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Qantas pax stranded in Dubai over Christmas – again!

January 2, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It’s happened again! For the second consecutive year, Qantas passengers travelling between London and Australia have been stranded in Dubai airport and their Christmas plans thrown into chaos.

“Christmas ‘ruined’ for 400 Qantas passengers stranded in Dubai” was the headline on Yahoo7 News last week.

“No luggage, no communication and no apologies…thanks @Qantas you really know how to look after your customers #QF1 Four days without a suitcase and counting….” posted Twitter user @DowneFoundation on 28 December.

This year, more than 400 Australians were stranded in Dubai airport for more than 10 hours after flights from Sydney to London were diverted, and later cancelled.

Qantas initially blamed “heavy fog” for the flight diversion to Al Ain International Airport, 150km south of Dubai airport. But passengers couldn’t understand how they were left for “over 10 hours sitting on the plane in the middle of nowhere”.

“And now so many will miss Christmas! How does this happen?” tweeted a passenger identified as Benjamin.

“I’m in shock and really appalled.”

Qantas said a mechanical issue had been detected while the plane waited on the tarmac “which resulted in further delays as an engineer and spare parts were brought in from Dubai.

“Customers travelling on QF1, QF2, QF9 or QF10 may experience delays to their journey. Qantas, like all airlines, has been impacted by the heavy fog surrounding Dubai. We understand that delays are frustrating, particularly at this time of year and we are doing everything we can to ensure customers are able to continue on their way as soon as possible.”

It’s not the first time. A year before, a major Christmas Eve flight delay in Dubai (23 and 24  December 2016) stranded passengers in Dubai for 24 hours. The noted Sydney-based travel and leisure industries lawyer Anthony Cordato wrote that “the customer service was appalling” – and provided a vivid eyewitness account. See: Flight Delays In Dubai – Qantas Needs To Lift Its Game!

Not long after that, Qantas was in the news again, when hundreds of its passengers were stranded in Dubai on the New Year’s Eve which ushered in 2017, after mechanical problems affecting the A380 operating flight QF2 delayed their onward flight to Sydney. On that occasion, customers took to social media to express their frustration. News that Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was among hundreds hit by the delay – but had made it back to Australia in time to see in the New Year – did not help. See: Qantas pax stranded in Dubai – but Joyce gets home

It’s not confined to the Christmas holiday season, either. In July last year (2017) this happened: Mechanicals delay hundreds of Qantas pax in Dubai

The new Qantas B787-9 Dreamliner non-stop service between Perth and London Heathrow, set to begin in March, will skip Dubai, as will other non-stop Qantas services between Australia and Europe. The non-stops may make for more reliable Christmas links.

Written by Peter Needham

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