Q&A: How will the Qantas dispute affect you?
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Saturday 29 October 2011
Early this morning, British time, Qantas said all its flights will stop from 9am GMT on Monday. Over the past few weeks it has grounded a number of aircraft in a long-running labour dispute, and by this weekend the chief executive, Alan Joyce, said he would ground the airline.
What effect will it have?
Each day 100,000 passengers fly on Qantas – about 5,000 to and from London. As from Monday those flights will not operate, and as a result passengers are already desperately rebooking on other airlines.
What should I do if I’m booked with Qantas?
The airline has no responsibility to you beyond refunding your fare. Indeed, if you are abroad they have no obligation to you in terms of the duty of care.
If you have booked with an agent, they should already be working to rebook you. But seats are scarce on other airlines.
Note that if you are booked with BA to Asia or Australia, it is possible that your flight may be operated by Qantas – and therefore be threatened by the strike. Check to see if your flight is affected.
Is there any hope that the plan will be cancelled?
Yes. The last time this move was tried – by British Airways – the union backed down and flights operated normally. That is what Qantas is hoping. But the unions have been steadfast in their opposition to cost-cutting, so do not rely upon it.
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