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Qantas Offers Refund After Spelling Error Costs Customer A$1900

Representational photo of Qantas Airline

Customer Chris Bowers faced an unexpected financial blow after accidentally misspelling a name on a flight booking with Qantas Airline. When he contacted customer support to rectify the error, he was advised to cancel and rebook the flight, as reported by the web news portal Stuff. However, the cost of the new booking had surged to more than A$3000, leaving Bowers out of pocket by about A$1900 (NZ$2010). This predicament arose because the itinerary contained a flight operated by Jetstar Japan.

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Bowers had originally booked a A$1400 flight from Sapporo in Japan to Brisbane last November for his nephew Frazer Linscott to accompany his daughter Sasha on the journey. Following negotiations, Qantas has agreed to refund Bowers for the excess amount incurred due to the spelling mistake.

However, a mistake was made in the booking process, with Linscott's name spelt with an "s" instead of a "z".

When Bowers contacted the airline's customer care to correct the error, he was advised that re-booking the flight was the only option. Unfortunately, the cost of the flight had increased to over A$3000 since the original booking.

Bowers then lodged a complaint with Qantas and then with the Airline Customer Advocate, a complaints body set up by Australian airlines. However, this body is often seen as ineffective by consumer advocates, as it lacks the authority to enforce resolutions on behalf of customers.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson had previously pledged to enhance the airline's customer service and review outdated policies, such as charging customers to change their name on a ticket.

Despite this, a Qantas customer care representative informed Bowers that names on bookings could only be corrected for flights operated solely by Qantas. The representative also stated that Qantas would not reimburse the fare difference but offered to provide an insurance letter detailing the changes made and the fare difference paid.

A Qantas spokesperson noted that changes to bookings on other airlines on the same day incurred no fee. It's worth noting that Qantas is a minority shareholder in Jetstar Japan.

Gerard Brody, chairman of the Consumers' Federation of Australia, highlighted a legal gap regarding unfair practices by airlines. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also acknowledged issues within the domestic airline industry, including high prices, poor customer service, and difficulties in resolving disputes.

The Consumers' Federation of Australia advocates for an airline and travel ombudsman to address these complaints more efficiently and affordably for consumers.


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