Saturday, October 29, 2011

Qantas' Abrupt Shutdown Leaves Tens of Thousands of Passengers in a Lurch

Australian airline Qantas left tens of thousands of passengers and nearly 20 world leaders in a lurch on Saturday (October 29) after it abruptly grounded its entire fleet due to an bitter dispute with airline unions. Travelers in Australia and at regional hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong were outraged as their travel plans were derailed and they were left without luggage and scrambling to book other flights.

COMMENT: Qantas' senior management precipitous shut down of all flights down indefinitely, may come back to haunt them, particularly considering that Perth is hosting the Commonwealth heads of government meeting there; 17 heads of government could be also find themselves stranded there.

This weekend is also one of Australia's busiest travel weekends, with tens of thousands making their way to the Melbourne Cup horse race on Tuesday (November 1), dubbed "the race that stops the nation."

Qantas executives dropped the ball big-time by not even telling Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's government, who appeared to be blindsided by the cancellation and filed an application to block Qantas and the unions.
Even though Qantas advised its customers saying it would provide for accommodations, meals, and transfers, as well as reimbursement for canceled flights, the voluminous buzz on the Internet suggests than many travelers, even loyal Australians, are so miffed that they may never fly Qantas again.

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