<p>A Qantas Boeing 787</p>

A Qantas Boeing 787

‘My child had no shoes to put on his feet’: Anger as Qantas offloads bags before Australia-London flight

Airline claims works on Darwin Airport’s runway are to blame for aircraft weight issues

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 03 May 2022 11:05
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Enraged Qantas passengers have gone days without luggage on trips to the UK from Australia, after the airline offloaded some economy bags before taking off from Darwin.

Customers claim they weren’t told until the flight had almost landed in London, with some saying they have gone four or five days without their belongings.

The airline says that essential works to Darwin Airport’s runway last week are to blame for additional aircraft weight restrictions, which they claim forced staff to unload some economy passengers’ bags without warning.

This morning, customer Sam Thanos tweeted that his party had gone four days without bags after touching down in London.

“Day four of our trip to the UK and still no luggage. Over six hours on hold to four different Qantas numbers and every time told they can’t help. Redirected also from baggage number to reservations and told to call back on the baggage number (two hours wasted). Why is help hard to get?”

Yesterday Gemma Haigh tweeted; “Still no reply from @Qantas about our baggage issues. We waited for over one hour to get to the front of the queue after arriving at Heathrow, having travelled for two days from Cairns. Will you be compensating your customers for wasting their time? When will we get our bags?”

On Saturday, Patrick McCosker tweeted, “Day five of lost baggage from Darwin to London. No contact yet,” adding the hashtag, “#FreeMyTimTams” in a reference to Australia’s beloved cult chocolate snacks.

Passenger Paul Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald that he had flown from Darwin to London on Thursday and was furious at having his family’s bags removed and only being informed 15 minutes before landing at Heathrow.

“My child had no shoes to put on his feet,” he told reporters.

“We were talking to one woman who was going to a wedding and she had none of her clothes and there was literally nobody there to offer any support and this was a known problem – that makes it all the worse.”

“If you’re paying £4,100 to travel with [Qantas], you should be able to have someone on the ground at the airport who can communicate with you.”

“I have not had an email or phone call from Qantas about this in three days,” he added.

A Qantas spokesperson told the Herald that it had been a temporary issue at Darwin Airport that tightened weight restrictions on certain Qantas flights during recent days.

“An issue with the runway pavement at Darwin Airport resulted in temporary additional weight restrictions on our flights to London last week and unfortunately that meant we weren’t able to carry some passengers’ bags on their flight,” they said.

“Bags were re-accommodated on later flights and are couriered directly to customers as soon as we’re able to confirm the correct address.

“We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused our passengers and thank them for their understanding.”

They added that they had been informed that the issue with Darwin’s runway had now been fixed.

However, a Darwin Airport spokesperson told the Herald that repairs were ongoing.

“It’s been in the last week that this was discovered,” said the spokesperson.

“We’ve had to undertake runway repairs, that’s impacted the length of the runway, which affects the larger aircraft because they need a longer runway to take off.

“This particular repair has been completed but there will be ongoing repairs required to the runway, so we’ll obviously be keeping that impact to an absolute minimum where we can.”

The Independent has approached Qantas for further comment.

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