With 68,000 passengers stranded around the world, the reasoning behind Qantas’ decision to ground all flights with immediate effect on Saturday night is puzzling. However, for those booked to travel with the airline, it’s all about getting to where you need to be.
Who is affected?
One hundred and eight Qantas aircraft were grounded, with safety concerns being quoted as the reason behind the momentous decision. Affecting some 447 flights, the daily cost to Qantas is expected to be $20 million.
What about those passengers waiting to fly?
If you have travel planned in the next 24 hours, you should call Qantas on 13 13 13, but be prepared for a long wait. Regular updates are being broadcast via Twitter and you can follow these at ‘@Qantasairways. The latest information and updated flights details will be posted on Qantas.com.au when it becomes available.
Will passengers be compensated?
Stranded domestic passengers will be granted compensation up to $350 per day. They will be able to spend $250 on accommodation and $100 on meals. Tickets can be refunded or changed to different travel dates.
Are there any alternatives?
Virgin Australia has put on 3,000 extra seats within Australia, between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Karratha and Perth. This is on top of the 40,000 extra seats over the next three months it had introduced in the wake of the frequent industrial action. Virgin Australia is offering ‘stranded’ fares to those affected by the Qantas action, at 20 per cent off its Saver fare where available. Jetstar and Jetconnect continue to fly as normal.
What is behind the grounding of Qantas aircraft?
Ongoing threads of industrial action by union staff was to be followed by the lock-out of all staff by Qantas management. Fair Work Australia, called in by the Federal Government to rule on the chaotic situation, has decreed that the grounding of planes must cease, no further union strikes be called and the planned lock-out of staff be cancelled.
When will flights resume?
Qantas has resumed scheduled flights from mid-morning yesterday, 31 October. Again, if you have a flight planned with Qantas, it’s best to check how it may be affected by the weekend’s cessation of services.
What happens next?
It’s good news for passengers, with Fair Work Australia terminating any action by the parties involved. Qantas and the unions involved have 21 days to reach agreement or Fair Work Australia will intervene again, this time with arbitration, something neither party possibly wants.
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