There Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched proceedings against Qantasat the end of which the Australian airline risks a very heavy fine.
Qantas is accused of selling plane tickets on flights she had already canceled in order to generate more cash flow. According to the ACCC, around 25% of flights on the Qantas network were canceled between May and July 2022, the post-Covid recovery period when the Australian company experienced staff shortages. For more than 8,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022, Qantas continued to sell tickets on its website for more than two weeks on average, and in some cases up to 47 days, after their cancellations. Additionally, for more than 10,000 flights scheduled to depart between May and July 2022, Qantas did not notify existing ticket holders that their flights had been canceled for an average of 18 days, and in some cases up to 48 days after their cancellations.
The regulator cites one example among others: for flight QF73 on July 29, 2022 from Sydney to San Francisco, Qantas sold 21 tickets after canceling the flight, the last ticket having been sold 40 days after the cancellation.
“The ACCC has conducted a detailed investigation into Qantas’ flight cancellation practices. As a result, we commenced these proceedings, alleging that Qantas continued to sell tickets for thousands of canceled flights, likely affecting the travel plans of tens of thousands of people. We allege that Qantas’ conduct in continuing to sell tickets for canceled flights and failing to notify ticket holders of canceled flights left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them to pay higher prices to travel at a certain time without knowing it“, denounced Gina Cass-Gottlieb, president of the ACCC.