Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jetstar, the low cost, don’t care airline

Here’s what happened. In February I booked interstate flights for a function in June. In mid-April my circumstances changed and I realised I wouldn’t be able to make the function, so I called Jetstar to see about cancelling the flights. Plenty of notice, I thought, and I’d be happy with a flight credit if they can’t do a refund.

Well, they can’t do anything. No flight credit, no refund, no care, no responsibility, nada, nix, nothing. They magnanimously suggested they could look into rescheduling my flight times, but only on the same route, and that would cost $40 per passenger per journey.

Then an interesting thing happened. Jetstar emailed me to say their circumstances had changed and they would have to change the departure time of my flight home. So, I rang them and asked if they would be paying me $40 per passenger for that. Do I need to tell you what they said?

As the great British comedian Peter Cook would have said, it’s no way to run an airline. The first thing that goes out the window here is the business’s commonsense, swiftly following by the customer’s dignity.

As for Jetstar, well, all I can do is use the power we all have as consumers: I will never fly with them again, and I will advise the same of anyone who wants to listen.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

QANTAS leaves your luggage out in the rain

My husband and I returned from a recent wedding in Queensland. Our flight with QantasLink from Gladstone to Brisbane was very good. We spent about an hour at Brisbane Airport watching the torrential rain outside before our flight to Sydney with Qantas, another pleasant experience.

However, on retrieving our bags from the carousel in Sydney we noticed the outside of each was quite damp. When unpacking at home that night, I found all the contents wet, including our wedding clothes. (Imagine if this had happened on the forward journey!) Every item in my bag had suffered some sort of water damage ranging from damp to saturated.

It seems obvious that our bags had been left uncovered, exposed to the rain on the tarmac somewhere at Brisbane Airport.

I emailed Qantas for an explanation and, to its credit, a customer service representative phoned me a few days later, apologising for our inconvenience but without any real explanation of why it happened and future measures to prevent a recurrence. She sent us a voucher for dinner at a restaurant by way of recompense but I would rather have heard that they are now covering their luggage trolleys at all times.

Lynne Hutton, April 2

I read the letter about waterlogged luggage (Traveller, April 2) with a wry smile. Five years ago my wife and I had a similar experience flying from Port Macquarie to Sydney and then Hong Kong.

Arriving at our hotel in Hong Kong we began to unpack our bags to find that everything saturated. For three days our hotel room looked like a laundry with clothes drying everywhere. I complained to Qantas and received two $100 travel vouchers. It appears that nothing has changed in five years. Don't fly with them on rainy days!

Roger Pearman, April 17, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Contrition! How rare! Loss of customers now clearly a worry for the incompetents running Qantas

Qantas boss apologises to frequent flyers for Easter delays. No word of what he is doing to prevent further problems, however

QANTAS Airways chief executive Alan Joyce has written to frequent flyers saying sorry for flight cancellations due to what he says were mechanical issues and not safety problems.

Mr Joyce says that despite some "sensational coverage recently, safety was never an issue" in recent incidents that plagued the national flag carrier, including over the Easter holiday. "I want to apologise if you were affected personally by the disruptions," Mr Joyce said in the letter, which reached the inboxes of the airline's frequent flyer members today.

"I know that Easter is a special opportunity to unite family and friends, and I sincerely regret any frustration and anxiety you may have experienced due to the delays."

Qantas spokesman Simon Rushton said it was the first time Mr Joyce had written directly to frequent flyers since he was appointed chief executive in November 2008. The airline has experienced major disruptions for various reasons in the past two weeks.

A Boeing 747 bound for Singapore and Frankfurt was forced to return to Sydney - but not before dumping fuel at sea - on March 30 due to an engine problem. The next day, an Airbus A380 flying in from London via Singapore blew out two tyres upon landing at Sydney airport, leaving the 244 passengers stranded on board for about two hours on the tarmac. It was later identified as a braking problem. And a Qantas flight headed for Los Angeles had to return to Melbourne Airport on April 5 after pilots noticed cracks in the cockpit window.

Mr Joyce said these events "did not represent safety threats", although he did not refer specifically to any particular incident. "I also want to give you my personal assurance that you can continue to fly Qantas with confidence," Mr Joyce said. "We always respond conservatively to any mechanical or performance issue, and we always put safety before schedule.

"We hate disappointing our customers and we do all we can to rectify matters when things go wrong."


Friday, April 9, 2010

More gross stupidity from QANTAS

Reminiscent of the way Mrs Sendyk was treated. Under media pressure they eventually crawled out from underneath their rock and did something about the Sendyk case. Presumably the same will happen here

It was the first time Brisbane songstress Emma Dean had to surrender her violin on a plane and the forced act and subsequent damage has sparked a dispute with Qantas.

The Q Song finalist and rising star in Australia's music scene said she was boarding a plane to Canberra last week when Qantas staff ordered her to hand over her instrument. "Never in 10 years of performing have I been banned from carrying my violin on a plane," Ms Dean, 26, said.

"They didn't give me bubble-wrap or another case to put it in, but just said I had to put it down below with the other luggage or I wasn't getting aboard." Reluctantly, Ms Dean handed over "Eliott", the instrument she has used for 14 years.

By the time the plane touched down, three large cracks had pierced the violin's core and Ms Dean has demanded Qantas make amends. "They must have thrown it from a distance to crack it like that and now they need to pay for what's been done," she said.

Ms Dean, who has worked with Kate Miller-Heidke, said another passenger lent her a pillow which she tried to wrap around the violin case. She said she had heard similar stories from others.

Ms Dean said she had sent complaints to Qantas and had been told to wait at least 25 days for a response.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the airline was investigating the incident. "Customer care and service is of utmost importance to us and we look forward to resolving this situation," the spokeswoman said. [Doesn't that bullsh*t make you sick? Why can't they admit straight out that the incident should never have happened?]


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unbelievable: Another faulty Qantas plane just a day after the last one

Maintenance must be non-existent

A QANTAS flight from Sydney to Canberra was forced to abort a landing after the pilot was alerted to a flap defect. QF779 was delayed by about 25 minutes yesterday afternoon as it circled Canberra Airport until getting the all-clear to land, the airline said.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the pilot of the Boeing 737, carrying 77 people, was following standard procedure after an indicator in the cockpit showed a defect with one of the plane's flaps during pre-landing checks.

The aircraft landed safely and has since departed Canberra Airport for another scheduled flight, she said.

It follows a series of recent incidents that have forced Qantas flights to be grounded. On Tuesday last week a Singapore-bound Qantas flight was forced to turn around and return to Sydney Airport after an engine problem. The next day, a Qantas jet suffered two tyre blowouts while landing at Sydney Airport, due to braking problems. Two days later a flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles was grounded because of a wiring problem.

Earlier this week, another aircraft that was flying to Los Angeles was grounded in Melbourne after cracks started to appear in its cockpit window.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Engine surge halts Qantas flight to London

The faults in Qantas aircraft just never stop. A crash seems inevitable soon

A QANTAS plane has been forced down shortly after take-off after experiencing a surge in one of its engines.

The Boeing 747 operating Qantas Flight 1 from Bangkok to London Heathrow experienced the engine problem shortly after take-off at 4am (AEST). “The captain of the aircraft shut down that engine and carried out an air return to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport,” a statement from the airline said.

Qantas said passenger were never in any danger as the Boeing 747 aircraft can fly normally on three engines. A replacement aircraft is being flown to Bangkok from Sydney and the 335 passengers on board have been transferred to hotel accommodation, Qantas said.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cracked windshield grounds Qantas plane

A QANTAS plane has been grounded after its windshield began to crack during a flight between Los Angeles and Melbourne.

The ABC reports the plane landed safely at Melbourne Airport but will undergo repair work to the side windshield, where the small cracks started to appear.

It is the second time this year that a Qantas flight has been grounded due to a cracked windshield.

A wiring fault on Friday stopped a Boeing 747 flying from Brisbane to Los Angeles, while two days earlier, an A380's tyres burst on landing at Sydney Airport after flying from London via Singapore. And last Tuesday another 747 landed safely in Sydney after reporting engine problems about 30 minutes into a flight to Singapore.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

THREE QANTAS planes unserviceable in one day

It seems clear proof that a lot of maintenance is just not happening

TRAVEL plans for hundreds of people have been thrown into confusion after three separate Qantas flights were grounded.

Qantas said the situations were not emergencies, and no passengers were put in danger at any time. Airlines often say that while delays are unfortunate, passenger safety can never be compromised. But for travellers eager to maximise their Easter long weekend, frustration can be hard to suppress.

An engine fault grounded QF15 at Brisbane Airport yesterday when a problem was discovered with the wiring in one of the 747's engines, the airline said. The problem was fixed by the afternoon but the aircraft was forced to stay put overnight because the crew members' shift was due to end.

The 386 passengers were sent home in taxis or put up in hotels, with the flight now due to depart for Los Angeles at 10.30am (AEST) this morning.

Sky News has reported police were called in to calm down angry passengers as the delay dragged on. One frustrated passenger was quoted as saying all aboard had been taken off the plane, then put back on for two hours, then taken off again before the flight was finally postponed until today.

In Adelaide, a flight connecting with Perth and then bound for Johannesburg was delayed when a fuel leak was detected in pre-flight checks.

Also yesterday, a Qantas flight was delayed for five hours in Perth after a defect was discovered in a wing flap. A replacement was installed and the aircraft left for Brisbane at 1pm (WST), Qantas said.

On Tuesday a Sydney-Singapore flight was forced to turn back when a pilot discovered a problem in one of the engines. On Wednesday, a superjumbo suffered two tyre blowouts while landing at Sydney Airport.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Another Qantas drama as tyres burst on landing at Sydney Airport

"Just a few sparks" again? That is the usual rot we get from Qantas spinmeisters. It might be a bit hard to pull that one this time, though

FLAMES shot out from the undercarriage of a Qantas A380 last night when its two nose wheel tyres burst as it landed at Sydney Airport - the second emergency involving the airline in the past 48 hours. Qantas has admitted that it does not know what caused the tyres to blow, Seven News reported.

A worker at the airport told The Daily Telegraph he heard a huge roar and then flames coming from under plane. "I thought there was a serious crash, there were sparks and flames shooting out everywhere," he said. "And the noise was deafening, like cannons going off. "I really thought something catastrophic had happened."

The 241 passengers on board QF32 from London via Singapore were stranded on the tarmac for nearly two hours while engineers investigated before being bussed to the terminal to meet anxious relatives.

"We saw from the observation deck and when it touched down the left wheel burst into flames and there were sparks and fire from the left-hand side and there was black smoke and when it went down the runway it stopped," said Mr Wayne Morris, 58, who was waiting for his wife, Maria, to arrive from a London holiday. " The control tower said on the radio that all the tyres were blown.

"I was very concerned because you don't expect to see flames from a plane and after the engineers went on strike it makes you ask the question about safety."

A Qantas spokeswoman said the incident was "rare" and had not occurred with the other five A380 planes in the Qantas fleet. "Passenger safety in our number one priority," a spokeswoman told Channel Nine's Today Show. "These incidents happen with all airlines around the world."

The incident comes after a Singapore-bound Qantas 747 was forced to return to Sydney Airport on Tuesday evening due to engine troubles. Qantas last night confirmed the plane had had similar engine problems in 2007 and 2003.