Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jetstar credit card blues

A recent online dalliance with Jetstar got off to a promising start. Looking to book two adults and two kids on a Sydney-Avalon return flight, it was pleasing to see they had fixed the issue of baggage selection. Previously, it was one-in, all-in for checked baggage. Now, you can deselect baggage from passengers. Second, it looked like we would need to buy the $17 a person "optional value bundle" to ensure we all sat together. A 15-minute call to the helpline (14 minutes waiting, 60 seconds talking) allayed that fear - families automatically get seated together.

Inevitably, it couldn't all go the customer's way, however. Working our way to the final page of the booking (payment), when you're about to hit the process payment key, a line appears stating you'll be charged $60 for the privilege of paying by credit card.

An extra 8 per cent on top of the fares.

I appreciate that customers have the direct-debit option online but it really is taking the mickey when the majority pay this way for all online purchases (and no, I don't want to sign up for a Jetstar credit card).

- Daniel Happell


Friday, October 21, 2011

More trouble midair for Qantas

Some Qantas passengers are angry after a plane with 115 passengers heading to Alice Springs returned to Darwin due to a mid-air malfunction.

Passengers on flight QF1935 who spoke to AAP described a grinding noise and the sound of rushing air about 10 minutes after take-off, before an announcement that there was a problem with the cargo door.

The flight, which left Darwin at 7.25am (CST), turned around and circled the airport for about an hour to burn off enough fuel to land safely.

Chirag Patel from Alice Springs said he never wanted to fly with Qantas again, but had little choice as he was already booked in to fly to Mumbai with the airline on Saturday. "I do not like to fly with Qantas, the safest airline in the world once upon a time," he said at Darwin Airport.

Another man who did not wish to be named described what happened as a "debacle". "I wouldn't mind asking why CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) shut down Tiger (Airways) but Qantas is having incident after incident and they are still flying," he said.

Several Northern Territory politicians who were heading home after state parliament finished sitting for the week were also on board.

Robyn Lambley from the Country Liberal Party said she heard a strange sound soon after take-off. "It sounded like a faulty engine almost, and I looked across and said `this doesn't sound good'," she said. "Soon after that the pilot came on the speaker and said there was a problem with the door to the luggage container."

She said one passenger had what appeared to be a panic attack and paramedics came on board after they landed and give them oxygen. Ms Lambley praised the work of Qantas staff who she said were reassuring during the incident.

The plane was met by fire authorities when it landed as a precaution.

Tourist David Williamson said he was disappointed that something as important as a cargo door fault had apparently slipped through maintenance checks.

Another man seemed more concerned with his thirst as he waited for Qantas to find a replacement plane. He berated Qantas staff because an airport bar had not been opened early while the passengers were waiting. "A man's not a bloody camel," he was overheard telling one staff member.

A Qantas spokeswoman said a hydraulic fault caused the incident. "There is no safety risk whatsoever ... it is a mechanical issue," she said.

Recently Qantas announced a cut in flight numbers because union action was causing a backlog in the maintenance of its fleet.

The airline said the problem with its plane that turned around was unrelated to the industrial action.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Qantas flight forced down on Lord Howe Island after engine failure

A QANTAS plane has made an emergency landing on Lord Howe Island following engine failure, an airline spokeswoman says.

The Qantas spokeswoman said flight QF2260 from Sydney to Lord Howe Island experienced an "oil pressure issue'' with one of its engines. "The engine was shut down in line with standard operating procedure and the aircraft landed at Lord Howe Island without incident a short time later.''

There were 23 passengers on the plane at the time, Qantas said.

Engineers were being flown to Lord Howe Island, in the Tasman Sea, to assess the aircraft, she said. There were no injuries and passengers had disembarked she said.

A spokeswoman for the Lord Howe Island Board said passengers had checked into hotels and resorts across the island.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Mother furious after Qantas loses unaccompanied son in Hobart Airport

QANTAS has fessed up to losing track of an unaccompanied 11-year-old boy and even misplacing the paperwork involving his flight to Hobart.

Fairfax Media says when the boy arrived at Hobart Airport on his own late at night on September 28 he was forced to wander around on his own looking for his mother.

Qantas says the incident happened during a particularly busy night when the arrivals hall of Hobart Airport was in turmoil because storms in Melbourne had caused flight delays, passenger disruption and lost baggage.

The boy, who had been dropped off at Melbourne Airport by his uncle and passed into the care of Qantas cabin crew, told his mother, Leanne Decleva, that he didn't know why he was on his own after landing in Hobart. "Anyone could have come along and just creamed him up in a couple of seconds," said Ms Decleva, a child protection worker.

She marched him back to the Qantas counter to find out what had happened and was told they had no paperwork to sign for his collection and did not know who was authorised to pick him up.

"I've shown my licence as ID and they just (said) take him," Ms Decleva said. "But there could have been a custody battle in train and I may have been prevented from having any contact with him. "Working in child protection, I know all this stuff, because it happens all the time."

She has declined the airline's offer of a $1000 travel voucher and is considering her legal options.

A Sydney-bound Qantas flight has turned back to Bangkok with engine problems

A SYDNEY-bound Qantas flight has been forced to turn back to Bangkok with engine problems after a bang on board the plane, the airline says.

The Boeing 747 turned back one hour into the Bangkok-Sydney Q52 flight about 9.30pm (AEDT) yesterday after there was a bang and the plane vibrated, a Qantas spokesman told AAP. "About one hour after take-off, there was a bang and some vibrations were felt through the aircraft," he said. The pilot turned off one of the four engines as a safety precaution and the plane, carrying 356 passengers, landed safely back at Bangkok airport at 10.47pm (AEDT).

No emergency landing was required and all passengers were being accommodated on other services, the spokesman said.

One passenger reported seeing sparks shooting out of the engine, Macquarie Radio reported. "There was some white sparks shooting out of the engine and then they informed us of what was going on, that the engine had been shut down and we were returning to Bangkok," a passenger known only as David said.

It comes as an estimated 60,000 Qantas passengers have been affected by a series of rolling strikes by engineers and ground crews. The airline last week cancelled 400 domestic flights over the next month, blaming the disruptions on engineers' strikes.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Here we go again

There has been a bit of a lull in these incidents so I was hoping Qantas had got their act together

A QANTAS plane enroute to Perth was forced into an emergency landing in Newman after engine problems today. Passengers reported hearing a loud bang after an engine stalled on the flight from Newman to Perth about five minutes into the journey. The plane was carrying 75 passengers and five crew members.

A Qantas spokesperson said the plane was turned back because of an “adverse engine indicator for the aircraft’s right engine”.

One passenger told Nine News he was sitting at the back of the plane and heard a “bang” noise about five minutes into the flight. “They didn’t tell us [for] ages, they said we’ll turn it back for … an emergency landing,” he said.

Another passenger flying to Perth for a holiday also said she heard a loud bang. “The plane went like dead silent for about three minutes, and we hadn’t been told anything,” she said. “We were just sitting there and then the lights down the middle started going on and off. “We were just left there not knowing what was happening.”

A Perth man on the plane said the plane “dropped” mid-air after the loud noise. He said they eventually got to Perth three hours after returning to Newman.

Passenger Jeff Worthington told Nine News the scariest part of the flight was the landing. “It hit the ground that hard, and then it was just all over the runway,” he said.