Qantas Airlines to Pay $66M For Selling Pre-Cancelled Flight Tickets

Qantas, the largest airline in Australia, has settled a lawsuit that accused it of reselling several thousand tickets for trips it had previously canceled by agreeing to pay a penalty of $100 million.

The company would also initiate a program to pay impacted passengers up to $20 million as part of the agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson hailed the action as significant in regaining public trust in the national airline.

Qantas was allegedly involved in selling seats for trips that had been canceled for weeks in the so-called “ghost flight” investigation that the ACCC initiated in August. Next, the Australian Federal Court must approve the Qantas and ACCC penalty deal.

Customers who purchased flights that were already two or more days delayed will be eligible for reimbursement under the proposal. As far as the airline is concerned, local flights would repay customers $225, while international tickets will earn them $450.

Qantas admitted that it could have notified consumers sooner about the flight cancellations.  Some customers were not notified for as long as 48 days. The airline claimed there would have been too much confusion and calls from consumers if they had been informed immediately.

Customers on national or trans-Tasman itineraries accounted for 94% of those impacted, while those on international routes made up the remaining 6%. The penalty and remedial program’s financial impact would be recorded as an expenditure in the current financial year’s statutory revenue statement.

Thanks to the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement (TTTA), citizens of Australia and New Zealand can freely travel to the other’s territories.

Hudson said that the business has upgraded its technology and rethought its procedures to prevent the issue from recurring.

When Ms. Hudson took over as CEO of Qantas, the airline was embroiled in a series of controversies and lawsuits.  Her predecessor, Alan Joyce, guided the organization through the pandemic, record fuel costs, and the 2008 financial crisis. Public outcry against Qantas, including its treatment of employees, high prices, and frequent flight cancellations and delays, was building when Joyce resigned in 2023.