Unacceptable QF Communication, Mismanagement and Question on Customer Rights (QF1 23.12)

By Johnny9 | Dec 25, 2017, 01:28 AM
Hi All,

writing out of desperation as my wife is/was stuck on QF1 (departed 23.12 from Sydney). QF1 was diverted to Al Ain (AAN), some UAE regional airport due to thick fog at DXB, at AAN pax were kept in plane for 9h+ without food (after a 14h flight). pax were stuck there for 15h total - now flown to DXB where they will need to stay overnight and be put on onward EK flights tomorrow (25.12) - basically totally ruined Christmas

I know that the diverted flight was due to bad weather and it is not QF's fault, however how the situation was handled by QF is totally unacceptable:

- PAX were kept 23h in plane with 10h+ without food. Imagine a pregnant woman in Economy (luckily my wife flew J). The no-food supply continued for another 7h until DXB

- PAX were deliberately lied to on ground at AAN: I called QF line and they told me flight is cancelled - and that QF1 can fly into DXB only at 5pm local time as QF didn't hold any slots. On ground QF crew told PAX that there was a technical problem with plane, and some other excuses, NOT telling them that they will arrive at their destination only on 25.12. at best - NOT telling them the truth.


This mismanagement and silence from QF side is making me really angry. Is there a way to seek some sort of compensation from QF? What are my rights? (obviously the 600EUR fine applies only to flights departed within EU) I already formally complained to QF.

Have you experience similar situations?

Bottom line I will think twice with which airline to be a loyal FF with. I would want to choose an airline that treats customers and pax with respect and dignity - in emergency situations like these! Is for example SQ better?

PS: I just read on twitter that QF10 is now also cancelled with 450+ pax stuck in LHR and QF9 was diverted.

Merry Christmas to everyone - feel lucky not to be stuck on some airport somewhere and have no clue on what is going on...

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By Dredgy | Dec 25, 2017, 10:09 AM
While these things are frustrating there's probably not a lot you can do. You'll maybe get some token bonus points as compensation. The reason being weather pretty much gets QF entirely off the hook. They don't have catering facilities in Al Ain, so getting food would not have been easy, but it would have been nice if they went and got all the passengers pizza or something from in town.


You can complain to the Consumer Advocate for airlines - they have occasionally managed to secure me a refund where the airline was holding out.

What I don't understand is if the delay was that substantial why they didn't organize ground transport from Al Ain to Dubai or at least let passengers disembark there if they wanted to. It's not like they were stopping in a third country - most people on that plane would've been allowed to enter the UAE and getting from Al Ain to Dubai is less than a two hour drive.

Last edited by Dredgy at Dec 25, 2017, 10.28 AM.
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By akronflyer | Dec 25, 2017, 02:35 PM
elliot dot org lists some Airline contacts including QF they are supposed to be reasonably current
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By aklrunway | Dec 25, 2017, 04:38 PM
How did the crew "deliberately lie to" the passengers in Al Ain? How were they to know about ongoing connections etc? And what would you like compensation for? For the fact that the airline had to divert (along with multiple Emirates/other airlines flights) because of fog at Dubai Airport? I suggest you Google News search 'Dubai fog' to get some perspective and see the absolute mess the fog created for airlines. To save you the time:

- At least another 100 incoming flights were either diverted to nearby airports or delayed
- Emirates cancelled 10 departing flights

It might also be useful to do a Twitter search on Emirates to see some of their passengers were also on board for a number of hours.

Of course it's frustrating and not ideal, but that's air travel. It doesn't always go to plan
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By vvbjr | Dec 25, 2017, 07:00 PM
Fog - nothing any airline can do about. Hundreds were in the same situation as your wife. Pity the passengers in economy while your wife was sitting in J.

+

Traveling during Christmas - expect anything can happen. And they can be frustrating. You just have to grin and bear it.

Last edited by vvbjr at Dec 25, 2017, 07.02 PM.
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By Johnny9 | Dec 25, 2017, 08:08 PM
Thanks a lot for all your answers. I do understand that weather cannot be predicted and I mentioned it is not QF's fault that they had to divert. However, all that happened from there onwards was a total mess and I expect QF to do much, much better than that.

My wife (still en route) told me that there was a person with Parkinson, children, elderly, etc.

IMO, what could have been done in such "crisis situation":

1) PAX kept on plane for 9h (without food) and then let off aircraft to wait in a small departure area for another 3h. Why weren't they let off aircraft earlier? Also as Dredgy mentioned they could have organised some pizzas, or any sort of food (there must have been some spare lunches on board) for the ones who needed it most. Doesn't take too much effort.

2) QF could have sent at least update emails to relatives / contact details linked to that booking reference, OR announce it on twitter "QF1, departed 23.12.2017 from SYD diverted due to fog in DXB- expect long delay" to at least inform the general public so people would get a clue on what is the situation. QF was totally passive and silent.

3) A new crew came from DXB (2h drive, could have brought food?!) - and they knew the onward flight DXB-LHR was cancelled. They only told PAX once they arrived in DXB 10h later. I knew that the onward flight was cancelled bc I called QF and they told me. At that point my wife did not know and was informed only hours later. Why not tell PAX straight away, tell em to get comfy and tell that QF doesn't have a landing slot into DXB before 5pm that day? It's better to tell the truth upfront so at least PAX know what is going on and can adapt for a long wait.

4) They landed at 1am int AAN - most connecting flights to EU/UK with EK leave before 4pm - QF had 14h to manage this: One option would have been to offload PAX, clear immigration, organise a few coaches to drive PAX to DXB for onward connections - sure it is challenging but it could have been done at least with Pax who would need it the most (fans with small children, elderly, etc)

5) Lastly there are charter airlines (e.g. HiFly.aero) which could have picked up PAX at AAN and fly them to London.

I understand that such situation is challenging but imagine you would be stuck with pregnant wife and 2 kids in a plane for 9h post a 14h flight and crew telling you nothing.
To top it off, once arrived into DXB, post a 30h "flight from hell" pax had to wait over an hour for their luggage, and then they were told that luggage is forwarded to their destinations. Come on, seriously? Why couldn't a QF representative / crew member simply inform PAX of this?

It just makes me angry that no one wants to take responsibility, QF sweeps it under the carpet, pretending nothing happened, and plays fools with PAX in unexpected situations like these.
BTW there were many angry pax at LHR complaining how the cancelled QF10 flight was managed (no information, pax needed line up for hours, clueless ground staff) so this definitely does not seem to be an exception here.


I wonder if you have experienced a similar unexpected "crisis situation" with another airline and if that airline truly did all within their possibilities to managed it?

I cannot believe that QF will get away with this! I am not paying a thousands or $ for a J ticket for pax to be treated like this. As compensation I would expect at least: 1) a sincere apology sent via email and 2) some "travel voucher" (even if it is a symbolic $100) for the mess and harm they caused. But honestly, not even a refund would do justice! What rights do passengers have in such situation? I know in EU you get compensated €€ for delayed flights. I just found "Airline Customer Advocate" on this forum - would they be able to help?

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By vvbjr | Dec 25, 2017, 09:11 PM
There is no perfect or ideal way to handle an extraordinary situation such as this. You just have to let it unfold.


And please stop obsessing about compensation. The airline’s priority right now is getting all passengers to wherever they need to be which they are clearly struggling at the moment. The last thing the airline needs is an email from you wanting to know what compensation is on offer.

Last edited by vvbjr at Dec 25, 2017, 09.14 PM.
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By aklrunway | Dec 25, 2017, 09:59 PM
Thanks a lot for all your answers. I do understand that weather cannot be predicted and I mentioned it is not QF's fault that they had to divert. However, all that happened from there onwards was a total mess and I expect QF to do much, much better than that.

My wife (still en route) told me that there was a person with Parkinson, children, elderly, etc.

IMO, what could have been done in such "crisis situation":

1) PAX kept on plane for 9h (without food) and then let off aircraft to wait in a small departure area for another 3h. Why weren't they let off aircraft earlier? Also as Dredgy mentioned they could have organised some pizzas, or any sort of food (there must have been some spare lunches on board) for the ones who needed it most. Doesn't take too much effort.

2) QF could have sent at least update emails to relatives / contact details linked to that booking reference, OR announce it on twitter "QF1, departed 23.12.2017 from SYD diverted due to fog in DXB- expect long delay" to at least inform the general public so people would get a clue on what is the situation. QF was totally passive and silent.

3) A new crew came from DXB (2h drive, could have brought food?!) - and they knew the onward flight DXB-LHR was cancelled. They only told PAX once they arrived in DXB 10h later. I knew that the onward flight was cancelled bc I called QF and they told me. At that point my wife did not know and was informed only hours later. Why not tell PAX straight away, tell em to get comfy and tell that QF doesn't have a landing slot into DXB before 5pm that day? It's better to tell the truth upfront so at least PAX know what is going on and can adapt for a long wait.

4) They landed at 1am int AAN - most connecting flights to EU/UK with EK leave before 4pm - QF had 14h to manage this: One option would have been to offload PAX, clear immigration, organise a few coaches to drive PAX to DXB for onward connections - sure it is challenging but it could have been done at least with Pax who would need it the most (fans with small children, elderly, etc)

5) Lastly there are charter airlines (e.g. HiFly.aero) which could have picked up PAX at AAN and fly them to London.

I understand that such situation is challenging but imagine you would be stuck with pregnant wife and 2 kids in a plane for 9h post a 14h flight and crew telling you nothing.
To top it off, once arrived into DXB, post a 30h "flight from hell" pax had to wait over an hour for their luggage, and then they were told that luggage is forwarded to their destinations. Come on, seriously? Why couldn't a QF representative / crew member simply inform PAX of this?

It just makes me angry that no one wants to take responsibility, QF sweeps it under the carpet, pretending nothing happened, and plays fools with PAX in unexpected situations like these.
BTW there were many angry pax at LHR complaining how the cancelled QF10 flight was managed (no information, pax needed line up for hours, clueless ground staff) so this definitely does not seem to be an exception here.


I wonder if you have experienced a similar unexpected "crisis situation" with another airline and if that airline truly did all within their possibilities to managed it?

I cannot believe that QF will get away with this! I am not paying a thousands or $ for a J ticket for pax to be treated like this. As compensation I would expect at least: 1) a sincere apology sent via email and 2) some "travel voucher" (even if it is a symbolic $100) for the mess and harm they caused. But honestly, not even a refund would do justice! What rights do passengers have in such situation? I know in EU you get compensated €€ for delayed flights. I just found "Airline Customer Advocate" on this forum - would they be able to help?


Since none of us were there, and we're sitting in the comfort of our own homes I'm sure it's simple to sit there and judge what they did and come up with solutions without thinking of the logistics and legalities around why certain decisions were made.

1) No catering at Al Ain, simple. If there was food on board, you can't feed some and not others and I doubt there was enough food for 450 people. Also, I'm sure sourcing pizza for 450 people from Al Ain isn't significantly easy. Who would pick it up, carry it through the appropriate channels (departure processes) in order for it to be brought to the passengers? The priority for the staff at Al Ain Airport (who would hardly ever see an A380 let alone all the other aircraft that diverted) would be getting the aircraft away.

2) All information is a search away on their website or on Google. Literally type in the flight number to Google and it tells you anything you need to know, including diversions

3) How were the crew supposed to bring catering for 450 people?

4) There are many legalities surrounding that, that we wouldn't have even thought of or be aware of. i'm sure they considered this option but there must be a reason why they didn't or couldn't. Tweets I read had some Emirates passengers also in another Middle Eastern airport and they weren't allowed to get off the aircraft for 6 hours. There are legalities and challenges that we are unaware of.

5) You can't just charter an airline on the spot. Think of the logistics of what you said in point 5. It took multiple days for Air New Zealand to source Hifly to operate some of their services recently.

These situations aren't ideal but it's life, it happens.
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By X | Dec 26, 2017, 04:03 AM
Letting customers off the plane isn't as simple as it sounds.
1). Whilst AAN is an international airport, it deals with just two scheduled flights a day, so it's possible (even probable) that the Customs and Immigration officers were not available to land passengers.

2). Even if Customs and Immigration were available, I suspect there was not sufficient Ground Service Equipment available to handle an A380. Even if they had appropriate stairs to disembark passengers, I don't think they would have the deck loaders needed to offload baggage. So do you let passengers off to abandon their bags? And if you do, how do you go about processing 450 passengers bags at a later date? That DOES open up claims for missing baggage compensation. And many customers have boarded in Australia and would be with warm clothes for a European winter / Christmas gifts.

3). As others have stated, there is not likely to be catering available in AAN for 450 people. I am less defensive of QF on this, as it would be possible to request catering come from the DXB facilitiy. However, I suspect they were not sure what time the weather would lift, and likely had full intention to position the aircraft back to DXB.

Whilst I would forgive QF on their actions, it does sound like they could have managed the communication part better. But even that's not so simple.

Given the Christmas period, most flights out of DXB would be full, so cancelling a service would be their absolute last resort, as there would be few seats to recover customers on. Staff at DXB would have a number of customers at DXB needing to be rebooked, as well as thousands of EK customers snatching up seats.

Having been in the exact same situation before (from an airline perspective), I can picture the airline Operations Controller playing out every scenario. Unfortunately, there is often not a lot of information to share with passengers until all options are exhausted.
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By Phil Young | Dec 26, 2017, 08:24 AM

Was QF1 the only plane diverted to Al Ain? No.


Where does an airline order food from at Al Ain for 510 people at short notice, and how does crew pay for it? Very unlikely none of the crew had ever been to Al Ain before, yet the OP expects crew to go shopping at what time in the morning? It landed at 1am, so what food outlets would be open at that hour to meet the needs of 510 people? Would any food purchased by crew for 510 passengers be assured of being safe enough to meet QF health and safety standards?


When they arrived at DXB, were other delayed flights causing some unexpected problems? Of course.


Could QF have communicated better? Of course, this single issue being the one area that QF regularly lets pax down on.

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By GBRGB | Dec 26, 2017, 09:44 AM
“Qantas ruins Christmas” the headline across many newspapers this morning with QF ruling out compensation, so I would imagine you will be hard pressed to get anything in return for the ordeal. QF rely on the fact that once the emotion has passed you will continue to fly them regardless, so then the choice comes back to you as to whether the lack of compensation will result in you booking with another airline next time.
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By moa999 | Dec 26, 2017, 10:01 AM
I suspect for many of the reasons mentioned up thread (lack of facilities, catering and customs) that Al Ain would not be QFs preferred alternate airport, and I don't think I've heard of QF going there before,, butth 100s of other flights also diverted from DXB they may not have had a choice (there is only limited parking bays at most airports), and an A380 diverting anywhere will create waves of disruption, particularly over Xmas when many flights are full.

On a flight from Australia, crew would have quickly timed out of hours, necessitating a replacement crew.

All I can say it's an unfortunate situation, but I suspect a number of people in the QF Ops Centre in Sydney also had their Xmas plans disrupted as they tried to sort it all out and best manage the situation - note that this is normally aimed at disrupting the least amount of people possible which can mean flight segments are cancelled.
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By aniljak | Dec 26, 2017, 10:30 AM
Al ain is a modern reasonably large airpoort (opened in 1994!)
Should have had stairs suitable for a380, if not couldn't they be brought in even if from Dubai!
Emirates has world largest catering centre in Dubai. Couldn't food be trucked down. What about the new food that was to be loaded on at Dubai?
Very poor effort by Qantas!

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By aklrunway | Dec 26, 2017, 01:06 PM
I actually can't get over the armchair CEOs sitting here coming up with solutions. Let's put it this way, if it were all that easy, they would have done it.

I mean chartering an airline right then and there, bringing aircraft stairs down from Dubai, crew carrying catering for 450 people or just jumping on ol' Uber Eats Al Ain and ordering in pizza for 450 people...seriously guys.
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By Dredgy | Dec 26, 2017, 02:44 PM
I actually can't get over the armchair CEOs sitting here coming up with solutions. Let's put it this way, if it were all that easy, they would have done it.

I mean chartering an airline right then and there, bringing aircraft stairs down from Dubai, crew carrying catering for 450 people or just jumping on ol' Uber Eats Al Ain and ordering in pizza for 450 people...seriously guys.

I was not saying it was possible, just spitballing ideas. I was diverted once to some regional airport in SE Asia and the airline did indeed go and get pizza for everyone which is why I floated that. And since this is the UAE, most restaurants would likely still be open at 2 or 3AM

As for the airstairs - there were available stairs. According to Qantas,passengers were given the option to disembark and some first hand reports say passengers were moved to a departure area in Al Ain.

But given the length of the delay and the close proximity of Al Ain to DXB as well as Qantas’ close working relationship with Emirates there should have been an abundance of options to get food to passengers or the passengers to DXB or whatever. Not saying that’s what should have been done (I wasn’t there), but it was completely possible.
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By Clancy | Dec 26, 2017, 09:14 PM

Seriously, please... Al Ain is a largish city of 650k people on the Oman border. The airport caters for some 4000pax/week flying mostly to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It would be like landing at Alice Springs on a long weekend after a big night out...no one home, least not serious ground support. Everyone is alive but a little creased and suffering a first world problem, not somewhere on time. Breath-in and breath-out. Ahhhh, so much better now... :)

Now that I have said this I bet that I end up somewhere similar in Jan on the way to London on QF1...!!!

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