Qantas Settles for $120 Million Over Misleading Flight Sales

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 7, 2024 19:30 PMNews
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Qantas plane flying in the sky
Qantas plane flying in the sky. Source: pixabay

Australian flagship carrier Qantas has agreed to a $120 million settlement with federal regulators following accusations of selling tickets for over 8,000 flights that were already cancelled. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) filed the lawsuit against the airline, highlighting its practices during May to July 2022.

Qantas was found selling tickets for flights that no longer existed, including an international flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles that was cancelled nine days before departure but remained on sale for five additional days. This misstep left customers uninformed until two days before the scheduled flight, causing significant distress and inconvenience as passengers scrambled to make alternate arrangements.

In defense, Qantas argued the delays in notifying customers were intended to provide its rebooking teams more time to arrange alternative flights and to prevent overloading its call centers with mass cancellation calls. However, this approach led to a breach of consumer trust as passengers were kept in the dark.

As part of the settlement, Qantas will pay a $100 million civil penalty and allocate $20 million to a remediation program, compensating affected customers between $225 and $450, depending on their flight details. The compensation package will benefit around 86,000 passengers, with a notable majority being domestic and trans-Tasman travelers.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson, who assumed her role following the resignation of Alan Joyce, expressed remorse over the airline's shortcomings. "We recognise Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards," Hudson stated. She emphasized the airline's commitment to restoring public confidence and improving customer communication and support systems.

This settlement marks a significant step towards accountability and offers a cautionary tale for the airline industry about the importance of transparent communication with passengers, especially as global travel dynamics continue to evolve post-pandemic.

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