Qantas is busy hosing down its latest high-profile customer service fiasco after the parents of a 13-month-old baby went public following the airline rebooking the child onto a separate flight. While mistakes happen, it is the battle to fix the problem that Regrettably, it is probably only because the matter became public that the parents are finding any kind of resolution from Qantas.
Rebooking error causing airport confusion
Stephanie and Andrew Braham were due to fly home to Australia after a month-long holiday in Europe with their daughter. They were originally due to fly British Airways on a Qantas-issued ticket from Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport (ROM) to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (ROM) to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport ( BKK). However, sometime after the tickets were issued, Qantas contacted the couple to tell them there was an issue with one of the BA connecting flights and that they would be rebooked onto KLM.
When the Braham’s arrived at the airport in Rome to check in, they discovered their baby daughter wasn’t booked on the same flight as them. Qantas had booked the child on a flight that departed 40 minutes later. Even though the baby girl was booked to fly on her parent’s laps, she couldn’t go on Mum and Dad’s flight out of Rome because the flight was full, preventing KLM from adding her to the manifest.
Qantas initially denies any responsibility
In their first communications with Qantas, the airline denied that they’d done anything wrong. “They said they hadn’t done anything wrong because they did book her a ticket. Initially, they denied any liability. That’s Qantas“Ms Braham told Nine Entertainment’s Today Show on Friday.
“We spent 20 hours 47 minutes and 13 seconds on the phone to Qantas over a 24-hour period, and over 55 separate phone calls, before they finally agreed to book us on new flights home.”
None of this is surprising news to longstanding Qantas passengers. After all those phone calls, the couple finally got lucky and landed a competent Qantas call center operator who could rebook the family onto one flight –albeit one that departed 12 days after that missed KLM flight flight But the Brahams say between accommodation and having to take another two weeks off work, Qantas’ error is costing them AU $ 15,000.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is on the receiving end of criticism over his airline’s continuing customer service failures. Photo: Getty Images
Qantas moves to fix the problem –after it becomes public
What Qantas probably wasn’t counting on was Mum and Dad taking their story public. Qantas was forced into a groveling apology after the couple appeared on Australian breakfast television on Friday, sparking yet more blowback for Qantas. The airline later agreed to reimburse the accommodation costs incurred during the 12-day wait.
Stephanie Braham thinks the error occurred when Qantas switched them from the BA flight to the KLM flight. But her child or not, what enraged the mother was Qantas (or its IT) thinking it was okay for a 13-month child to travel on a separate flight from her parents. The girl was, after all, ticketed as a lap infant, which should have been pretty clear when rebooking.
Qantas has done a lot of sincere apologizing lately for serious customer service issues that, Qantas has done a lot of sincere apologizing lately for serious customer service issues that, for the most part, were easily preventable –but that’s only for the fiascos you hear about.
In the wake of the Braham saga, another Qantas puts a tiny child onto a flight alone is doing the rounds. Details remain relatively vague, but apparently Qantas rebooked a three-year-old boy onto a different flight from his mother. Another backend administrative error? The mother then had to deal with the nightmare Qantas call center to sort the problem.
“Qantas just booked my three-year-old onto a different flight to me (his Mum). Is there any end to their incompetency?” the mother asked online.