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ACCC pulls Qantas into line on travel disruption costs

written by | November 3, 2011
The ACCC has ordered Qantas fully reimburse passengers affected by its weekend grounding. (Seth Jaworski)

An embattled Qantas says it accepts the consumer watchdog’s demand that it reimburse passengers for a wide range of expenses after it grounded its fleet last weekend, but it remains unclear just how far the airline plans to go in meeting those demands.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has told Qantas to reimburse passengers for everything from hotel and transport costs to missed pleasure cruises and flights booked while Qantas was grounded, even if the passengers didn’t end up taking the flights.

Those demands are well above Qantas’s previous promise to pay passengers $350 a day for accommodation, meals and transport and to refund or rebook missed flights.


In a statement, Qantas said it “agrees to and accepts” the ACCC’s statement and would “compensate passengers for all reasonable losses incurred as a direct result of the grounding.” The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that the airline might seek to water down the watchdog’s demands.

Qantas said it would also soon announce further measures meant as an apology to customers. The company has already launched a marketing blitz, taking out full-page newspaper advertisements today telling passengers affected by the grounding that they “can look forward to a special thank you.” The company has so far declined to say what that might be.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce also sent out a long email to the airline’s eight million frequent flyers defending his decision to suspend flights over the weekend in the midst of a labor dispute – a move that stranded some 70,000 passengers. Qantas resumed flying on Monday after Fair Work Australia ordered the airline and its unions to halt industrial action.

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  • John


    it seems to have been forgotten in the media that passengers are still affected, its become a political debate. i have missed 4 days of woerk, as have the rest of my party, as well as being considerably out of pocket, this was a disgraceful decision and Joyce must go.

  • Eric


    Alan Joyce was between a rock and a hard place – damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. I see him as more pro Qantas than anti Union. The Unions need to face the new economic realities that exist for global aviation. Qantas international could never have continued to compete under the current situation with the the likes of Emirates, Etihad, Singapore or Cathay.

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