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Qantas apologizes to travelers for operational challenges

Qantas is formally apologizing to its millions of customers for recent operational difficulties and thanking them for their patience as the national carrier works to resume its best practices following COVID.

Qantas apologizes to travelers for operational challenges

Qantas is formally apologizing to its millions of customers for recent operational difficulties and thanking them for their patience as the national carrier works to resume its best practices following COVID.

In addition to dealing with high levels of sick leave (caused by the virus, COVID, and isolation restrictions) as well as a labor scarcity across the sector, the airline is implementing a number of efforts to improve mishandled luggage and on-time performance.

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Qantas has hired 1,500 new people since April with more to come, adjusted flight schedules, and invested $15 million in new technology at key airports to help smooth the travel experience. Speaking directly to Frequent Flyers via an email and video message being sent on Monday, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce acknowledged while it was great to see people back on board after so long on the ground, the return to flying hasn’t all gone smoothly.

“As well as saying sorry, we also want to say thank you. We’re investing in a range of initiatives including status extensions for Frequent Flyers Silver and above, thousands of Qantas Points, and lounge passes. All our Frequent Flyers in Australia and New Zealand will be offered $50 towards a return Qantas flight, which equates to many millions in discounts,” added Mr. Joyce.

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Qantas will also extend its commitment of up to 50 percent more Classic Reward seat availability through to 30 June 2023 with the first tranche of additional seats released from 12pm Monday across international and domestic flights. Reward seats are booked using Qantas Points.

Qantas first announced its commitment to increasing Classic Reward seats in October last year. Since then, Frequent Flyers have redeemed more than 80 billion Qantas Points, with one in every 11 passengers carried by Qantas flying a reward seat.

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United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

United Flight Diverts to Shannon, After Stuck Laptop in Business Class Seat

A United Airlines flight from Zurich to Chicago O’Hare was forced to make an emergency diversion to Shannon, Ireland.

On Saturday afternoon after a passenger got their laptop wedged in a Business Class seat aboard the Boeing 767-300. Operating as United Flight 12, the aircraft departed from Flughafen Zürich at 9:46 a.m. local time and took off at 10:08 a.m.

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The captain decided to divert the flight not because the passenger couldn’t access their laptop, but because any device powered by lithium-ion batteries that becomes inaccessible could pose a significant safety risk.

Such devices, if damaged or overheated, could lead to a thermal runaway event, potentially causing a fire on board. The Boeing 767-300, featuring United’s relatively new Polaris business-class cabin, landed safely at Shannon Airport in County Clare at 1:43 p.m. IST (Irish Summer Time) and reached the gate at 1:51 p.m.

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In a statement, United Airlines acknowledged the diversion: “United flight 12 scheduled from Zurich to Chicago landed safely in Shannon to address a potential safety risk caused by a laptop being stuck in an inaccessible location.” This situation led to the cancellation of the flight, and the airline is working to reroute the 157 passengers who found themselves unexpectedly in Ireland.

Frequent flyers are often reminded in airline safety videos not to move their seats if they lose mobile phones or other gadgets powered by lithium-ion batteries within the seats. Attempting to retrieve such items by moving the seat can damage the battery and potentially cause a dangerous situation.

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Air India Flight Collides with Tug Tractor, at Pune Airport

Air India Flight Collides with Tug Tractor, at Pune Airport

An Air India flight bound for Delhi faced an unexpected hurdle during its taxi towards the runway at Pune Airport on Thursday, May 16th.

The aircraft, carrying 180 passengers, encountered a collision with a tug tractor, though fortunately, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew. The incident, while causing significant damage to the aircraft, triggered swift emergency protocols, ensuring the safety of all individuals involved.

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Upon the mishap, passengers were promptly disembarked from the plane, and alternative arrangements were made for their accommodation as they found themselves stranded at the airport. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has initiated an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the collision, according to ANI reports.

Preliminary findings suggest that the tug truck, utilized for maneuvering the aircraft on the ground, inadvertently struck the plane during the taxiing process. Despite the incident, airport operations continued with minimal disruption. However, the affected aircraft was temporarily withdrawn from service for comprehensive inspection and necessary repairs.

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Air India, in response to the situation, assured passengers of full refunds and complimentary rescheduling. The airline’s statement conveyed, “There was an incident related to one of our aircraft, which was to operate Pune to Delhi, at the time of its pushback. The aircraft was held back for checks, all passengers were offloaded safely, and the flight was cancelled.”

Passengers affected by the cancellation were provided with refunds and the option for rescheduling their travel plans without additional charges. The damage to the aircraft, primarily located near the belly where the pushback tug made contact, underscores the need for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the collision.

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After Flight Cancellation, Virgin Atlantic Passengers Told to Arrange Own Hotels

After Flight Cancellation, Virgin Atlantic Passengers Told to Arrange Own Hotels

Ian Field and his partner Jane, both residents of the London area, faced an unexpected and costly ordeal while on a trip to St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

The couple, who had flown out from Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic flight VS221 on May 5, discovered upon arrival that their May 15 return flight was canceled for “operational reasons.” Despite Virgin Atlantic’s explanation, Field suspected the cancellation was due to a lack of passengers, as the airline is set to cease the route after May 19.

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Stranded on the island, Field and Jane were left to fend for themselves for two additional nights. Both Virgin Atlantic and their travel agency, Blue Bay Travel, failed to provide assistance or accommodation, forcing the couple to pay over £400 out of pocket for their hotel stay.

Virgin Atlantic advised those without sufficient funds to seek financial help from family members, which added to the couple’s frustration. “We feel completely abandoned and let down terribly,” Field expressed to The Independent.

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The lack of response from Virgin Atlantic and the unhelpful attitude of the travel agent exacerbated their distress. Although Field and his partner could afford the unexpected expense, he expressed concern for those who might not be in a similar financial position.

In response, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson stated that all affected customers were rebooked on alternative flights and could amend their bookings through the airline’s “rebook me” function if needed. The spokesperson apologized for the delay and inconvenience, assuring that customers would receive EC261 compensation of £520 per person and be reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

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