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Qantas is Being Sued For Selling Tickets For More Than 8,000 Flights That Had Already Been Cancelled

Qantas is Being Sued For Selling Tickets For More Than 8,000 Flights That Had Already Been Cancelled

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Australian flag carrier Qantas is facing a $10 million lawsuit by regulators who have accused the airline of continuing to sell tickets for more than 8,000 flights that had already been cancelled.

In some cases, Qantas carried on selling tickets for nearly seven weeks after flights had already been cancelled and failed to tell existing ticket holders that their flights had been scrapped for more than two weeks.

An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also revealed that Qantas didn’t even update the ‘manage booking’ webpage for existing ticket holders, effectively keeping passengers in the dark about the status of their flight.

As a result, the ACCC will allege in federal court that consumers had less time to make alternative arrangements when they eventually found out their flights had been cancelled and could have ended up paying more for new flights.

The lawsuit covers a three-month period from May to July 2022, when Qantas allegedly carried on selling tickets on around 70% of cancelled flights.

In one case, Qantas allegedly cancelled an international flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles nine days before scheduled departure but carried out selling tickets for another five days and only told passengers that the flight wasn’t going ahead two days before they were due to show up at the airport.

In another example, Qantas decided to cancel a flight from Sydney to Singapore six months before departure, but it took nearly two more months before Qantas told affected passengers that the flight wasn’t going ahead.

“Cancelled flights can result in significant financial, logistical and emotional impacts for consumers,” commented ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb.

“We allege that Qantas’ conduct in continuing to sell tickets to cancelled flights, and not updating ticketholders about cancelled flights, left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices to fly at a particular time not knowing that flight had already been cancelled,” Cass-Gottlieb continued.

In response to the ACCC’s allegations, Qantas says the entire aviation industry was facing a period of “unprecedented upheaval” and that airlines across Australia and around the world were “experiencing well-publicised issues” as they ramped up operations following pandemic-era shutdowns.

“We have a longstanding approach to managing cancellations for flights, with a focus on providing customers with rebooking options or refunds,” a spokesperson for Qantas said.

“It’s a process that is consistent with common practice at many other airlines,” the statement continued. “We will examine the details of the ACCC’s allegations and respond to them in full in court.”

In response to another complaint raised by the ACCC, Qantas said on Thursday that it was removing the expiry date on COVID travel credits, which had been due to expire by the end of 2023.

Qantas customers with COVID credits can request a cash refund, while Jetstar customers can use their COVID vouchers for flights indefinitely.

The ACCC said it “strongly objected” to Qantas’ previous position that COVID credits would expire in December.

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