Ahead of a long-haul international flight, that beep at the boarding gate when you get an upgrade is a moment of pure joy. After working hard to save up enough frequent flyer points, you’ve won the upgrade lottery and can look forward to a delicious meal and comfortable sleep on board.
But for one Qantas passenger recently, this moment of joy was short-lived. Their Qantas upgrade to Premium Economy from Los Angeles to Sydney was approved, and they were handed a new boarding pass. A short time later, the upgrade was revoked. Not only was this flyer shunted back to Economy, but they also lost their pre-allocated aisle seat and were stuck in a middle seat for the 15-hour flight!
The upgrade was initially approved when liamg boarded their Qantas flight to Sydney via Los Angeles in New York. But only when boarding the second leg in Los Angeles, several hours later, was the Qantas upgrade revoked. Adding insult to injury, our member reports that the gate agent in Los Angeles was unfriendly and unhelpful about the situation.
Thankfully, no Qantas points were deducted for the unsuccessful upgrade. But it was a deflating experience for our member, who was stuck in an Economy middle seat all the way across the Pacific. At the time of writing, this member had not heard back from Qantas customer service and was not given an apology.
While this situation was handled poorly, it could have been worse. Qantas has been known to downgrade paying Business Class customers. In these situations, Qantas policy is to refund only the difference between the actual fare paid and the most expensive ticket in the lower cabin. This often leaves customers out of pocket by thousands of dollars. By comparison, Virgin Australia refunds the difference between the fare paid and the cheapest ticket in the lower cabin that was available at the time of booking.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Points upgrade granted, then rescinded at the gate