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Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Travelling NIGHTMARE.

Where is Jesse - Travelling Dramas with Qantas QF8

Thought Jesse would be here by now? So did I! 

If you follow Southern In-Law on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you've probably seen the updates - but a couple of you wanted me to explain the full story, so here it goes. 

As I mentioned in my post on Thursday, Jesse's flight was cancelled and his flights were set back an entire day - but that's not where the drama ended. The easiest way for me to explain the situation is day by day - so here it goes. 

Wednesday (Louisiana time): 
Jesse arrives at Alexandria Airport to catch his first American Airlines flight (a codeshare for Qantas) - after waiting for some time, the airport staff announce that their plane has been deemed unsafe and their flight would be rescheduled. A later flight is to come, however, it won't make it to Dallas prior to Jesse's 10pm boarding time for his flight to Australia. 

He's sent back home with no compensation or sorrys - just told to try again tomorrow and rescheduled onto new flights. 

(Sound like deja vu? Yep.. this happened on his last trip)

Thursday: 
Jesse returns to the airport to try again. This time, everything goes according to plan in Alexandria and he arrives in Dallas, ready to catch his next flight. Jesse gets onto the Qantas flight and loses internet reception so I assume he's en route to Australia. 

This is where things start going pear shaped.. Mum and I notice that the flight tracker still isn't saying the flight has departed. We assume it's just an error with the computer systems and think nothing of it. 

8pm, I get a message - from Jesse. This is when my heart starts racing... I know I shouldn't be talking to him - he wasn't due to arrive in Australia until 5am the next morning. 

Jesse explains that they have been sitting in the plane in their seats for six hours - with no food and no idea what was going on - only a small bottle of water given to them during the last hour. They were finally taken off the plane and told they were being sent to hotels. 

Each of the passengers have a hotel name scribbled on top of their ticket and they're sent off to hotels with no bags, no food (or meal vouchers), no compensation and no idea whether they're flying out the next day or what's going on.

Jesse arrives at the hotel and explains what he knows to me - he has no idea whether to sleep, wait for more news or what to do. I frantically scour Twitter (thank you internet) and find two other passengers on the same flight who are posting to American Airlines. They are at a different hotel and let me know that they've been told all of the passengers will receive a piece of paper slipped under their hotel room doors with information on what's happening. 

These passengers have had no or little food since they boarded the plane at 10pm and it was now 4am. Jesse tries to get some sleep because we have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow. 

Jesse wakes up and finds that note, telling them to meet in the lobby at 1pm for a meeting. At the meeting they are given vouchers for lunch and dinner (forget breakfast or dinner the night before) and are told to use them before they are due to leave at 4pm. 

Jesse gets some food and heads down to the lobby at 4pm to catch the shuttlebus back to the airport. They get to the airport and are told they'll have to wait for 2 hours because they can't check them in - after another wait they are finally checked in and have to wait 3 1/2 hours for their flight. 

After all that waiting, everyone is waiting at the gate to board but they are told there is yet another delay as they need to change planes, switch over luggage and they will board at a different gate. 

The passengers head over to the new gate for another wait and about an hour later, they finally start boarding. Jesse loses internet reception again.

Luckily the tweeters I found (thank you Caroline and Robert) let me know about an hour later again that they're in the plane but still not taken off - the plane is damaged (supposedly repaired) and they are sitting again on the tarmac waiting for the ground crew to load all of the luggage. They let me know that they've been told to switch off their mobile phones and hopefully this time their plane will be taking off. 

Now I sit here waiting - hoping I don't speak to Jesse until tomorrow morning when he's in Brisbane, so he can tell me when I need to go pick him up in Sydney. The Qantas flight tracker still isn't showing they've left but I am hoping, hoping, hoping that plane is in the air and they're en route to Sydney - safetly. 

Now, we've had airline delays and we've had issues - but we have never ever had such poor customer service! United refunded our tickets, American Airlines handled our complaints - but Qantas? No compensation and no response. Their hotline told me I needed to write an email - but that email wouldn't be answered until Wednesday most likely. 

I'm so disappointed - my family have been lifelong QANTAS passengers and members and we've never experienced this - but as Jesse wrote, it's going to take a lot to get us to fly Qantas again - especially when we know other airlines care more for their customers. 

So tell me, have you ever had a travelling nightmare like this?!

UPDATE: Read here for an update.

7 comments:

  1. Oh no, I'm so disgusted at Qantas! Not good enough- definitely making me think twice about flying with them again. I'm so sorry hun. oxooxo He will be here soon, just think it's better he arrives safely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check my update - Apparently Qantas are disgusted too! (This is totally against their policy)

      He will be here tomorrow at 9:55AM!!!

      Delete
  2. Nothing like that internationally, domestically I have. I dread to think what the families are going through, I couldn't image the first six hours on the plane with my kids going nowhere let alone the rest of it! Hoping he is en route and here soon. Qantas need a swift kick up the you know what! Oh and please let us know how he goes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought that too - how terrible for Mum/Dads with kids - and the elderly too!

      Apparently Qantas have realised this is a MAJOR screw up as they've contacted me (just wrote an update post) and this is totally against their policy.

      He'll be here at 9:55AM tomorrow - no more disasters, I hope!!

      Delete
    2. Shocking but glad we got to share info on this one!

      Delete
  3. Oh my gosh! I love QANTAS (I've been flying with them since I was born cos Dad worked there for, like, 30 years!!) Can't believe this happened - I'm glad he's back safe though. At the end of the day you do NOT want them flying in an unsafe plane - but the communication in this instance was terrible!
    Glad they gave you a little bit of compensation in the end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so disappointing that we had such a bad experience - and everyone else I have talked to who was on the flight felt the same - they were huge QANTAS fans (as we were) and now feel like they can't trust the airline, or don't want to fly with them again because they feel like they didn't care.

      I don't think Jesse will let us fly with them again - at least not if we have other options :/ and I can't blame him!

      Delete

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