The woes of trying to book OneWorld Classic Flight Award through Qantas

Joined
May 2, 2010
Posts
73
I am sorry Qantas but I have just experienced the real nadir of service.

Needed to book a OneWorld Classic Flight Reward which cannot be done online (all the flights are there; the cost – points and $s – are all correct, but when it tries to go to the payment page it gives an error message.

At 7 (AEST) I phone Qantas after 15 minutes (excellent) Agent 1 answers says some necessary JL flights are not showing on her system. I point out the Qantas website shows them, I log into JAL and it shows them; she says JAL doesn’t have these flights. She goes to check, finds them on JAL, but cannot find them on the Qantas system. She checks again and finds the first one (and the award availability) then says no JAL for the second one (again it exists on the Qantas and JAL sites). With the times on hold while she checks the issues two hours has transpired, before she goes to check again. I give her my mobile number and ask her to call back if I get cut off while holding, as my landline’s battery may well expire. She says she will and leaves me on hold. 15 minutes later the call falls out. Agent 1 was really very helpful and pleasant and I really appreciated she was doing her best. However, after nearly 3.5hours (and counting) she did not call back.

When I lost my connection, I immediately tried phoning Qantas again. After a 65-minute hold, Agent 2 answered the phone and said "Due to high volume calls I am having to cut this call" and then she hung up!!!!

For reference I am Qantas Lifetime Gold and had sought, received, and paid for the wonderful Australian Frequent Flyer Award Assist Service in planning the itinerary. Their advice, promptness and knowledge were fantastic. I would highly recommend them. Unfortunately, as a (stupid) loyal customer of Qantas for 25+ years, this is the first time I have received such abysmal service.

Qantas specialises in hose wonderful sloppy sentimental adverts. Maybe they might then respond to this: the plan was to use my points so that my wife and I could visit her 94-year-old mother in Canada for possibly the last time ever.

Summary. Excellent: AFF Flight Assist. Good: Agent 1. Poor: Agent 2. Abysmal: Qantas website.
 

RichardMEL

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2014
Posts
6,471
An agent really hung up on you "due to high call volumes"?! That's incredible!

You know what I would, separate to this issue, contact QF and document this fully (date, time etc) because that sounds like an agent trying to up their call quota or whatever while obviously treating a customer unacceptably. Hopefully that agent could be traced (since you would have logged your QFF# when you called and the call routed to Agent 2). That's really just not OK in my book. I can't think of any situation where it would be OK or understandable to terminate a transaction "due to high call volumes" no matter what the request wat - unless the customer was over the top abusive or something like that.

Good luck with getting those seats to Canada. Frustrating QF online could not book it. Sounds like phantom availability, but you did the right thing to verify via JAL website (though some carriers do of course provide seats to their own members than partners).

Either way very frustrating
 

aikman

Active Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Posts
680
An all too common tale unfortunately.

I used to think that choosing Qantas meant that you get better customer service but this hasn't been true for some time now.

For my last oneworld award, I restricted my flights to what was available to book online precisely to avoid what you have experienced.

My guess is that your itinerary has a complication or trick which requires an industrious and knowledgeable agent to work through. Good luck.
 
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levelnine

Established Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Posts
1,199
Unfortunately unless you have Platinum (or above) and therefore have a reasonably reliable chance of getting a competent, Australian/NZ-based agent, my recommendation is only to book simple OWA itineraries that can be booked online.

I recently booked a complex itinerary that required extensive manual calculations of taxes, consultations with supervisors to work out how to book Royal Air Maroc flights & careful knowledge of the OWA requirements. Even though I got competent Australian/NZ-based agents and had short wait times, it was a difficult process requiring many calls & me explaining some rules to the agents. If I were Bronze/Silver/Gold dealing with overseas agents, there is pretty much no way it would have been successfully booked. I would have changed my itinerary to meet the website limitations.
 
Joined
May 2, 2010
Posts
73
Thanks for your helpful response. I will try and contact Qantas about the “agent issue” in time. My priority is trying to get the flights and I will have a bash later this evening at seeing if there are any alternatives but will need to get on with my day till then. My wife is not in the best of health and I wanted to get her a Business fare and me an Economy one on my points (the award tickets were there, they were a valid itinerary and I have sufficient points) but I cannot really afford to purchase them. Still, in the scheme of things, my challenges are frustrating but they are all of a first world nature.
An all too common tale unfortunately.

I used to think that choosing Qantas meant that you get better customer service but this hasn't been true for some time now.

For my last oneworld award, I restricted my flights to what was available to book online precisely to avoid what you have experienced.

My guess is that your itinerary has a complication or trick which requires an industrious and knowledgeable agent to work through. Good luck.
The galling part was that all the flights and the award tickets were available online on my Qantas Multi-City booking and the booking came out at the correct points —indicating it was a valid and available itinerary. After entering the passenger details and going to payment page, the error message appeared. Moreover when speaking to the agent she said the JL flights did not exist and that her system had no JAL flights around that time. She suggested they might not have been loaded yet but my flights were for March 2022.
 
Joined
May 2, 2010
Posts
73
Unfortunately unless you have Platinum (or above) and therefore have a reasonably reliable chance of getting a competent, Australian/NZ-based agent, my recommendation is only to book simple OWA itineraries that can be booked online.

I recently booked a complex itinerary that required extensive manual calculations of taxes, consultations with supervisors to work out how to book Royal Air Maroc flights & careful knowledge of the OWA requirements. Even though I got competent Australian/NZ-based agents and had short wait times, it was a difficult process requiring many calls & me explaining some rules to the agents. If I were Bronze/Silver/Gold dealing with overseas agents, there is pretty much no way it would have been successfully booked. I would have changed my itinerary to meet the website limitations.
My itinerary was relatively straightforward involving QF, QR, JL and AA. All within the rules and available and confirmed online. I’m trying all sorts of combos but without success. I’ll continue to try. You are right about the status (envy), Unfortunately my Platinum days are long gone and my Lifetime Gold status counts for nought.
 

Fil-Ski

Intern
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Posts
97
I share your pain. I got the same response - can't see flights.
I found that giving them each leg individually they can see the flights and book.
It's so painful.
 

Mr H

Established Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Posts
1,048
Unfortunately unless you have Platinum (or above) and therefore have a reasonably reliable chance of getting a competent, Australian/NZ-based agent...
In fairness, I have no status and have had to adjust a OWA itinerary a few times. I have consistently got overseas agents and apart from the unacceptable wait times, they have been able to sort me out. On one occasion my call dropped out and I was furious. The agent called me back and hour and a half later to say he had solved the issue I had called about.
 

levelnine

Established Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Posts
1,199
I have consistently got overseas agents and apart from the unacceptable wait times, they have been able to sort me out.
It certainly is possible to luck out, but at a certain point you have to conclude that the costs to your time & sanity outweigh the benefits of getting the exact itinerary you want. (Of course, it is not possible to completely avoid the dreaded call centre, especially when flights are cancelled, etc.)
 

Mr H

Established Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Posts
1,048
It certainly is possible to luck out, but at a certain point you have to conclude that the costs to your time & sanity outweigh the benefits of getting the exact itinerary you want. (Of course, it is not possible to completely avoid the dreaded call centre, especially when flights are cancelled, etc.)
Some people do seem to be consistently unlucky. As for sanity - I'm someone who is prepared to traipse across town to buy a bucket in the quest to earn a few thousand (Velocity) points - I'm not going to give in easily when I'm switching from earning to redeeming. :)
 
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