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QANTAS: Dumped baggage in Darwin causes Perth stopover re-launch

QANTAS: Dumped baggage in Darwin causes Perth stopover re-launch

Qantas has been drifting on a high of publicity over its A350 Project Sunrise aircraft order and its proposed new First Class. In the background have been mass complaints from its London bound passengers for the dumping of their luggage in Darwin, with no notice, due to repair works which shorten the Airport runway, and therefore the maximum take-off load for this super long-haul fuel loaded flight.

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Economy luggage dumped

If you have been travelling on QF1 in the last week or so, then you could have been affected, with your bags being dumped off the premier Dreamliner route. Passengers have complained that their luggage has been arriving up to 3 days later, with the airline being completely unresponsive to enquiries. Customers have been outraged at the lack of service provided by Qantas at the London end for this delayed luggage. ‘My children had to go without shoes’ seems to be the exemplar complaint in the SMH.

Runway repairs

All this is because the runway at Darwin Airport has been having some pavement issues. Qantas has been saying that the issues are resolved while the Airport says the maintenance works are ongoing, with more wet season related repairs expected over the next few weeks. The repairs have meant that the airport’s runway, usually available 24 hours a day for its full 3384 length required by large aircraft like the Dreamliner, has not always been available.

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Darwin Catalina lounge temporarily used by Qantas

Darwin stopover cancelled – Perth stopover resumes 23 May 2022

Originally suspended due to Western Australia’s strict COVID border conditions, now relaxed, means Qantas can return the high demand route to its original Perth stopover as of 23 May. According to ET, Qantas had to provide guarantees about using Darwin as a transit point to win the support and cooperation of the Northern Territory government, which may explain their tardiness in resuming ‘via Perth’ in the light of the runway repairs.

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Qantas Dreamliner B787

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Given the disaster of the luggage dump in Darwin, many passengers, paying the premium for these ‘direct flights’ will be glad to see the Northern Territory gateway dropped. I’ve had luggage lost by an Airline (BA of course!) a day before attending a wedding in London, so I completely understand the stress last minute occasion shopping can cause. My only saving grace was that it was sale season at Harrods and Harvey Nichols! That and my AMEX card travel insurance saved the day. I did finally get the luggage back in Australia, about 2 months later.

Qantas has been in the news a bit lately, and not always in a good way. Their customer reputation has been dented by this and their loss in the Federal Court recently over the wrongful sacking of baggage staff during the pandemic.

Qantas usually handles its reputation expertly. It will need to do some work to remove the tarnish from its usual shine.

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