With Qantas having cancelled all its domestic and international flights – a move that's grounded the airline worldwide – where does that leave would-be Qantas passengers who are ready to fly or, worse, stranded partway through their trip?
Not everyone will be able to make alternative travel arrangements, such as taking advantage of Virgin Australia's discount fares to help get stranded Qantas passengers home (see our story for more details).
Here's a rundown of Qantas' compensation plans, summarised from the Qantas Travel Alerts page.
If you're "away from home and between flights" on Saturday 29 October, when Qantas made the call to ground all its flights, the airline "will arrange accommodation, meals and transfers for you."
If you're "away from home and beginning your journey today" you'll need to arrange your own, but Qantas "will reimburse you for reasonable out of pocket expenses including accommodation, transfers, meals and incidentals up to a total value of A$350 per person per day."
Qantas is imposing a limit of A$250 per night for accommodation and A$100 for incidentals (meals and phone calls) per person per day.
Qantas says it will "arrange accommodation, meals and transfers" for passengers stranded overseas, but also implies that passengers can make their own arrangements and be reimbursed by the airline at a later date.
You'll need to keep your receipts and complete an online reimbursement claim form, which Qantas says "will be available on qantas.com shortly"
Refunds and rebookings
If your Qantas ticket was issued on or before 29 October 2011 and you're directly affected by the Qantas shutdown for travel from 5pm AEDT 29 October 2011 through to 31 October 2011, the following fee-free options are available:
- for customers who have commenced their journey a full refund of the affected sector (s) will be available
- for customers who have not commenced their journey a full refund will be available
- Rebook to "alternative Qantas flights", meaning codeshares such as QF codeshare flights operated by British Airways.
- Re-route travel
- via the most direct routing using Qantas.
- return to the origin port via the most direct routing using Qantas.
- Purchase a new ticket. Qantas says it will "reimburse the difference between the cost of the new ticket (in same cabin of travel) and the value of the refunded Qantas ticket".
- Retain the value of the ticket in credit for future travel within 12 months from the original ticketed date of departure. If the new fare is more expensive than the existing ticketed fare, the fare difference is payable by the passenger. Applicable ticket surcharges, fees and taxes may apply.
For full details and conditions visit the Qantas Travel Alerts page.
For the latest on the situation, head to Australian Business Traveller's continuing coverage of the Qantas shutdown.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.