Qantas to pay $120m for flight cancellations

Passengers who booked a so-called ‘ghost flight’ will receive payments ranging from $225 to $450.

By David Flynn, May 6 2024
Qantas to pay $120m for flight cancellations

Qantas will pay a total of $120m over the sale of tickets on tens of thousands of already-cancelled flights – the so-called ‘ghost flights’ fiasco – across 2022.

$20m has been set aside for would-be travellers who made bookings two or more days after the airline cancellation decided to cancel the flight; Qantas estimates this will see around 86,000 customers receive payments ranging from $225 to $450.

An additional $100m will be paid as a ‘civil penalty’ under an agreement struck with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, subject to the approval of the Federal Court of Australia.

Eager to close this chapter in the airline’s recent history, Qantas Group CEO Vanessa Hudson said “today represents another important step forward as we work towards restoring confidence in the national carrier.”

“When flying resumed after the COVID shutdown, we recognise Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards. We know many of our customers were affected by our failure to provide cancellation notifications in a timely manner and we are sincerely sorry.”

“We have since updated our processes and are investing in new technology across the Qantas Group to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Hudson added the airline was “focused on making the remediation process as quick and seamless as possible for customers.”

Passengers booked on domestic ‘ghost flights’ will receive $225, with international bookings eligible for $450.

Those payments will be available through a dedicated online portal facilitated and independently audited by professional services firm Deloitte.

Qantas will notify impacted customers via email from next month with details about how they can lodge a claim, although in the meantime, further information can be found at

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2021

Total posts 3

I maintain that it was deliberate and calculated on behalf of Qantas management. They needed the cash flow immediately to help the books and figured that any penalties in the future would be when they have the cash flow back to pre pandemic levels.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 382

Couldn't agree more.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 711

If the 'goose' at Qantas who said tickets weren't tickets but merely a bundle of rights still has his job, then your viewpoint has added merit.  Not sure if that outburst, said robustly as I recall, helped Qantas or did him any favours, can't think of a bigger PR disaster on a purely commercial front.  

Kudos to Ms Hudson for 'reading the room' and standing up.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 55

I agree with the previous. The penalty seems to have been accepted without any fight which is an indication that Qantas have allowed for this or a higher penalty. What is really disappointing for the travelling public is the civil penalty of $100m and for the ones that have suffered only $20m. Many will agree that this is disproportionate and the compensation for the affected travellers will not cover losses associated with flight rebooking and other out of pocket costs.

Qantas (and Virgin) maintains a very cosy relationship with government officials and aviation industry regulators. I am not saying that there is anything untoward, just not a good look.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 711

Agreed.  Beyond weird that ACCC's coffers swell by $100million and QFF get a relative pittance (token?) of $20 million.  All things being fair and equitable (cough cough), those sums should have been the other way around (with ACCC getting $20 million to cover their legal costs).

10 May 2020

Total posts 6

Good news for those who booked flight on the "ghost flight" but no doubt QF will just implement further excessive fare increases to make up the losses.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 967

I agree with Everyone who says "deliberate" and they are happy to pay the fine. 2 other points what about the travel credit I tried to claim and it's still sitting there as a credit after I asked for it to be refunded? and if a competitor puts there price up or takes away a benefit then suddenly the other competitor does the same thing but they don't actually talk to each other what do you call that?  The days of AJ and JB are gone, it's like their all smoking the same weed "profit".

11 May 2020

Total posts 14

This result is absolutely pathetic. Qantas laughing all the way to the bank. Surely this has to be a catalyst for any government with half a spine to introduce a fit for purpose compensation scheme for fraudulent behaviour by Australian airlines, such as in Europe.

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