A330-737 Perth Plane Switch-Am I Entitled To Compensation?

By wawanderer | Apr 11, 2018, 06:55 PM
I recently flew from Perth to Sydney and had booked a points upgrade to business. Upon boarding it became apparent that the A330 I was expecting had morphed into a 737. Had I known that this was the plane I was going to fly on, I wouldn't have used my 25000 points to upgrade as the difference to Economy is minimal (wouldn't have booked this flight either). I think the 737experience is lousy on a 4.5 hr flight and there was no curtain between classes meaning there were queues for the Business class bathroom which meant I basically lost the points for an in flight meal and a little more legroom (Platinum ff member).
When I asked the cabin crew they told me they thought they were going on an A330 but the plane was changed at the last minute and "Qantas doesn't have enough planes". I have experienced a number of Qantas flights recently that have had "maintenance issues" especially with A/C problems. When I mentioned this to my pick up driver he told me he had heard that Qantas were deceiving their customers and switching planes if they are not full enough. I don't know if this is true but have seen similar claims online.
As I wasn't informed is there much chance of me getting the points refunded? Is this a frequent problem?

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By mviy | Apr 11, 2018, 07:53 PM
It makes sense for QF to use their planes where they’ll get best value.

Also planes can break down at any time.
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By btaus | Apr 11, 2018, 08:45 PM
No compensations even for red-eye, flown once PER-SYD downgraded from fully flat A330 to recliner 737, even more ridiculous, the plane has light load and virtually every economy pax made a flat bed themselves.
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By MarkJohnSon | Apr 11, 2018, 09:08 PM
Sorry to say it, but the airlines are very clear in their terms and conditions that the plane can change. They are very careful to sell a business class ticket rather than a particular kind of business seat.

Such subsitions are not unheard of with QF’s domestic A332s. Sometimes it’s economics, or other times it’s maintenance issues that all airlines have to deal with.

Having flown between PER and the east coast with the Red Roo somewhat regularly in the past, thankfully, these substitutions are the exception and not the rule.

That said, you can try your luck. Sometimes QF will refund some or all of the points in these situations if you state your case strongly enough.

As a final aside, I would not be listening to taxi or uber drivers for an informed opinion on QF’s maintenance tactics.

Last edited by MarkJohnSon at Apr 11, 2018, 09.09 PM.
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Paul Chamberlain

By patrickk | Apr 11, 2018, 09:34 PM
QF does work their planes very hard so little spare capacity when one breaks down, and likewise if they are not full there are downsized. A330 and 717s in particular but also the A380s are prone to breakdowns without capacity to replace them. There seem to be enough 737s around to cover for them though.
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By JohnGB | Apr 12, 2018, 12:06 AM
I would try your luck calling them and asking for compensation.. Any US carrier would provide compensation or if you had known about prior to flying they would have re-booked you or cancelled for free. Surely Qantas can help out here in some regard. It is a completely different product than what you were expecting.
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By RR | Apr 12, 2018, 08:27 AM

As an occasional user of Brisbane-Perth, have discovered downsides to (recently) switching from VA to QF: while both airlines use mostly 737s on that route, at least VA fence off business class with their white ‘rope’. On that longish flight with Qantas, I found the queue of pax standing in business intrusive, frequently leaning on my seat back, no privacy, standing right next to you. Along with difficult access to the toilets. I don’t know why QF allow this. In January, I booked a BNE-PER-BNE with Qantas on the single daily A330 both ways to avoid the lack of privacy. On the way to PER the A330 popped an engine and we ended up in Adelaide, where they had trouble dispersing an A330 full across available flights. Eventually stuck in the back row of an economy 717 for 3 hours to PER. Some points compensation asked for but declined by Qantas, even though most of the journey was in Y. On the return the A330 pushed out and promptly broke down. They did eventually fix it and we did get to BNE albeit very late, but if it hadn’t, QF would have been hard pressed to disperse that many pax on the very limited Perth flights without significant delay. It seems to me using that B737 and A330 mix is not a great recipe. Crew tell me the 737’s are much more reliable than A330, just wish QF would put it in a business curtain, and more comfortable seats for that 4.5hr and I would stick with 737.
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By bl5965 | Apr 12, 2018, 09:25 AM
In 2015, just after VA launched 'The Business'. my PER-MEL red-eye flight was downgraded from A330 to 737. They were very generous with compensation at the time, and was offered 30,000 points + $250 Travel Bank. I only paid 35,500 points for my flight in the first place (Business award).

No idea if they would do the same anymore. Never had the same experience with Qantas unfortunately.
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Paul Chamberlain

By foxc1 | Apr 12, 2018, 10:30 AM
I agree slim chances but in life if you don't ask you don't get so I would give it a crack!
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By dm12 | Apr 12, 2018, 11:08 AM
Aircraft swaps are unfortunate and annoying, but they happen. They may not have an an A330 ready to go but swapped in a 737 that could be quickly fuelled and crewed. It happened to me once (in economy I'll say) but they very quickly changed the aircraft to a 737 and we got to MEL only 5 mins late, from my perspective it was all well managed and there was no real delay - we got what we paid for. I can see how busi pax might have been annoyed but I guess theres two sides to when these things happen. I would call them and ask, put some polite pressure on them and see what they say, you never know.
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Paul Chamberlain

By Luke49 | Apr 13, 2018, 12:16 PM
That’s why I only upgrade or use points on International flights. Still can downgrade quality but less likely.
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By Doubleplatinum | Apr 14, 2018, 08:13 AM
No chance at all
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By Traveller14 | Apr 14, 2018, 01:33 PM

As an occasional user of Brisbane-Perth...Crew tell me the 737’s are much more reliable than A330,...

Different manufacturers.

Are the A332s really more prone to breaking down than the B738s? What do others with technical knowledge think? Is it a case of 'if it ain't Boeing....?'
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By Bollen | Apr 17, 2018, 07:12 PM
There are 3 times as many 737's as 330's in the Qantas fleet. I guess it is just a numbers game. I think anybody in your situation would be annoyed though!
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Paul Chamberlain

By Booster | Apr 20, 2018, 09:45 AM
I experienced this issue (see my comment 'bait and switch').
Whilst there is no doubt every airline has the right to substitute their hardware I do wonder whether QF in particular sell tix on one plane already knowing that it'll be a different machine on the day.
In my case the crew member I spoke to knew they had been rostered onto that flight / 737 for over a week and I purchased my ticket a few days before departure leading me to believe that it was being marketed as a 330 when it had already been switched to a 737.
Be good to get some official stats on the frequency of 'substitutions' on that particular route...
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By ausJCP | Apr 20, 2018, 10:03 AM
When I mentioned this to my pick up driver he told me he had heard that Qantas were deceiving their customers and switching planes if they are not full enough.

If the taxi driver said it, it must be true.
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