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Qantas "Reward flights" on Jetstar

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ellvie

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Mar 6, 2007
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As a QF Gold member, i redeemed some points for a flight from Collangatta to Sydney.

To cut a long story short(er);

-"Qantas" reward flight is actually on Jetstar
-arrived at airport 2 hrs early
-asked if possible to travel on earlier 'empty' flight
-told "no, you are flying for free, you have no priority"
-flight delayed
-too late to travel due to Sydney curfew
-told to book a hotel and come back to catch the 0620 the following day
-back to airport at 0530
-told we were not on 0620 but 0730
-arrived back in Syndey at 1000, 16 hours and $150 after checking in at Coolangatta

And this is a REWARD?

Does anyone have any experiences of successfully complaining about this kind of service?
 

NM

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Welcome to AFF, ellvie.

I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed with your experience described. I have experienced a similar delay when travelling to SYD and a mechanical problem caused us to miss the Sydney curfew resulting in an overnight delay to my journey. However, mine was from BNE to SYD on a paid ticket and flights operated by Qantas. But does show that the delay can happen any time we travel and often unavoidable.

The main issue with your experience as described is that you were not offered overnight accommodation for the delay, which I would expect the airline to cover in these circumstances.

You would have been aware at the time of bookin your award flight that it was to be operated by Jetstar. That is shown on the award booking page, and as a Gold FF member you would likely have known flight numbers in the 5400 range are not operated by Qantas.

I think is quite reasonable for the airline (be it Jetstar or Qantas) to refuse a voluntary change to the booked flights even of the previous flight has availability. These are standard conditions of award tickets and I would expect the check-in agent to refuse a change without there being award seat availability and charging the published award ticket change fees.

The fact that the booked flight was then delayed and cancelled is unrelated to the previous flight not being fully loaded. It is unfortunate, but unrelated.

If your flight is cancelled due to something such as a mechanical failure or crewing issue and you are required to remain at the point of origin overnight, I would expect the airline to accommodate you. If the cancellation is due to weather or other situation beyond the airline's control, then you are responsible for your own accommodation as per normal.

Rebooking the displaced passengers for the following day will be based on some priority criteria as determined by the airline. Sometimes they will do this based on FF status and sometimes based on fare paid. It appears the latter was used in your situation resulting in being placed on the later flight the following morning. This is again unfortunate, but a risk we take when using FF award tickets.

ellvie said:
And this is a REWARD?
I believe the used by the Qantas FF Program for such a flight is Award, not Reward.

By all means complain to Qantas Customer Service. However, I believe the only valid grounds for complain is the lack of accommodation provided for the overnight delay, assuming the cancellation was caused by a mechanical or crewing problem rather than weather related. If you have the accommodation receipt, then try writing to Qantas Customer Service and sending a copy of the receipt and requesting they refund you for your additional expenses.
 

N860CR

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I'm probably totally wrong, but I always thought the fare class that award flights were booked into (X?) allowed on departure flight changes. The only reason I suspected this was once on an award flight from ROK-SYD (ROK-BNE-SYD) the checkin agent offer me an earlier flight out of ROK then a much earlier connection out of BNE (without me asking). There were no "award" seats available on the flight/s as I'd called and asked the morning of. Maybe I just caught someone on a good day.
 

novacatz

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I don't understand why if you show up just before a flight is about to go, with that flight having availability -- why wouldn't Qantas be agreeable to a schedule change... isn't this a win/win for everyone? Qantas wins -- maybe they will sell a seat on the later flight instead of letting the one about to go empty and the customer getting to leave earlier instead of cooling their heels at the airport (or in the case of the OP having a overnight adventure)
 

oz_mark

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danielribo said:
I'm probably totally wrong, but I always thought the fare class that award flights were booked into (X?) allowed on departure flight changes. The only reason I suspected this was once on an award flight from ROK-SYD (ROK-BNE-SYD) the checkin agent offer me an earlier flight out of ROK then a much earlier connection out of BNE (without me asking). There were no "award" seats available on the flight/s as I'd called and asked the morning of. Maybe I just caught someone on a good day.
I don't think there is such a thing as a good day with Jetstar customer service.
 

JohnK

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oz_mark said:
I don't think there is such a thing as a good day with Jetstar customer service.
Customer Service? Jetstar?

I must have slept and woken up 1,000,000 years later....
 

dajop

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danielribo said:
I'm probably totally wrong, but I always thought the fare class that award flights were booked into (X?) allowed on departure flight changes.
I have made changes to awards on several ocassions at check-in, and find this a good reason to book an award over a red-e-deal if I want some flexibility. However these have all been on QF, and not JQ.

And as for the "flying free" comment what utter BS. Apart from costing points which are part of the value equation associated with flying QF, the fuel fines paid when travelling on a QF code on a JQ flight are often almost the same as (in some instances more than) sale fares. And I bet there's accounting that creates a internal transfer from QFF to JQ to pay for the seat on the flight. Far from free!!
 

NM

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danielribo said:
I'm probably totally wrong, but I always thought the fare class that award flights were booked into (X?) allowed on departure flight changes. The only reason I suspected this was once on an award flight from ROK-SYD (ROK-BNE-SYD) the checkin agent offer me an earlier flight out of ROK then a much earlier connection out of BNE (without me asking). There were no "award" seats available on the flight/s as I'd called and asked the morning of. Maybe I just caught someone on a good day.
No. You can only change an award flight under the following conditions:
  • There is availability on the new flight for the particular awards class (X, T, U, Z)
  • You pay the ticket revalidation fee if required (2500 points)
The airline can offer to change you flight for no penalty if it is convenient for them to do so or they have a routing or schedule change.

You got lucky and it would seem that the agent was trying to protect the airline from the possibility that your scheduled flight may be delayed and they would need to accommodate you overnight. Some agents will offer this. But it is not an entitlement under the fare rules.
 

NM

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novacatz said:
I don't understand why if you show up just before a flight is about to go, with that flight having availability -- why wouldn't Qantas be agreeable to a schedule change... isn't this a win/win for everyone? Qantas wins -- maybe they will sell a seat on the later flight instead of letting the one about to go empty and the customer getting to leave earlier instead of cooling their heels at the airport (or in the case of the OP having a overnight adventure)
Generally it the flexibility that comes with the more expensive fares that permits the traveller to make such alterations. It is for this flexibility that many people are willing to pay a higher fare in the first place. If passengers thought there was a very good chance they could get that flexibility without paying for the higher fare type, less people would be willing to purchase the more expensive flexible fares and the airline's revenue would be affected.

Sometimes it is in the airline's interest to waive the change limitations on non-changeable fares and they will do so. But they are not required to do so and generally will enforce the fare rules (rightly in my view).
 

NM

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dajop said:
I have made changes to awards on several ocassions at check-in, and find this a good reason to book an award over a red-e-deal if I want some flexibility. However these have all been on QF, and not JQ.
I think you have been luck if you have made such changes on multiple occasions. I would not be expecting that to continue on a regular basis.

I view award flights as among the most restrictive fares, for both availability and alterations.
 

serfty

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NM said:
... You got lucky and it would seem that the agent was trying to protect the airline from the possibility that your scheduled flight may be delayed and they would need to accommodate you overnight. Some agents will offer this. But it is not an entitlement under the fare rules.
Actually as far as Qantas operated flights go, Airport staff are generally quite happy to put an award traveller on an earlier flight if there is a seat; lack of T/X notwithstanding.

The important fact here is that the checkin staff have the ability move people with award bookings without 'phoning for authority to do so.

As for JQ, perhaps they may be described as the B@stard offspring of Qantas. But for all that they are in effect and practice, a different airline with different rules. Gaining an award on them is akin to Qantas purchasing a fare on your behalf. I guess the standard JetSaver rules apply to Qantas award bookings.
 
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novacatz

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I guess it is my personal view here, but I don't agree with that type of thinking for award fares. The award 'cost' in terms of points is pretty much fixed and there isn't differential pricing in the same vien as full eco and discount eco fares. Having the extra flexibility (even if it be undocumented) is almost surely a no-loss.
 

dajop

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NM said:
I think you have been luck if you have made such changes on multiple occasions. I would not be expecting that to continue on a regular basis..
On two of those occasions (the most recent of which was a Friday night - the week before last) they checked and commented that they could change me to an earlier flight because it was an award booking. Maybe being a WP helps? Have never ever had similar success with N, O & even Super Saver fares, so the "system" must allow changes to award flights without too many problems (ie without the checkin agent bending the rules), otherwise they would just flatly refuse (like they do with the restricted revenue fares).
 

NM

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dajop said:
On two of those occasions (the most recent of which was a Friday night - the week before last) they checked and commented that they could change me to an earlier flight because it was an award booking. Maybe being a WP helps? Have never ever had similar success with N, O & even Super Saver fares, so the "system" must allow changes to award flights without too many problems (ie without the checkin agent bending the rules), otherwise they would just flatly refuse (like they do with the restricted revenue fares).
As Serfty said, Qantas has a little more freedome on what they do on their own flights for their own FF awards than another airline will be able to offer. It is great that they can and are often flexible. But this is not something we should expect or demand of them. I can't imagine BA being willing to move a QF FF award passenger to an earlier flight just because there are seats on the earlier flight.

The OP's experience is one of the reasons I would not redeem my QF FF points for a Jetstar domestic flight. But that is another story altogether and more related to my perceived value of using points on short domestic flights.
 

oz_mark

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dajop said:
I have made changes to awards on several ocassions at check-in, and find this a good reason to book an award over a red-e-deal if I want some flexibility.
I have been able to change a red-e-deal several times at check-in to an earlier flight, and sometimes it has been the quick check machine itself that has let me do this (although noting that it is not allowed under the rules of the ticket, it will allow it this time - one guesses someone at QF makes this call). On the other hand, I have also been unsuccesful at doing this as well. Sometimes the planets align, and sometimes they don't.

Unfortunatley, in this case, the OP was at the mercy of the operating airline. The best course of action would be to write a letter to QF stating the facts of the case as NM has previously pointed out.
 

Evan

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Friday evening is a special case, if there is earlier seats they will try to move you if you wish to move because they will last minute sell the seats later to people desperate to get home. SYD-MEL (And i presume other high volume routes) on friday evening is silly, i would sometimes stay 5 star hotel and enjoy sydney an extra evening for less than the cost difference of the friday evening flight.

E
 

Kiwi Flyer

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oz_mark said:
I have been able to change a red-e-deal several times at check-in to an earlier flight, and sometimes it has been the quick check machine itself that has let me do this (although noting that it is not allowed under the rules of the ticket, it will allow it this time - one guesses someone at QF makes this call). On the other hand, I have also been unsuccesful at doing this as well. Sometimes the planets align, and sometimes they don't.
That would only be cases where it suits yield management (eg the flight you are on is overbooked). I imagine when it is in their interests to do so they check a flag to allow/suggest moving to an earlier flight.
 

ellvie

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Thanks for the replies,

I am sure that everything that happened was in accordance with the terms and conditions, but my main gripe is that for the many thousands of dollars i have spent on tickets (approaching $30,000 in the last 18 months), to get screwed around for the sake of a cheap flight, and treated like a 3rd class citizen, is extremely frustrating.

Reward/Award/Call it whatever, it ended up costing more than buying a ticket!
 

d15.in.oz

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ellvie said:
As a QF Gold member....told "no, you are flying for free, you have no priority"
With whom did you discuss taking the earlier flight, I will assume the check-in agent…As I have posted before, if you don’t have bags, ALWAYS use QP! These people have been trained in both QF & JQ systems, and recognise the future of QAN is based on your loyalty…JQ staff have minimal training, and none of it involves QF systems and processes. They will understand your QF Gold status at check-in, and ask “where would you like to sit?” (if you haven’t pre-assigned), but that’s about it.
 

ellvie

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funny you mention that, the lady in the Qantas lounge told us she could do nothing, and sent us out to the melee in the Jetstar area!
 
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