Qantas, Australias National Airline will ground their entire fleet of planes with immediate effect. This was the breaking news at 5pm Saturday 29th of October.
139 planes make up the fleet of both Domestic and International flights of which 108 are grounded.
As the drama of this lockdown unfolded, stories from the 68,000 stranded passengers filtered through the media. Everyone with a different purpose for travel but all with a real sense of urgency, a funeral to attend, an ill relative to visit, a wedding to attend, a conference to attend and so on and so on, many anxious over the connecting flights they will miss.
Just when the scheduled flights will resume is their question but alas, there is no answer.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas could have timed it better to make such an announcement being a Saturday and closing hour for Travel Agents, most of whom would not be open for business until the Monday morning. Then, of course, week-ends are the popular days for travel internally in particular.
Booking directly with an airline is popular according to my daughter who manages her own Travel Agency. Online bookings, she points out, can have detrimental effects as this decision by the Qantas CEO revealed with stranded passengers not being able to contact a travel agent for support.
Ask yourself “are the frustrations worth the financial savings?”
Benefits of Booking with a Travel Agent
Sarena, my daughter was in contact with all her clients as soon as the news broke to both inform and reschedule their airline bookings.
In one case a couple with Qantas bookings Sydney/Perth would have missed the departure date for their cruise from Fremantle had Sarena not acted IMMEDIATLEY. With their travel agent working into the night rescheduling the flights and transfers I dare say they know the value of dealing with an accredited personal travel agent.
Sarenas favorite saying is “if you can’t afford Travel Insurance you can’t afford to travel”.
No doubt this present dilemma has emphasized this importance.