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Monday 6 May 2024

Qantas to pay up to customers it let down

Qantas will $100 million as a civil penalty for breaking consumer laws and make amends to 86,000 passengers it booked on flights that it cancelled or failed to operate without adequate notice.

These included some so-called “ghost flights” that it did not have any intention of operating.

Under a settlement agreed to with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian national carrier will commence a projected $20 million remediation program for impacted passengers.

Affected passeners will receive payments ranging between $225 and $450.

Subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Australia, Qantas has agreed to pay the civil penalty.

Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said the agreement represented "another important step forward" as Qantas worked towards restoring confidence in the national carrier.

“When flying resumed after the Covid shutdown, we recognise Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards," Hudson said.

"We know many of our customers were affected by our failure to provide cancellation notifications in a timely manner and we are sincerely sorry. The return to travelling was already stressful for many and we did not deliver enough support for customers and did not have the technology and systems in place to support our people.

“We have since updated our processes and are investing in new technology across the Qantas Group to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“We thank the ACCC for their co-operation in reaching this outcome, which means we can compensate affected customers much sooner than if the case had continued in the Federal Court. We are focused on making the remediation process as quick and seamless as possible for customers.”

Consumer organisation CHOICE said reimbursment in situations like this should be automatic. 

“Qantas agreeing to pay $120 million dollars and admitting it misled consumers after ACCC court action is a significant result,” CHOICE said. “The proposed settlement sends a very clear message to all airlines and travel service providers that misleading consumers about cancellations does not fly.

“CHOICE is pleased to see compensation included in the settlement. Over 80,000 consumers have had their travel plans derailed by Qantas’ behaviour over a number of years and these payments are already well overdue. We’ve heard from countless consumers about having to fight tooth and nail to receive refunds or compensation from airlines for delayed or cancelled flights.

“Consumers should not need regulator action to receive compensation when it’s owed.”

Details about how to lodge a claim:

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