Qantas will now guarantee that passengers’ luggage won’t be left behind at Dallas/Fort Worth when its Boeing 747-400ER begins the long flight home to Australia.
Alan Milne, head of the airline’s Integrated Operations Centre, says “We are now in a position to assure passengers that their bags will not be offloaded if additional fuel is required.”
Milne told The Sydney Morning Herald that the offloading of two luggage containers at Dallas late last month was made necessary “because of a late increase in the forecast headwind”.
“The adverse winds are most prevalent during the months of May, June and July” Milne explained. “We believe we will be able to operate non-stop in the vast majority of cases.”
However, while bags are guaranteed to make it on board, the same can’t be said for passengers.
Australian Business Traveller has learned that twice in the past week alone, the non-stop QF7 flight from Sydney to Dallas/Forth Worth has been oversold by Qantas.
Some ticket-holding travellers have been forced to downgrade their travel class from business to economy, while others have been are being bumped off the flight and transferred onto the SYD-LAX service with an onwards connection to DFW.
On Saturday June 11th Qantas oversold four seats, resulting in four passengers being rebooked via the Los Angeles service.
Over-selling the number of seats on a flight is not uncommon, as it allows for a number of ‘no-shows’ on the flight – but as the Dallas/Fort Worth service is a new route Qantas has no ‘history’ on the service by which to accurately predict the no-show ratio.
It also appears that the extensive promotion Qantas has been giving the direct-to-Dallas service appears to have been successful, perhaps too much so.
Qantas’ procedure in the case of an oversold flight is to give priority to its highest-value Qantas Frequent Flyer customers, working from the very top – those who belong to the rarefied Chairman’s Lounge – through to Platinum, Gold and Silver.
The higher you are in the frequent flyer feeding chain, the more likely you’ll remain booked on the flight.
On Saturday June 11th at least one Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold on QF7 was bumped from business class to economy, which in turn would have pushed one low-status or no-status frequent flyer off the flight entirely.
This is a good example of one of the benefits of a high-status frequent flyer level, and until Qantas has done its numbers on QF7 some low-status or no-status travellers to the USA might opt to avoid the flight entirely, especially if they’re booked in economy.