Qantas Faces Unprecedented Fine For Canceling Flights, Still Selling Tickets

Qantas could be facing a fine of hundreds of millions of dollars for a practice that it engaged in on a widespread understructure last year…

Australian regulator comes without Qantas’ canceled flight tactics

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has just launched an action alleging that Qantas has engaged in false, misleading, or deceptive conduct. The airline is accused of selling tickets on flights that it had once canceled in order to generate increasingly revenue.

The ACCC claims that for increasingly than 8,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022, Qantas kept selling tickets on its website for an stereotype of increasingly than two weeks, and in some cases for up to 47 days, without canceling flights.

On top of that, for increasingly than 10,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022, Qantas did not notify existing ticket holders that their flights had been canceled for an stereotype of 18 days, and in some cases for up to 48 days.

For a sense of just how widespread these issues were, roughly 25% of Qantas’ total network was canceled over that period, and these issues impacted 70% of those cancelations. In other words, for well-nigh 18% of Qantas’ total flights, the airline either unfurled to sell tickets for two or increasingly days, or elapsed informing existing ticket holders that their flights have been canceled for two or increasingly days.

Here are a couple of examples that are provided:

  • For the May 6, 2022, flight QF93 from Melbourne to Los Angeles, passengers were notified of the cancelation two days surpassing departure; one consumer was provided a replacement flight a day surpassing their original throw-away date, which was communicated only through the Qantas app, leading to $600 AUD in out of pocket expenses
  • For the July 29, 2022, flight QF73 from Sydney to San Francisco, Qantas sold 21 tickets without it had canceled the flight, with the last ticket stuff sold 40 days without the cancelation

Here’s how ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said describes this:

“The ACCC has conducted a detailed investigation into Qantas’ flight receipt practices. As a result, we have commenced these proceedings alleging that Qantas unfurled selling tickets for thousands of cancelled flights, likely well-expressed the travel plans of tens of thousands of people.”

“We speak that Qantas’ self-mastery in standing to sell tickets to cancelled flights, and not updating ticketholders well-nigh cancelled flights, left customers with less time to make volitional arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices to fly at a particular time not knowing that flight had once been cancelled.”

“There are vast distances between Australia’s major cities. Reliable air travel is essential for many consumers in Australia who are seeking to visit loved ones, take holidays, grow their businesses or connect with colleagues. Cancelled flights can result in significant financial, logistical and emotional impacts for consumers.”

Qantas sold seats on canceled flights

Regulator seeking massive penalties for Qantas

Okay, you might think the regulator is just trying to fine Qantas some small token amount, as we often see versus airlines, but that’s not the specimen here. Instead, the ACCC has asked a magistrate to fine Qantas “hundreds of millions” of dollars. As the ACCC Chair describes this:

“We are going to seek a penalty that will underline that this is not just to be a forfeit of doing business, it is to deter self-mastery of this nature.”

The ACCC wants to fine Qantas “significantly increasingly than” the $125 million AUD fine that automaker Volkswagen was charged in 2019, for violating Australian consumer laws.

Under Australian law, the maximum penalties for a violate of Australian consumer law is the greater of $10 million AUD, three times the total benefits that have been obtained or are reasonably attributable, or 10% of the corporation’s yearly turnover.

Qantas’ yearly turnover was $19.8 billion AUD during the financial year, so the potential fine here is huge.

Qantas could be fined hundreds of millions

My take on this whoopee versus Qantas

Qantas’ reputation in Australia has taken a nosedive since the start of the pandemic. While there are aspects of Qantas that are great, I’ve never had much respect for the company’s senior management.

CEO Alan Joyce has for years run the airline in the most cutthroat and greedy way imaginable, with little regard for employees or customers. While I understand he’s running a publicly traded, for-profit company, that doesn’t excuse the level of condone he has shown for others.

So withal those lines, I imagine part of the reason the ACCC is coming without Qantas so nonflexible is considering politically it’s popular to go without Qantas right now.

As far as the substance of the whoopee goes, I’m happy to see an airline stuff held subject for these kinds of practices. Unfortunately, though, they’re worldwide among so many airlines, so I’m not sure Qantas is necessarily much worse than competitors here, other than the quantity of flights it canceled in mid-2022.

It is indeed outrageous how poorly airlines sometimes communicate flight cancelations, and moreover how they signify that they’ll cancel a flight, but then protract to sell tickets. If Qantas does squatter a huge fine, hopefully it starts the process of airlines stuff a bit increasingly subject on this front in the future.

Qantas isn’t very well liked in Australia right now

Bottom line

Australian regulators are looking at levying a huge fine versus Qantas, for how the carrier handled flight cancelations. This not only involves selling tickets on flights that had once been canceled, but moreover not informing customers of flight cancelations plane weeks without intentions to cancel a flight were known.

Regulators are really trying to make an example of Qantas here, and could fine the airline hundreds of millions of dollars. The reality is that Qantas is whimsically on its own when it comes to vicarial this way, though peccancy has to start somewhere. I’m curious to see what comes of this case.

What do you make of the ACCC going without Qantas?