Downgrades of Qantas tickets at last minute

4 replies


Member since 27 Jan 2016

Total posts 9

Read an article on Qantas downgrading booked and confirmed tickets whereby passengers booked in business and first class were downgraded to economy. The article presented examples of both types of tickets i.e booked using points and fully paid.

Is this a common occurrence? What would you do if it happens to you?

Link to article -

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Oct 2011

Total posts 253

Happened to me a couple of years ago. Business award ticket. They tried to downgrade me to Y because the aircraft was overbooked. I was one of the first to check-in, so it was unknown if there would be any no-shows. They did tell me that I was the only passenger in J who was on an Award ticket, that was why I had been "selected" for the downgrade. (It was SYD-HNL, where award tickets in J can be very rare.) The staff said the "selection" was solely on the basis of my ticket being an award ticket, therefore I was the only non-revenue pax in J. It appeared that I was also the only solo traveller in J that day (again, for HNL on the weekend, this is not unusual) so if they were overbooked by one passenger, I was the obvious one to hit - the simplest solution to their problem. They made no effort to seek volunteers from amongst the other J pax, which, in my view, should have been the first thing done. Anyway, I refused to accept it, stood my ground and was put back on. Mind you, to do that, they had to offload 2 other J pax travelling together; so in the end, the aircraft went out with one empty J seat.

So it does happen, primarily because Qantas, like all/most airlines, overbooks. This generally works because of late cancellations, missed connections and no-shows; but sometimes, everyone who has a booking does actually turn up - so they do need to have some procedure for dealing with these situations.

Lifetime Bronze

Olympic Air - Travelair

Member since 16 Oct 2017

Total posts 8

Have had this happen to me recently on a trip to Broome. Booked and confirmed to fly in Business from SYD-PER-BME.

The PER-BME portion was originally scheduled as a B738, though the whole schedule (not just my day) was changed to a B717 without a J cabin.

The worst part was that this change wasn’t communicated at all; no email, no phone call, nothing. I only noticed when looking at my booking and the seat had changed. Naturally, I called up to see what my options were. Despite during peak times having a direct SYD-BME I was told there was not a seat available for me (though I could have booked a whole new ticket on that flight) and that there weren’t any other flight change options.

Long story short, in the end after a bit of bickering from both ends of the phone, I was offered some points and a lounge access card (despite already having status) to remain J SYD-PER then Y PER-BME. Fairly meh way it was handled, though at least got something back I suppose. Lucky I checked before I got to the airport!!



Member since 19 Apr 2012

Total posts 683

I have got messages to call when a non business class 717 is used and we sort it out, usually with a points credit it it was an award seat. I presume with a voucher if there is a drop in price.


Member since 27 Jan 2016

Total posts 9

Did you get downgrade before or after getting boarding pass issued? The article mentioned that some people were told about it at the gate. How can you argue at that time? Especially on 2nd leg.

Last editedby aparasher at Dec 08, 2018, 11:06 AM.

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