Qantas Error Strands Customer in CubaA Qantas ticketing error has left a customer stranded in Cuba and more than $2,000 out of pocket.

AFF member Sheenaec7 had booked an Iberia reward flight from Havana to Madrid in Business class, using Qantas points. But upon arriving at Havana Airport to check in for the flight, they were told there was no booking. It turns out Qantas had cancelled the booking without telling them. This member spent the following 24 hours stranded in Cuba with no money, no food, no internet and nowhere to stay. To this day, Qantas still has not apologised.

This member had made a Classic Flight Reward booking over the phone with Qantas last year. Around a week later, they received an email asking for additional information, which was provided. Several months later, this member got another email from Qantas advising of a minor time change to the Iberia flight. By this point, however, Qantas had already cancelled the booking without the customer’s knowledge.

Qantas says the booking was never ticketed because the passenger’s middle name and date of birth were not provided. This information should have been requested by the call centre agent at the time of booking. Even so, Sheenaec7 did provide this information a week later. Qantas claims to have called the customer several times over the following months requesting the additional information, but our member says they never heard from the airline. No points were ever deducted from this member’s frequent flyer account.

A Qantas Customer Care representative told our member the airline had done everything possible, and Qantas therefore has no liability. Qantas has at least offered to provide a letter to help with claiming the cost of the replacement airfare through travel insurance.

The Cuban airport staff were compassionate and did a good job in the circumstances. One of the airline check-in staff even arranged overnight accommodation for Sheenaec7 at a neighbour’s house. But there was little more they could do, given the Qantas ticketing error was not their fault.

It took almost 24 hours to buy a replacement ticket, with the assistance of an Australian-based travel agent, as it was not possible to process a credit card payment at Havana Airport. The replacement flight in Economy class cost $2,250.

Some AFF members believe the fact no Qantas points or credit card payments were deducted should have been a warning sign that there was a problem with the ticket. Our member says they did not notice this at the time. A booking confirmation from Qantas had been received, but not an e-ticket.

This case serves as a reminder to check your bookings have been ticketed correctly ahead of travel. This AFF thread contains a discussion on how to do this.

This is not the first time Qantas has cancelled a customer’s award booking with disastrous consequences.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Monumental Stuff up by Qantas

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]