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Sunday 20 May 2018

Australian airline passengers get the rough end of the pineapple

In the United States and Europe, airline customers are protected by a range of regulations. 

If an airline wants to bump you from a flight it has to offer to pay you for the inconvenience. If a flight is a significantly delayed you are offered compensation. Etc etc, depending on the jurisdiction.

In Australia, probably because Australians are not keen on complaining - or following through with complaints - airlines get away with blue murder and accept no responsibility for their failures.

A recent case on the Australian Frequent Flyer website underlined that consumers get the rough end of the pineapple with little comeback. 

A platinum Qantas frequent flyer reported that he has been waiting months for a resolution from Qantas. 

This flyer had booked the airline's Chauffeur Drive service ahead of a Business class flight from Sydney to London. The driver never showed up. With time running out before the flight departed, this customer reluctantly drove their own car to the airport… racking up an $864 parking bill while they were away! 

Seven months later, Qantas has offered $105 and 5,000 points as compensation - though the points have still not arrived. Is this adequate? Of course not. 

Similarly with my trip last week when the Melbourne-Phuket leg was delayed for nine hours and no one bothered to tell me until I arrived in Melbourne to twiddle my thumbs. 

The excuse, given grudgingly by one of Jetstar's flight fuhrer types, was that because I had booked through Qantas, Jetstar had no idea how to get in contact with me. That despite Jetstar having emailed me the previous day and my having checked in with Jetstar in Hobart.

The truth: Jetstar just doesn't give a damn. It's only compensation was a complimentary scowl and a $20 food voucher. Big business wins again. 

Then there is the friend who purchased business class tickets from Sydney to Hobart and return but was refused entry to the tiny Qantas Club lounge because it was “too full”. Good luck to her getting compensation. She didn’t get what she paid for. 

Sadly, there is not much we can do about it - other than complain and make other flyers aware of the issues they might face. 

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