Qantas faces a payout of over $1,800 per passenger for travellers stranded in the UK or Europe due to last week’s dramatic shutdown of all Qantas flights.
This will include almost $800 in compensation for the inconvenience caused by the sudden cancellation of flights.
Following enquiries from Australian Business Traveller, a Qantas spokeswoman confirmed that the airline is liable for compensation of €600 (A$788) per passenger under Europe’s ‘air passenger rights’ law.
“Qantas will be providing compensation to those customers who were disrupted out of Europe as required by European Commission legislation” the spokeswoman said.
European Commission regulation EC 261/2004 requires airlines to pay passengers in the event that a flight departing from an airport within the European Union is cancelled.
The amount payable depends on the distance, from €250 for flights of 1,500km or less through to the maximum of €600 for flights greater than 3,500km.
This means that travellers booked on cancelled Qantas flights out of Heathrow and Frankfurt are in line to receive €600, or A$788, from Qantas – and that’s on top of any reimbursement for accommodation, meals and other related expenses, such as travel from the airport to your hotel and back.
(For more details on Qantas' obligations under EC 261/2004, visit qantas.com's Key Conditions of Carriage web page.)
Qantas has already said it will reimburse stranded travellers up to $350 per person per day, which over the three day duration of the shutdown amounts to $1,050 – and potentially more for the passengers who couldn’t get onto the first flights out of Heathrow on Tuesday of this week.
That brings the tally to just over $1,800. However, with The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declaring that Qantas should cover “additional expenses” incurred as a result of the grounding – a position with which Qantas has since agreed – it’s likely that the final compensation payments to those stuck in Europe will exceed $2,000 per passenger.