QF7 update (cancelled on 29 March 2017).
...There were no announcements about the rescheduled flight for today (Thurs 30 March) with 10am departure unless individually asking Qantas staff - which caused a fair deal of concern by passengers wondering what the plan was!
The accommodation was the Mercure at Newcastle. Yes, Newcastle. Qantas' plan for 400+ passengers at that point in the evening was to bus us 2 hours north with a 5am (estimate) return bus the next morning. Staff claimed this was the closest accommodation available given a number of earlier cancelled flights to NZ. The accommodation included a $50 food/drink voucher. We were flying business class but there didn't seem to be any differentiation or alternative option....
At first we were told no meal allowance if staying with friends. I explained we didn't expect our friends to feed us for a Qantas delay after 9pm when we would arrive and was eventually told to get a receipt for anything and there would be a process to claim....
map, this report is worthy of multiple wombat points.
It is true that as with Melbourne, Sydney hotels are enjoying good occupancy rates but surely by splitting passengers into eight or 10 hotels, spare rooms could be found closer than Newcastle.
Room tariffs for Mercures in Newcastle, NSW are relatively low: one in Charlestown had April rooms on offer through third party websites for A$122. Like all airlines, QF would never pay what you and I pay: it always receives a discount because apart from anything else the hoteliers want repeat business.
Very poor that business class passengers were not accommodated closer to the airport. Given that some would go home if they were local residents (even though in one's mind, one has 'departed' and hence 'going home' seems a bit odd), it's not as if QF would have had to find rooms for 100 business class patrons.
These breakdowns of aircraft must be stressful for staff, but the lack of information (unless you were wise enough to ask, as you did) about a 1000 departure today when we could see it on the QF website (perhaps a bit later than 2030 last night) was also poor. Similarly the assertive discussion you had to have about being reimbursed for dining despite you saving QF money by not taking up the accommodation option is unimpressive. I'm sure you didn't go to a hatted restaurant: at 2100 hours, you'd just want some food to tide you over for the night.
It will be interesting to see if you get away (off blocks) at 1000 as congested check-in counters at 0815 is starting to cut it a little fine, and you all have to enjoy the wonders of passing through security to airside, with the morning a busy time and hence queuing for security checks part of the fun.
Once again, amazingly good report!