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Qantas best at staying on time, but wider Australian travel woes persist

Qantas has beaten Virgin Australia for the best on-time performance in November. But it's not all smooth flying.

Qantas has beaten Virgin Australia for the best on-time performance in November. But it's not all smooth flying. Photo: Getty, AAP, TND

Qantas has beaten rivals Virgin Australia in terms of the best on-time performance in November.

But it’s not all smooth flying for the national carrier – passengers who were stranded when one of its planes was forced to make an emergency landing have criticised the handling of the situation.

Qantas has also copped a spray from former senator Rex Patrick, who said the airline had ruined his family’s trip to the United States.

And in further bad news, Qantas-owned subsidiary Jetstar had another shocker of a month after it was revealed to be the worst airline for cancellations.

The numbers

The latest BITRE (Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics) data released by the Department of Transport showed that the national carrier has established a comfortable 10-point lead over Virgin on on-time performance.

Data shows that 71.5 per cent of Qantas and QantasLink flights arrived on time in November.

On-time performance across all major airlines averaged 66.2 per cent for on-time arrivals and 66.25 per cent for on-time departures, significantly lower than the long-term averages for both categories.

This month, the rate of cancellations was 4.4 per cent, which is double the long-term average of 2.1 per cent.

Jetstar had the worst on-time performance in November, with just 61 per cent of its flights departing on time.

The budget airline also recorded the highest percentage of cancellations at 7.2 per cent during the month, followed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 6.0 per cent, Virgin Australia at 4.9 per cent, Qantas at 3.7 per cent, QantasLink at 3.6 per cent and Rex Airlines at 3.1 per cent.

Cancellations were highest on the Melbourne-Sydney route at 11.9 per cent, followed by the Sydney-Melbourne route at 11.6 per cent.

Senator’s misadventure

Former senator Rex Patrick claims Qantas seems determined to ruin his family’s trip to the United States.

Mr Patrick took to Facebook to express his disapproval: “Putting aside lost bags and being seated apart when flying, last night I arrived in Washington DC to find my apartment, booked through Qantas and fully paid for five months ago, not actually booked,” he wrote.

Mr Patrick had booked a two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and laundry facility. Upon arrival, he discovered the apartment was not actually booked.

“I was standing around at 1am in the morning trying to deal with someone who just said we’re really sorry,” Mr Patrick told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“So that was a pretty uncomfortable situation and Qantas really hasn’t done much for me.

“You judge an airline in my view by the way in which they handle things that go wrong and quite simply Qantas hasn’t handled my situation very well.”

Mr Patrick had attached Apple air tags to his luggage and was able to see where his possessions were left.

“I had bags that were left behind in Sydney. Technology nowadays is fantastic. I could actually see when I got on the plane, I was in Brisbane and I could see my bags were still in Sydney,” he said.

Flight QF1 passengers stranded

A passenger whose family was stranded on Christmas Eve after Qantas flight QF1 was forced to make an emergency landing in Azerbaijan has told news.com.au that passengers waited in an airport terminal for 11 hours with “no information”, after being taken off the grounded plane.

“I can understand in this time that Qantas was trying to decide what to do with 356 passengers, but this was the start of what I now can say was a complete lack of communication between the passengers and Qantas.”

Qantas said it was communicating with those affected.

“We’re providing regular updates to customers on the recovery plan,” Qantas said in a statement released on Christmas Eve.

Ms Plamqvist and her family were eventually transported to the Marriott Hotel in Baku, where they spent Christmas Eve.

“My biggest issue with the whole situation was that we only received a few text messages informing us about what was happening – I know I woke a few times during the night checking to see if there was any information which there wasn’t, and being Christmas everyone was wanting to be with their loved ones,” Ms Plamqvist said.

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