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Virgin flies but Qantas waits amid ash chaos

Updated June 13, 2011 13:14:00

Virgin resumed limited flights in and out of Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand this morning but Qantas planes remained grounded as a volcanic ash cloud brought chaos to air travel across the region.

Tens of thousands of travellers remain stranded after dozens of flights were cancelled as the ash plume from the Puyehue volcano streamed across the Atlantic and Indian oceans and into Australian and New Zealand airspace.

In developments this morning:

  • Virgin said its first flight had left Melbourne at about 7:15am (all times AEST).
  • Some Virgin flights out of Tasmania and New Zealand were due to resume at around the same time.
  • But Qantas said none of its flights would fly in or out of Melbourne until at least 1:00pm.
  • Qantas cancelled all Tasmanian and New Zealand flights for the rest of the day
  • Jetstar said flights would remain on hold until midday at the earliest.
  • Tiger Airways said its flights would remain grounded until at least 5:00pm

Airlines are waiting for more information from weather bureaus and the Australian Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin to see whether further cancellations are necessary, and are recommending passengers check the status of their flights online before arriving at the airport.

This morning Virgin spokeswoman Melissa Thomson said the airline believed it was safe to resume flights around or under the ash cloud.

"We decided to resume services based on information that we received from the Bureau of Meteorology and also the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre," she said.

She said other airlines would have to make their own decisions on how and when to restart services.

"I couldn't comment on their processes. We've taken into consideration expert advice, and while safety is always our priority we believe that it is safe to resume services," she said.

"It's something that we will continually monitor."

Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth said around 10,000 Qantas passengers and around 12,000 Jetstar passengers were affected by the shutdown.

"This is an inconvenience, we do recognise that," she told ABC News Breakfast, adding that the situation was "out of our control".

"Our Qantas group policy is that if there is any sign of ash cloud around we won't operate," she told ABC Local Radio.

"The problem at the moment that we have is that we just don't know the density of this ash cloud. There isn't the technology here in Australia to determine that, so we don't know whether it's a thick ash cloud or one that's quite thin.

"So at this stage, if there's any sign of ash we won't be flying."

A spokesman for the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin said any amount of volcanic ash could pose a risk.

"We advise not to fly in the areas that we've warned," he said.

But he said it was up to individual airlines to decide whether or not to fly and said the ash cloud was probably not particularly dense.

"It's been in the air for about a week, so most of the heavy particles have fallen out," he said.

The Australian National University's Professor Richard Arculus has warned disruption to flights could last for days.

"You can see the ash coming," he told AM.

"It has come all the way around the Atlantic and across the Southern Ocean, Indian Ocean and is almost going to do a loop on itself, heading back towards South America.

"So it will take a few days for that to disperse. The question for travellers is what is the density of particles per cubic metre, that's the thing the airlines worry about.

"But when you look at the advisory, you can see this plume coming with swirls on it from our west, from across the Indian Ocean and the eruption is continuing, not as violently as it did when it started on June 4 but it is still continuing to some extent."

Air New Zealand said it would adjust flight routes and altitudes to avoid the plumes, which New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority has warned will be at 20,000 - 30,000 feet - the cruising altitude for both jet and turboprop aircraft.

The authority said New Zealand airspace may be affected for at least a week, given the volcano is still erupting.

Tags: business-economics-and-finance, industry, disasters-and-accidents, volcanic-eruption, environment, air-transport, australia, tas, vic, melbourne-3000

First posted June 12, 2011 16:35:00

Comments (62)

Comments for this story are closed, but you can still have your say.

  • ABC (Moderator):

    13 Jun 2011 7:35:35am

    Have your travel plans been interrupted by the volcanic ash cloud?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Greg Francis:

      13 Jun 2011 8:04:43am

      Yes, I had a flight from Melbourne to Newcastle cancelled. Jetstar's service was apalling as expected. No one at the airport could help with rebooking, they just handed out the Jetstar switchboard number which was completely clogged requiring me to wait on hold (on my mpbile phone) for more than 40 minutes only to be cut off after somebody finally answered. Jetstar's "customer service" is apalling at the best of times and non-existent when the "system" gets stressed. Late last night the Jetstar number was permanently engaged so still can't book a new flight.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • Steve D:

        13 Jun 2011 8:38:59am

        Greg, what can I say? You paid peanuts, you got monkeys. Your fault mate.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Arthur:

          13 Jun 2011 9:09:12am

          Too true Steve. If you want to be well looked after, buy an expensive seat otherwise run the gauntlet and get cheap airfares.

          I prefer it how it is today. In the past you would get very well looked after but who could afford to fly then.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • GrumpyOldie:

          13 Jun 2011 1:34:39pm

          A cheap airfare should not mean nonexistent customer service, that's a cop out.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Mike:

          13 Jun 2011 9:19:46am

          Steve, not everyone is as rich as you.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Jan :

          13 Jun 2011 10:27:44am

          I would normally agree with you Steve but my son was booked on a Qantas flight out of Melbourne this morning and has had the same problem with Qantas. His flight was cancelled (his did get a text) tired to ring and ws put on hold on his mobile for an hour then cut off. I've tried to get through but the lines are just switched off. So it seems tht when the system get stressed Qantas can't cope either.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Phil:

          13 Jun 2011 11:11:37am

          Qantas codeshare the Melbourne to Newcastle route with Jetstar, so peanuts or not, you're stuck with them. I was cancelled off the same flight, 1.5 hours on hold with Qantas (whom I booked through) and all I got was a grumpy customer service rep on the other end saying there was no flights for days. So Steve, still Greg's fault?

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Jake:

          13 Jun 2011 11:36:21am

          Qantas and Jetstar are the same company, I'm sure you're aware. This is Qantas policy, and the system is their responsibility.

          Greg is right to complain.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • MickC:

          13 Jun 2011 12:06:22pm

          I don't think it makes a difference as I am on a Business Flight and the service is the same .

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Kieran:

          13 Jun 2011 12:17:45pm

          Not everyone can afford to 'just pay more'. Mate. But you've probably never paid less than $75 for a burger, and don't understand how the majority live.

          All paying passengers deserve some assistance, no matter what colour their credit card.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Cormac:

      13 Jun 2011 10:18:54am

      Almost got stranded in Wellington, NZ yesterday. Afternoon flight with Qantas was cancelled. No check-in staff, and no-one in the ticketing office. Thank goodness AirNZ were very helpful, and I managed to get a seat on a flight with them. My question to Qantas is this - (1) if AirNZ could still fly me home, why couldn't you? and (2) don't you think that on a day like yesterday, when you had to know that hundreds of people would be looking for answers as to what was happening with their flights, you might have had at least a couple of staff at the airport to talk to them!?

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • Soren:

        13 Jun 2011 11:01:19am

        Funny how Australia people complain about Qantas as if they were from the other planet. Unfortunately - they represent the you Australians. They are the same people like you. Now you see how the foreigners feel about the Australians when they come here and have to face the unfriendliness, unanswered calls, hostility, arrogance and laziness. The change starts with all of you.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Jam737:

          13 Jun 2011 11:38:19am

          Actually you're incorrect. If you fly QANTAS to or from NZ you're flying with a company called Jet Connect. Looks like QANTAS but is based out of NZ, employees are paid 40 percent less and do not get super or QANTAS benefits. Appalling. Even Jetstar pays their employees better... But don't get me started on them.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • dense:

          13 Jun 2011 11:39:30am

          Hey Soren.. i agree somewhat with your comment.. but have you ever tried to get nice smiley friendly service in Rome for example? Culture does count a lot in relation to personal attitude and service standards .. but i contend most of the 'poor service' is due to the market economy and hard times screwing margins for those who depend on business performance - and thats all of us.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

        • Lou:

          13 Jun 2011 12:03:42pm

          Wow. Nice bit of xenophobia there. Pretty outrageous comment.

          Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • ruth:

    13 Jun 2011 8:01:40am

    Yes we are stuck in Melbourne. it would be nice if virgin could update their website with more recent information about the canceled flights! There has been no update since 5am!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Spinner:

      13 Jun 2011 8:59:19am

      Let me issue an update for you ....

      There is an ash cloud somewhere in the vicinity of the airspace which would be used for your flight.

      Virgin is quite interested in preserving its aircraft and your life. So until the science of predicting the exact location of ash clouds is a little more precise, expect lengthy delays.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

      • Risteard:

        13 Jun 2011 11:01:13am

        Any delay is better then sleeping for eternity. Wake up to your self safety comes first, regardless of the delay.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Michael:

    13 Jun 2011 8:38:41am

    Yes... But virgin at least got the notification in early...

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • stewart:

    13 Jun 2011 8:46:57am

    Yes Jetstar start updating your website every hour or informing travellers by SMS as to what is going on. The telephone is so old hat, and it is costing people money to be on hold. Get your act together.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • J:

    13 Jun 2011 8:53:47am

    I paid a LOT of money to go to a concert this week & if I miss it I expect you to give me back my money for flights, accommodation & the concert ticket. There isn't any smoke in the sky so they don't need to be delayed this long. Stop being stupid.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • desh:

      13 Jun 2011 9:21:48am

      Don't expect money back from the airline. They don't control natural events such as Volcanoes and weather. If you paid a lot of money for a concert ticket, you should have protected your investment with travel insurance. If you have no travel insurance, I can spot who is being stupid.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Rose:

      13 Jun 2011 9:25:55am

      You really don't read your terms and conditions, do you J? Best you are likely to get from the airline is a voucher to travel another time. Probably not even a cash refund. And they certainly won't pay for hotels and concert tickets - that is what travel insurance is for honey, get real.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Groucho:

      13 Jun 2011 9:25:58am

      I've been flying on business and for pleasure for 30 years. One thing I have learned is always factor the unexpected into your plans. I've never missed an appointment as a result. Putting your concerts ticket investment at risk is not worthit to save a few hours. And you can't blame the airline for nature.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Kevin:

      13 Jun 2011 9:31:16am

      Really? It's somehow the airlines' fault that they don't want to kill you? You think they are going through all this for fun?

      I believe this is exactly what travel insurance is for. Silly you for not taking it out.

      I imagine that with this attitiude you don't believe in global warming either, or Europe for that matter, given that you can't see it.

      Sorry that you lost money, but it is harly the airlines' fault.

      Agree (1) Alert moderator

      • socrates:

        13 Jun 2011 10:55:29am

        Good grief. Any excuse for flimsy reference to global warming. This volcano performed exactly the same as it is now 60 years ago.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Grounded in Melbourne:

      13 Jun 2011 9:54:11am

      These natural events are beyond the airlines' control and canceling flights is for passenger safety. I'm inconvenienced also but I'm much happier not to be flying in an ash-filled sky!

      Agree (1) Alert moderator

      • ME:

        13 Jun 2011 1:39:21pm

        It's not really that they are concerned about your safety. Virgin and Air NZ are flying. They are just going under the plume.

        Why don't QANTAS? - Because it costs more to fly at low altitude and they don't want to waste the money.

        Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • bruce tyler:

      13 Jun 2011 1:05:09pm

      Ah, I used to love getting screamed at by people like you. Read your terms and conditions. Grow up. As if the airline will bear the risk of your stupid concert ticket in the case of weather delay.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Aspire:

    13 Jun 2011 8:55:48am

    Not at all.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Spinner:

    13 Jun 2011 8:56:36am

    Volcanic ash can, and has, caused potentially catastrophic multiple engine failures in aircraft on numerous previous occasions. This is caused in the worst case scenarios by suffocating the engines, in other words, allowing insufficient oxygen to continue the fuel ignition process. But also, even small amounts of volcanic ash can result in glazing of hot engine parts which will inevitably result in failure of the engine in the short to medium term.

    If you are heading off on your holiday, or on an important business trip, on board an aircraft which suffers this kind of damage, it can be almost guaranteed to spoil your flight - suddenly, and possibly, permanently.

    Do not be tempted to race off and fly with that carrier exhibiting unjustified bravado in taking on the volcanic ash. Remember, they do not know for sure where the ash is, only where it most likely is. Small miscalculations can have major consequences.

    Flying with one of these carriers and finding oneself in the middle of a destructive ash haze (it is almost impossible to see in some circumstances), can spoil your entire day.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • magoo:

    13 Jun 2011 9:22:09am

    Just imagine if the volcanos in Iceland, CHile, Indonesia, USA and Guatemala all erupted simultaneously. Maybe Vesuvio could blow her top too and add to the mayhem?

    Our society has become so dependent on air travel for commerce and trade that it would probably spark another GFC. What it would do to GCC (climate change) is something to contemplate too.

    Having said that, I do recognize that much of the travelling public caught up in the present melee is probably just useless tourism or holidaying crowds.

    I could see this event unfolding more than a week ago, so moved my travel plans forward. Nearly over jet lag.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Jackie:

    13 Jun 2011 9:26:32am

    I have booked with QANTAS - received an early text message, thank you that is great as I did not have to drive to airport. Rang the number given, unfortunately I have been on hold since 0610 - 3 hours and 13 minutes and waiting.

    I think my ticket is cancelled, but I am not sure??? It would be nice to get a text message or an email with some instructions like, re-book your airfare or planes are unlikely to fly out of Melbourne, Hobart etc for the next two days..........

    Agree safety must come first........rather be late than dead!!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Jen:

      13 Jun 2011 1:26:07pm

      I had the same experience but stayed on hold from 10.40 pm to 3.45AM and did not get an answer. Can't rebook because I can't get anyone to answer my calls. Surely call centres can put on extra staff for extraordinary circumstances? Interminable recorded messages full of all sorts of information except the information most callers were looking for; plenty of invitations to go to the website for information but not information about current disruptions. Why not a regularly updated spot on the home page to give customers some information?
      Hard times for airlines I know, but customer service is very poor.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Robert:

    13 Jun 2011 9:38:21am

    When people only want to pay bargarin basement airfares they can hardly expect the airline to have hundreds of staff sitting by waiting for a crisis to answer phonecalls. You can't have it both ways.
    Shows that most people can't see beyond the end of their wallets and all full of me first, and what a selfish stingy lot we have become.

    Agree (1) Alert moderator

    • Cormac:

      13 Jun 2011 10:25:30am

      I agree. But when you pay full fare to a supposedly large and reputable airline (Qantas) you should at least expect some level of customer service and communication, shouldn't you? At Wellington airport yesterday they weren't even there, and their "customer service" was basically useless.

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • I'm with QF:

    13 Jun 2011 9:49:01am

    I have to agree with 'Spinner'. Perhaps those that would criticise QF should watch the the documentary about the BA flight some years ago that went through an ash cloud over Indonesia. A 747 losing all 4 engines is not, according to the pilot and passengers, a pleasant experience. The current radar equipment, fitted to QF and other airlines, does NOT detect volcanic ash and the ash can very quickly turn a serviceable aircraft into a brick with all the associated aerodynamics of a brick. Anyone travelling should take out travel insurance, it is the solution to the concert, accommodation and flights issue.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • kerry lamb:

    13 Jun 2011 10:00:30am

    Why are people so rude to each other here?
    Comments such as "..your fault mate.."."..get your act together.." and "..stop being stupid" belong on the pointless hater pages on Facebook.
    What has happened to common courtesy and empathy. I can remember many times having to scrape together my last $$ and grab the cheapest flight going (thank goodness for fare wars) to attend to some family situation or other. Many people would not be able to travel EVER if it weren't for cheap fares.
    At least be courteous here, folks.

    Agree (1) Alert moderator

  • jo:

    13 Jun 2011 10:04:46am

    Sitting on the train to Sydney reading this. This strengthens the case for a very fast train and shows yet again how shortsighted we are to have such a reliance on air travel. Wouldn't help people in Tasmania but might help people moving around the mainland.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • nowlookhere:

    13 Jun 2011 10:12:54am

    Well done Robert. Not hard to picture the losers fuming at the airports because someone is trying to preserve their (perhaps not so precious) lives!

    Agree (1) Alert moderator

  • Ian:

    13 Jun 2011 10:12:55am

    I wonder if Qantas and Virgin have different conditions in their maintenance and insurance arrangements, Virgin is more likely to be leasing, Qantas seem to own their planes.
    Also I wonder if one boards a plane in known hazardous conditions when others have suspended operations, if the plane stalls and falls tail first into the ocean like the Air France jet that lost its speed sensors (clogged with ice, not volcanic ash), whether the life insurance company has wriggle room not to pay out on your policy for your family.
    This ash may also increase rainfall, the water is rising here on the mid north coast.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Mike:

    13 Jun 2011 10:15:02am

    I think it is about time the government did something about volcanos.

    And rain.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Sarah:

    13 Jun 2011 10:30:08am

    I have a job interview in Melbourne in a couple of days so I'm really hoping this gets resolved. Yes, I can do a phone interview, but I chose to fly, at my own expense, to give myself the best possible chance. I have travel insurance, but it won't solve the problem.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Polonski:

    13 Jun 2011 10:35:14am

    There was a 747 flying through an ash cloud from a volcano that erupted in Indonesia. That aircraft had all 4 engines stop on it and was down to only a few thousand feet above the water, at night, before they managed to get them started again. Once they started to climb again the engines stopped once more before finally restarting them again and diverting. As they approached the runway they couldn't see becsuse the windscreen was all scratched and crazed from the dust.

    Volcanic ash is extremely fine but shaped with very sharp and pointy edges. It can be very destructive. Everyone(passengers) is so used to flying without any consequence to weather or other factors that they forget some of the important factors, like safety and whether you should actually be flying at all at that time. Rather it's just about them and their little concert or meeting. Go do yourself a favour, educate yourself, do some flying lessons and appreciate what it's really all about.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Tom Parkinson:

    13 Jun 2011 11:00:24am

    Can anyone give the reason why Emirates and Air New Zealand are able to fly between Melbourne and New Zealand, yet Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin seem incapable. Both Emirate and Air NZ are respectable airlines and one feels would not take any risks with either passengers or aeroplane. If it is simply that they have re-routed their flight paths surely it is not beyond the wit of other airlines to do the same

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Polonski:

      13 Jun 2011 11:21:07am

      It's all about money probably. It's possible to fly at a much lower altitude, below the forecast altitude of the cloud, but the fuel burn is hugely increased and no one knows for sure exactly were the cloud is either...

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

    • Bobby:

      13 Jun 2011 11:35:56am

      Qantas' policy is to not flight when there are ash clouds. Due to uncertainty of the density (as per the article).

      Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Hilary:

    13 Jun 2011 11:11:26am

    Does travel insurance cover this situation? The ones I've looked at seem to exclude flight cancellations.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Checkered:

    13 Jun 2011 11:29:43am

    Where is CASA? I thought they were the body responsible for SAFETY? Letting airlines decide when and if to fly is leaving the 'lunatics to run the asylum'. Of course the more desperate will take the chance to get a competitive advantage while punishing those that take the safer and more conservative approach. The airspace should either be OPEN or CLOSED after risk analysis by CASA.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Wonder:

    13 Jun 2011 11:29:59am

    Is the airline already Back on the air again or not, how much of smoke, im gonna fly next week, gonna have an effect until that time or not?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Richard Titelius:

    13 Jun 2011 11:42:31am

    Well said Kerry Lamb, I am also incredulous about the rudeness, insular, selfishness and banality of some of the responses here which as you point out belongs on the "pointless hater pages" of Facebook or the bourgois or lumpen proletariat pages of Yahoo or Twitter.
    Mother nature has thrown up an extreme atmospheric condition and we should all act with more mindfulness, solidarity and empathy.
    In other societies such which have greater social cohesiveness this sort of behaviour would be considered shameful. i.e.Japan and Cuba.

    Richard Titelius Perth WA

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Tea:

    13 Jun 2011 12:10:26pm

    Tol to go home and call bookings.... Been on hold for 3 hours still waiting

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Jenny:

    13 Jun 2011 12:17:02pm

    My husband is in Melbourne with a school group expecting to fly back tonight. I am happy with Qantas' conservative approach. Not worth any risk for loved ones.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • mother nature lover:

    13 Jun 2011 12:21:54pm

    Airlines do not assess these kind of atmospheric situations lightly. Safety is paramount in all decisions whether delays are incurred or not. In fact, airlines make a huge loss for every flight delay and do not reap any benefit from these disruptions. We need to be patient folks.
    As a matter of interest, Qantas have recommenced flights from BNE to Melbourne as of 1pm today.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • John of WA:

    13 Jun 2011 12:40:04pm

    Gave up trying to get to Canberra today. Not such a bad thing....

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Guru News :

    13 Jun 2011 12:45:05pm

    The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin has been showing it is safe to fly into Melbourne for some time from the north below 20 000ft and is expected to stay that way for some time. Advisory 4 was also showing similar conditions.
    I agree with no night ops but some B747 loads in addition to the B767 and LeBus on SYD-MEL would clear a lot of the backload . Looks like DJ got it right.

    link to the chart

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Travelling with a young one:

    13 Jun 2011 12:55:51pm

    i know how frustrating it is having a flight cancelled - I'm travelling to Melbourne with my young one and have been cancelled too and experienced the long phone delays and all. But come on, lets remember those 3,500 or so in Chille who have had to flee thier homes and don't know if they even have a home to eventually get back too!
    Let's all just take a breath and think about how much worse it could actually be and be grateful for what we do have here in Australia.
    And well said Kerry Lamb, a little courtesy goes a mile, even to the staff on the other end of the phones just doing thier jobs!

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Fly me a river:

    13 Jun 2011 1:02:59pm

    Ok first - some people here sound like whinging Brits.

    Second - we were all warned well in advance this was coming. Alternate plans should have been put in place by you - the customer - in case there were groundings. But its easier to blame the providers isn't it?

    Gives me great faith that people in the modern age have the ability to plan flexible solutions when presented with a problem.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • elmi:

    13 Jun 2011 1:50:15pm

    can't rebook my flight with qantas coz no1 is answering their customer service no.
    I was put on hold 4 more than 2 hours then cut off. surely if virgin blue can fly out of Melbourne qantas can too. does any know how to rebook online coz I couldn't do that, your help is appreciated.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Lachlan:

    13 Jun 2011 1:58:50pm

    Yeah, I'm in a similar boat. My Qantas flight was supposed to arrive in Melbourne from Sydney at 6.30 last night. It was by chance that i didn't make the trek out to Sydney airport as i stumbled across a news report about the volcano on one of the news websites.

    No text from Qantas. Actually, no notification at all. I had to ring them up yesterday afternoon to confirm that, yes, indeed my flight was cancelled. The best the operator could offer was for me to ring back again this morning to see if i could re-book. However, i spent 3 hours on hold this morning when i rang at 5.30 and never got through.

    Now that flights have recommenced, i've got no idea how to get on a flight. The website won't allow me to plug my initial booking reference in and re-book, so i presume that i have to do it over the phone or (better yet) present at the airport. However, each time i phone up i get disconnected. And I'm keen to avoid an unnecessary trip to the airport if i can help it - i can only imagine it's bedlam down there.

    So i'm stuck. And I'm sure I'm not the only one. No contact from Qantas and very limited assistance from their website or phone services. I'm lucky though, if i have to i can spend the night at a relative's place - and I'm sure not everyone has that luxury.

    I know it's hard clearing such a backlog. But I would just like some statement to be made by Qantas informing us just how to start the process of getting home. You'd think the website would be a perfect delivery vehicle for such a statement. So where is it?

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

  • Murra5:

    13 Jun 2011 2:13:05pm

    From a 'whingeing Brit' - I don't think you need us on here as you're doing a great job already. How insulting and rude - not a great advertisement for a welcome to Australia isn't it? As already mentioned on here, this forum is rife with puerile attitudes about what is essentially an act of nature that could endanger the lives of thousands if airlines were to allow flights into what is an unknown situation.

    Agree (0) Alert moderator

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