation amount.

You could even end up in a absurd position that a Full Y fare is actually more expensive than a Discounted PE fare, and going by this policy, you'd owe QF money for the downgrade.
 

esseeeayeenn

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It would be interesting, if you were in this position, before accepting the downgrade, to enquire immediately about purchasing an economy ticket, the cheapest available, on the same flight. If they can sell you a ticket that is not a full Y fare, then this should determine the difference and therefore the compensation amount.

You could even end up in a absurd position that a Full Y fare is actually more expensive than a Discounted PE fare, and going by this policy, you'd owe QF money for the downgrade.
The comparison should be between the fare you actually paid and the cheapest fare available in the class in which you actually travelled on the day you made your booking.
That's not including compensation for the inconvenience.
 
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The comparison should be between the fare you actually paid and the cheapest fare available in the class in which you actually travelled on the day you made your booking.
That's not including compensation for the inconvenience.
I believe the US airlines have something similar with some compensation calculations. They are required to use the lowest fare paid by any passenger on the given flight - which I guess they do via some fare search.

It would seem fair for airlines to use that in the absence of something like EU261.
 

PineappleSkip

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we did not have high enough frequent flyer status we had to fly in economy
Had a friend who was downgraded on QF on exactly that basis. Booked and paid flexible J by corporate, had already boarded, tap on the shoulder from CSM. ‘Sorry Mr Unlucky, but you have been downgraded’. When asked ‘why me’ told ‘because you have the lowest status in the cabin’. Sent packing to Y. Reason was cabin was full and ‘must fly’ pilots needed to be accommodated. Flight was CBR-BNE so not so bad as OP’s experience.

Cheers skip
 

Max Samuels

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I have been downgraded twice in my entire life.
Once on QF after they had their A380 debacle and were pulling out the 747s from HKG etc to replace the out of service A380s.... the replacement A330 didn't have the same number of seats so I get it.... can't remember what happened re compensation but I do remember feeling annoyed.

Other time was on CX.... as one would expect soooooooooooo much better. They also had an aircraft change with fewer J seats, but rather than just forcing it on me, at check-in asked if I would be happy to take $1500 CASH (so not refunded back to my employer!), and they would block the seat next to me in Y, and they gave me J SC and points..... it was a day flight SYD-HKG so I happily accepted!

The cash was good but was also good to be given the option.....
 

SeatBackForward

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Other time was on CX.... as one would expect soooooooooooo much better. They also had an aircraft change with fewer J seats, but rather than just forcing it on me, at check-in asked if I would be happy to take $1500 CASH (so not refunded back to my employer!), and they would block the seat next to me in Y, and they gave me J SC and points..... it was a day flight SYD-HKG so I happily accepted!

The cash was good but was also good to be given the option.....
Whilst I'm not sure about the cash thing - that is, whether it should go to you or back to the ticket payer, the Y seat with blocked space next to you and the J SC Earn is reasonable I think. Did they offer you a J seat on *another* flight at all? say the next day?
 

Max Samuels

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Whilst I'm not sure about the cash thing - that is, whether it should go to you or back to the ticket payer, the Y seat with blocked space next to you and the J SC Earn is reasonable I think. Did they offer you a J seat on *another* flight at all? say the next day?
Can't remember..... this was 15 years ago or so. Actually I think I was connecting through to NRT so didn't have the option. I think the cash idea is deliberate - people would be more willing to take the cash then screw around with a "real" compensation. I suppose not too different to situations where you are offered a weekend in Vegas to be bumped to another flight - do you give the weekend to the employer? I've worked for people that would probably demand that.... but interesting moral question, I suppose :)

I'm happy to be immoral in this regard!
 

banana boy

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United offered me USD$500 and overnight accommodation to offload on an overbooked NRT-SIN economy flight - but the $500 was in the form of a United travel credit which I didn't want. If it was cash I would have taken it. That is the sort of yardstick which should be used for compensation.

I've yet to be in the unhappy situation where I've been downgraded by QF and offered paltry compensation which seems to be the QF SOP. I'm sure I'd be very upset and rant and rave and then bend over and take it as they seem to be able to do whatever they want.
 

samh004

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From the Qantas POV, they chose to refund the money spent because they weren’t able to provide an alternative.

Where this falls down is the fact that Qantas will then charge full fare for the Y seat. What they need to do, to be fair, is refund a full J fare when they charge a full Y fare as part of the downgrade. But as there’s no motivation to do so, because their competition doesn’t do it, they’re not likely to do that any time soon.
So what a customer needs to do is take a screenshot or get a quote of the exact same flights but in discount economy and premium economy when booking their business class fare. They need to get this for the same date/time period of booking, for an accurate reflection of what the cost would have been – or what the difference would have been.

I guess the question then becomes, if you have that information, how likely is a customer to be able to force an airline into refunding that difference, and not just the difference between full fare Y on the night of the flight, which would obviously be much smaller.

For example, say I book an $8k business class flight (return) but at the same time I look at what a sale/discount economy fare is and screenshot a fare of $999; the difference is $7,001. On the night of travel they oversell and downgrade me, but economy class at the time is selling for $5k, so they only want to refund $3k to me. If I have the evidence to prove that at the time of booking the difference was more than double what they're offering me now, what are my chances of winning?

This seems logically the fairest outcome – difference between fare paid at time of booking, but we all know this is not how an airline operates. So what are the odds of being successful and why is the onus on the customer to screenshot and provide proof of the fare difference at time of booking, and not the airline?
 

SeatBackForward

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So what a customer needs to do is take a screenshot or get a quote of the exact same flights but in discount economy and premium economy when booking their business class fare. They need to get this for the same date/time period of booking, for an accurate reflection of what the cost would have been – or what the difference would have been.

I guess the question then becomes, if you have that information, how likely is a customer to be able to force an airline into refunding that difference, and not just the difference between full fare Y on the night of the flight, which would obviously be much smaller.

For example, say I book an $8k business class flight (return) but at the same time I look at what a sale/discount economy fare is and screenshot a fare of $999; the difference is $7,001. On the night of travel they oversell and downgrade me, but economy class at the time is selling for $5k, so they only want to refund $3k to me. If I have the evidence to prove that at the time of booking the difference was more than double what they're offering me now, what are my chances of winning?

This seems logically the fairest outcome – difference between fare paid at time of booking, but we all know this is not how an airline operates. So what are the odds of being successful and why is the onus on the customer to screenshot and provide proof of the fare difference at time of booking, and not the airline?
This is along the lines of my post up earlier. But i suspect you couldn't really argue its the difference between what you might've paid when booking. I think my approach of - whats the cheapest remaining economy seat available. But the airlines would have to open up their magic formulas to tell us how they figure this out, so its easier for them to just use the Full Y fare. (and I mean who in their right mind pays a full Y fare?)
 

esseeeayeenn

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So what a customer needs to do is take a screenshot or get a quote of the exact same flights but in discount economy and premium economy when booking their business class fare. They need to get this for the same date/time period of booking, for an accurate reflection of what the cost would have been – or what the difference would have been.

I guess the question then becomes, if you have that information, how likely is a customer to be able to force an airline into refunding that difference, and not just the difference between full fare Y on the night of the flight, which would obviously be much smaller.

For example, say I book an $8k business class flight (return) but at the same time I look at what a sale/discount economy fare is and screenshot a fare of $999; the difference is $7,001. On the night of travel they oversell and downgrade me, but economy class at the time is selling for $5k, so they only want to refund $3k to me. If I have the evidence to prove that at the time of booking the difference was more than double what they're offering me now, what are my chances of winning?

This seems logically the fairest outcome – difference between fare paid at time of booking, but we all know this is not how an airline operates. So what are the odds of being successful and why is the onus on the customer to screenshot and provide proof of the fare difference at time of booking, and not the airline?
Under Australian consumer law I would say your chances are very good.
 

Max Samuels

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So what a customer needs to do is take a screenshot or get a quote of the exact same flights but in discount economy and premium economy when booking their business class fare. They need to get this for the same date/time period of booking, for an accurate reflection of what the cost would have been – or what the difference would have been.

I guess the question then becomes, if you have that information, how likely is a customer to be able to force an airline into refunding that difference, and not just the difference between full fare Y on the night of the flight, which would obviously be much smaller.

For example, say I book an $8k business class flight (return) but at the same time I look at what a sale/discount economy fare is and screenshot a fare of $999; the difference is $7,001. On the night of travel they oversell and downgrade me, but economy class at the time is selling for $5k, so they only want to refund $3k to me. If I have the evidence to prove that at the time of booking the difference was more than double what they're offering me now, what are my chances of winning?

This seems logically the fairest outcome – difference between fare paid at time of booking, but we all know this is not how an airline operates. So what are the odds of being successful and why is the onus on the customer to screenshot and provide proof of the fare difference at time of booking, and not the airline?
100% agree. I have always thought that could be the ONLY reasonable way they can calculate a fare difference.

But yet again it plays into whatever the airline wants. At least we are seeing some changes with consumer rights getting involved the past few years...

My fav is the line "date and time don't form part of our contract with you"..... WTF????

Yesterday while on hold with VA to cancel my re-booked cancelled flight, the friendly voice was rattling off something like this: "although we try to get you to your destination as close to the scheduled time as possible, always make sure you book with plenty of time to allow for unforseen delays etc".... and I thought: what a load of BS. They are basically just lying through their teeth. Their entire business model revolves around getting Mr Business to/from SYD/MEL every weekday morning with flights every 15 minutes, knowing full well that the poor souls on the 6am flight are expecting to be in the office at the other end by 9am. No ifs or buts. And those people pay a premium for those commuter flights. To then pretend that they expect people to commute with a +/- 6hr contingency is absolute rubbish.
 

samh004

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But i suspect you couldn't really argue its the difference between what you might've paid when booking.
I don’t see why not.

If my choices were between business class and economy class, I don’t think I’d be looking to buy the most expensive economy ticket and if I took it to a jury I think they’d agree with me in that point.
Under Australian consumer law I would say your chances are very good.
100% agree. I have always thought that could be the ONLY reasonable way they can calculate a fare difference.
From reading previous stories where a customer has taken qantas to small claims court they usually settle on the eve of it starting. However, if it took till that stage I think I’d rather get a judgement to set a precedent so others had something to point to. Maybe the law doesn’t work that way?
 

odysseus

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From reading previous stories where a customer has taken qantas to small claims court they usually settle on the eve of it starting. However, if it took till that stage I think I’d rather get a judgement to set a precedent so others had something to point to. Maybe the law doesn’t work that way?
Small claims judges don't look at precedent, they just look at the facts in front of them, since you also normally represent yourself rather than have a lawyer gather evidence from other historical cases to present. Plus going to that means extra time off, plus the risk of losing so people will typically take the settlement upfront rather than incur further cost and increase risk by going further.
 

mingseng

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I really hope ACCC gets into this. Why they have done 2 recent airline reviews and did not touch this issue, I do not quite understand. Moving someone from biz to full fare economy is not a good client experience.

I myself almost got moved out of biz class, mentioned on another thread (not a good feeling for an overnight flight), but someone else got moved (I sympathise with them).
 

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