Aircraft downgrades are frustrating for frequent flyers. But Qantas took this a step further recently, cancelling their last flight of the day and rebooking passengers onto a bus!

To make matters worse, our member had paid a premium for a “flexible” ticket. Despite this, they ended up paying $127 for the privilege of changing their booking to something more suitable.

This member was travelling from Sydney to Canberra. They were scheduled to arrive around 8.30pm, but calculated that the bus would get them home around midnight. As they were booked on a 6am flight from Canberra to Melbourne the following morning, they decided not to catch the bus. But Qantas refused to offer any alternatives. The airline would not re-book them onto a direct Sydney-Melbourne flight. They also refused to provide accommodation in Sydney.

Our members largely consider the downgrade to a bus – without an associated offer of compensation – to be inadequate. Passengers could have been given the choice to fly the next morning, or to re-book onto a Virgin Australia flight. One member points out that a Qantas Flex ticket from Sydney to Canberra costs $364, while a bus ticket sells for under $30. Our member was also unimpressed with the lack of communication from Qantas. Not a single announcement was made in the lounge about the flight’s cancellation.

On the other hand, some members have defended Qantas. They would have accepted the downgrade to a bus and appreciated the airline’s efforts in trying to get them home that evening. They believe that there was not much more Qantas could have done given the flight had been cancelled.

Join the discussion HERE.


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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]