My flight QF566 from Perth to Sydney was cancelled due to engineering problems. After a couple of half started messages over the PA the instructions were to line up at the Customer Service desk if you did not live in Perth. I lined up as I live in Sydney and after waiting a long time was informed that the option was to take a later flight (leaving at 11.30pm) to Melbourne which would mean travelling all night and arriving in Sydney the next morning.
I explained to the attendant that I wished to book another flight the next day as flying all night was not my preference. I did not explain to her that I had just been in Scotland for 2 weeks burying my grandmother and that my feet were still swollen from my flight to Perth as I knew that if I did explain it to her then I would start to cry.
She explained that she could not help me and to go away for 10-20 minutes and then she may be able to help me. She was also very agitated that there was no accommodation available to be offered as there was a golf tournament in Perth that weekend. I explained to her that I was not leaving now I had reached the front of the queue until I had rebooked my flight for the next day as I was worried about the flights filling up now that my flight had been cancelled. She then asked me to step to the side and speak to her supervisor. I then stepped to the side and stood in front of her supervisor who was on the telephone. A gentleman came along and asked what I needed so I explained to him that all I wanted was to rebook my flight for the next day. He then told me that there was no accommodation available and that it was his job to get the accommodation. I commented again that all I wanted was to rebook my flight for the next day. The gentleman then left.
The supervisor who I was still standing in front of continued on the phone for the next 10 minutes. Answered the next phone call and kept talking. She did eventually get off the phone but continued to ignore me standing there and talked to someone behind her and then walked down the passage and talked to someone else and took another phone call. By nearly the hour mark, when I had now been standing in front of where the supervisor had been for half an hour without being spoken to or acknowledged by her, and my feet were starting to hurt as well as being bloated. A new staff member arrived and began serving a new customer.
The new customer also did not want to fly on the flight to Melbourne and so the Qantas attendant began asking him what flight he wanted to fly on. At this point I become agitated and began asking the Qantas attendant why I had been standing there all this time and had not been able to get my flight rebooked and this new gentleman could walk up and have his done in two seconds. The new Qantas attendant asked me to be quiet and that he would serve me once he had finished with this gentleman and that he wasn’t offering him a flight the next day. In the next sentence the Qantas attendant then began booking the gentleman’s flight for the next day.
At this point my agitation did get greater and so I raised my voice and yelled at the Qantas supervisor what did I have to do to get some service here? I did not swear. I did not use threatening language. I raised my voice and asked what did I have to do to get some service. At this point the Qantas attendant threatened that if I did not calm down that I would be escorted from the airport by security. So I went quiet. The Qantas supervisor then in a round about way acknowledged my existence by making an announcement over the PA system asking customers to be patient. She still did not come down to speak to me and after making this announcement disappeared from behind the counter completely.
The Qantas attendant finished serving the gentleman and then rudely served me. He did not explain if there was any method of claiming for out of pocket expenses as I had heard being explained to other customers and did not offer me any vouchers. I then asked about upgrades and he rudely told me that he couldn’t give out upgrades as they would then have to give them to everyone. I had also, since I was standing there so long, heard the first attendant upgrade someone she had been serving. So I have not only lost a day, valuable time and have now had to pay my own out of pocket expenses to take care of the delay in travel.
At the end of the less than 2 minutes it took to rebook my flight I asked for the customer service department details and his (the attendants) name. He refused to give me his name. The original attendant gave me her name and asked if her supervisor had spoken to me. I said that no she hadn’t and that I was very unhappy with what had just happened.
At no point did any staff member apologise for any of the inconvenience caused, treat anyone I saw them serve as an individual that had individual requirements or offer extra assistance like opening up the Qantas lounge for the next 6 hours while people waited for their Melbourne flight. The Qantas staff as a whole were on the defensive the whole time that there was no accommodation to offer and just kept acting defensive about that.
I then left extremely upset and went to make a complaint to Qantas customer service on the number I had been given. As it was now after 5pm in Perth the office in Sydney was closed.
The next day I was able to get through to the Qantas customer service office in Sydney and speak to a lady there. As I was speaking to her she started to explain that they did not have accommodation in Perth. I asked her if she was listening to me as I had not asked for accommodation in Perth. She then said that there was a note on the system saying that I had been abusive to staff. I then explained to the woman that I was glad that they were taping our conversation as they would be able to hear that I was using an agitated voice and that I was neither yelling or using expletives to her. I had called to let them know that I was so upset about how I had been treated and threatened yesterday that I was going to make a complaint to the aviation authorities and anyone else I could think of. She then asked if I was threatening her and I was quite surprised and said that no I wasn’t I was just letting them know that I was very upset and was going to be making these complaints. At this point she threatened me and said that maybe it wasn’t a good idea for me to be flying with Qantas today and that she had to go because she was going to hang up now and ask the Duty Manager to come and speak with me. She then hung up and I continued to go and board the plane not knowing until the plane took off if I was going to be pulled off the plane or not.
I then boarded the plane and cried all through take off with all the stress I had just gone through to get on the flight. The staff on the flight were very helpful and when the plane was re-routed to Melbourne and I became even more emotional and was throwing up they were very helpful again.
I am also concerned that as I was threatened twice by their staff members with some form of extreme action (involving security, refusing my flight) that I may have had civil liberties that have been infringed upon as well of all the undue stress I suffered.