Involuntary downgrades

By rk1 | Apr 11, 2017, 03:09 PM

My wife and I received no compensation from Qantas on a business class JFK-PER fflight for the SYD-PER leg. The flight was delayed at all stages but in particular at LAX when we spent more than two hours in our seats before takeoff. Qantas stated that it was because a passenger had loaded a Note 7  in the checked luggage and that had to be removed. Although I pointed out that this was a Qantas issue since the Qantas/AA staff did not warn you at check-in (at least at JFK) but only after boarding, they stated that it was a US airport security issue beyond their control. They refuse even to consider an upgrade on a future PER-SYD flight in compensation and sine the return flight was ieconomy n a 737 not business in the original A330, the trip was terrible.


I have since learned of others who have had this involuntary downgrade on the return section of US flights, again with no compensation. 


There does not seem to be any transparency from Qantas as to how often this happens so please feel free to contribute to the poll. 


As it is likely that Qantas will know with enough time to offer the unused business class seats for point or cash upgrades I am concerned that this is 'double dipping'.


I understand that in Europe there is compensation mandate by law for these involuntary downgrades.



Poll: Have you experienced a Qantas involuntary downgrade in the last 12 months?
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By GregXL | Apr 11, 2017, 03:45 PM

I had a similar experience a few years ago with a missed connection in Sydney on an LAX-SYD-PER itinerary.  It was business travel, so fare compensation for travelling SYD-PER in Y was not important to me, but I believe it did occur.  I now avoid the tightest connection on the east coast, spend a bit longer in the lounge and reduce the risk of having to travel in Y to PER in a seat with inadequate legroom.  Of course this won't always work and I think you are correct to expect some form of compensation.  Cathay have good services PER to the US and one stop for your case of JFK - PER!

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By Patricka340 | Apr 11, 2017, 04:01 PM

About a month or so ago, the US regulation that made airlines/airports make announcements and confirm that none of 'at-risk' Samsung devices were bought onto aircraft was removed. QF did nothing wrong by not checking that any faulty Samsung devices were brought onboard; it has been >6 months since the recall began, should QF really be expected to continue to check that none are being brought onto aircraft?


As with many matters similar to this, compensation is usually a case of 'ask and you shall receive'. Have you already contacted QF regarding compensation? You were not very clear in your original post.

QF is generally pretty generous and 'on the ball' with compensation, especially when compared to other airlines (such as EY, QR and EK).

I doubt QF will have used your business class seats for upgrades; even if they did, does it really matter? If you weren't going to make that flight, it would make sense that QF would offer its loyal FF members an upgrade. I don't think they would block a seat because someone missed a connection.

Why are you annoyed that QF possibly upgraded someone on a flight that you were not on?

Why would you expect QF to tell you how often connections from the US to Australia are downgraded? What would you gain from this information? The reason you were not told, is because it is sensitive business information. 

If you want compensation, there is no point in whining about it on an online forum; contact QF if you actually want results.

There is no use crying over spilt milk. 
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By ajstubbs | Apr 11, 2017, 04:23 PM

In my experience, QF have been pretty good with compensation when asked but it does normally require you to ask the question and sometimes be a bit pushy about it. Even faulty seats have yielded a points payout (justifiably in my opinion).

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By rk1 | Apr 11, 2017, 05:37 PM

Just to clarify things, the planned connection time in Sydney was 6 hours.

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By jayd0116 | Apr 12, 2017, 10:25 AM

I was downgraded from PY to Y on QF30 (HKG-MEL) because of equipment change (747 to 333) with no notice or compensation. When I realised it, I sent a Facebook msg to Qantas and they offered me a PY seat on QF128 (HKG-SYD)

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By gazza48 | Apr 12, 2017, 03:09 PM

sometimes passengers make way to many over the top demands due to an inconvenience.  Airline travel will always have those unexpected delays and missed connections.  QF has always done their best to either re accommodate to a flight/aircraft that suits but it is not always possible. It always amazed me how many people were angry when an aircraft was delayed or cancelled due to mechanical issues...do you not want to arrive safely???  Of course it is annoying and can cause the disruption to plans but it happens and for me a safe aircraft is a better option! Many passengers demand an upgrade to business class for the disruption which is totally unrealistic. If you have a complaint, go to the airlines customer service team.  There is no compensation with many airlines these days


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By Ian_from_HKG | Apr 12, 2017, 10:11 PM

You always have the choice of refusing to take the flight until you get the class you want...


A couple of years ago, I was booked on a Finnair flight with the Memsahib, who is at high risk of DVT (having suffered before), so I only allow her to fly on flat beds for long haul.  AY notified us of an aircraft change to one with non-flat beds, so I changed the booking (at considerable cost), paid for extra night at Heathrow, meals etc; enquired when we checked in at Heathrow for our positioning flight to Helsinki that there had been no change...  Everything I could possibly have done.  Walked on to the plane at Helsinki to see it had non-flat beds, turned round and walked straight off again.  Staff at Helsinki were more than a bit flustered but couldn't have been nicer or more helpful when I explained the backstory, and were extremely apologetic.

In my experience (and this is just one of many stories), if you are polite and pleasant and say "this isn't what I paid for", make it clear you aren't blaming the person in front of you but that you expect to get what you paid for,  and stand your ground, it isn't too hard to win the sympathy of the person you are dealing with and get them to work hard to accommodate you.  Friendliness and respect are key.

Having said all that, it isn't a guarantee.  Downgrades do happen.  I just try to make sure they happen to someone else :-)
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By J_seeker | Apr 23, 2017, 02:07 PM

Booked for ski holiday in leaving BNE Sat 12 Feb on QF15 in PE, with onward connections to Kelowna, Canada. Received TXT from QF advising significant delay due to late (very 12+ hours) arrival operating aircraft B747. Telephoned reservations and was offered rerouting via SYD on QF11 in time to make booked forward connections. The downside - no PE seats available. 

Email notification within a few days advising refund would be processed in 15 working days. Refund received  to CC account.
The good and the bad. Good - the rerouting through Sydney meant we arrived at our destination on schedule and there were no 'knock on' delays. Of course the downside was the downgrade to Y for the flight across the Pacific. 
Good - the refund of the fare difference and the service wrt the rebooking. 
Disappointing - the delay in processing the refund. When you book a fare on-line it appears on your CC account within the hour!
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