The following letter was sent to QANTAS' customer service via e-mail and details my ordeal with QANTAS.
"To QANTAS' Customer Service Department,
As an American, I first became aware of QANTAS when it was recommended to me by relatives living in Australia. I was told the flying kangaroo, a proud symbol of the Australia spirit, was Australia's most experience and respectable airline with a proud and long history of excellence, service, and reliability. And so when the time came to book a trip to Melbourne in mid September 2008, I was greatly influenced as I disregarded the other airline companies and filtered my options to flights operated solely by QANTAS.
Overall, my QANTAS flight experience went well. Cabin was spacious, VOD was a nice bonus, and the food was delicious. On the flight to Melbourne, the plane encountered a problem which lead to a late flight arrival. The return plane had engine problems that resulted in me missing my connecting flight in Los Angeles. Which resulted with me being stranded in Los Angeles for approximately 6 hours while I awaited the next connecting flight. As a man of reason and logic, I know fair well that an air plane is an extremely complex piece of equipment and despite excruciating attention to details, unforeseeable problems do occasionally occur. With this in mind, I was very forgiving of the delays as I would agree that safety should always be a priority over punctuality.
Unfortunately, the purpose of this letter is not to address the positive aspect of my experience with QANTAS but rather to detail the negative cause in which turned my experience into a frustrating, bitter, and resentful ordeal. An experience which has greatly contradicted the strong and positive recommendation I had received and has negatively alter my views of QANTAS.
While staying in Melbourne, it was necessary for me to extend my stay. Therefore, I contacted QANTAS over the phone to arrange my further stay and pay any applicable change fees. Afterwards, I promptly received an e-mail from my online booking service (Travelocity.com) notifying me of the changes made to my return flight. I confirm this with QANTAS' very own website and indeed the changes were put into effect. Rest assured everything was well, I continued my extended stay.
On the new return date, I promptly showed up at Melbourne International to board my flight home. While attempting to checking in, the customer service representative instructed that I was not allowed to board at that time and was further instructed to see a sales representative before I would be allowed to board. Confused, I inquired as to why but was met with a firm yet rude repetition of the same instructions. I did as instructed and proceeded to talk to a sales clerk. I explained to the sales clerk my situation, explaining that I had already made arrangements and payment over the phone, and could not understand why I was not be allowed to board. My explanation went to deaf ears as he proceeded to do some computer work for a few minutes, before stopping and asking me for payment. Very confused at this point, I repeated that I had already made such payment on the day I made the arrangements. However, the only response I received was that of either pay the fees or don't board the plane. Given no other alternative, I was left with no choice but to hand over payment details. Still optimistic at this point, I gave benefit of the doubt thinking perhaps the representative over the phone did not process my payment and perhaps this was simply proper procedures.
Upon returning to the United States, I checked my billing statement and to my dismay, I had indeed been charged twice over the same change of flight fee; once on the day I made the arrangements over the phone and another on the return day by the rude sales clerk. Angry and upset, and quite frankly I had every right to be, I promptly called QANTAS' North American office in Texas and spoke to a customer service representative in an attempt to rectify the situation. I explained my situation and representative first denied the second charge and then literally said Well, what do you want me to do about it? That completely caught me off guard and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The representative further offered no solution to the problem, and suggested me to dispute the charges with my bank as the sole remedy to my situation. All forgiveness I had prior expressed towards QANTAS was gone at this point. This was the final nail in the coffin and was completely and totally unacceptable. My situation remains unresolved to this day.
I am once again visiting Australia at the time of this writing. Rest assured that this time, I did not, and will not fly QANTAS ever again. In fact, I have done the opposite of what I had done last time. I filtered my options to include all airline companies, leaving out QANTAS. I am not about to go through the same nightmarish ordeal only to be humiliated and treated so insignificantly. The success of QANTAS depends on customers like myself, however customers like myself do not depend on the success of QANTAS. In such a relationship, it would only fall under the law of common sense to better treat the customers in order gain their business. Although the amount is not significant, QANTAS has cheated me out of hard earn money and it is the principle of great injustice that I find most troubling. However, I should note that QANTAS has not only cheated my money, but also cheated itself of valuable customers. As I have family both in Australia and America, there will be plenty of future travels between the two countries by myself and family members. None of these future travels will be with QANTAS."
This was their automated "repsonse":
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We value your feedback.
We strive to provide exceptional customer service and customer feedback helps us identify products and services that need improvement. The details of your experience have been logged in line with our continuous improvement program.
Please note that Customer Care reviews all feedback, and will endeavour to respond to you within the next 30 business days.
If your matter is urgent or involves your current travel plans, please call 13 13 13* and one of our Telephone Sales Consultants should be able to assist you. For contact details outside Australia please visit qantas.com.
If your matter involves a lost or damaged baggage claim or if you require a letter for your travel insurer regarding a baggage issue, you will need to speak directly to Baggage Services in your state. Their contact information is available at qantas.com.
If you wish to provide feedback relating to a Jetstar booking please write to GPO Box 4713, Melbourne VIC 3001, or refer to their website at jetstar.com for their contact information.
Qantas Customer Care"
Its been almost 60 days and still no "human" response. Goes to show this company has no shame in doing wrong and then sweeping it under the rug and deny anything ever happened. As a word of caution to any Americans who wishes to make flight arrangement to or near Australia in the near future, DO NOT FLY QANTAS. The Australia to West Coast USA route has long been monopolized by the greedy, dirty, unsafe practices of QANTAS. The route is being opened up to other competitors and will include United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and V-Australia (Virgin Airlines) by Summer 2009 so choices will not be an issue.