This report about Jetstar concerns passengers being treated like sh*t by the carrier, and some very unprofessional and threatening attitudes by staff, with one exception.
It also requires someone very senior in the airline to put themselves in the passenger’s position, and seriously reflect on the issues raised. And it also details the total failure of the carrier to adhere to the terms of its voluntary code of conduct.
The passenger has provided his PNR identifier and other details and agreed to them being provided to the carrier.
His report relates to a flight to Japan early this year:
Before the flight: I received a text message a number of hours before my flight was scheduled to leave indicating that I was required to call Jetstar, at my own expense, because my connecting flight was cancelled. They subsequently booked me on to a different flight.
The flight: The flight engineers, according to the Captain, had not put pins into the landing gear causing it to scrape during takeoff. This negligence/accident by the Jetstar engineers led the Captain to order the plane back to Sydney. (NB the ground staff appear to have disagreed with the captain, though I will take the Captain’s word as correct).
When the plane returned we were told we would take off ‘soon’ as it was ‘nothing serious’ and there was ‘nothing at all dangerous’ about landing. We waited an hour, at this point an announcement was made that the flight was cancelled, because the flight was ‘completely unserviceable’. This can happen, I am told, when you forget to screw the wheels properly into the plane. There would be no more announcements given in public for the remainder of our trip with Jetstar.
It took most customers about half an hour to realise they were supposed to go downstairs (as there were no announcements), and few knew how to get there as it was also not announced. Then we needed to go on a treasure hunt for our bags (which was harder than you may think as not all were put on the allotted carousel).
Then we waited one and a half hours without instruction. I asked if I could get some water, I was refused. I was then told (by one of the ground staff) that everyone would be able to board the plane tomorrow to Osaka in the morning, thus I made arrangements to do some activities in Sydney.
Then, some people were told to go to another area, I followed assuming an announcement was made to a select few. Then most people sat in the area designated. After 2 hours I asked them if they could please take us to the Mercure hotel, as the ground staff had promised, before my flight in the morning to Osaka. They had promised us a shuttle. The request was denied. An hour after this (coming up to 1pm, from our 8am flight) I was told I was to be on the 7:30pm flight to Cairns and then I would be told my onward flight details to Osaka later.
I was actually booked on the 1:15pm flight, and I was refused entry on to the 7:30 flight. I had to go back upstairs and get new tickets. At this point I was told that my flight would not land in Osaka, but in Tokyo and my transport there would be by bus (on a good day about 6-8 hours), leaving us to arrive up to 4am. I protested and was told that there was no exceptions. I called Jetstar at my own expense from my mobile, twice, as Jetstar would not allow me to use their service desk phone. After over an hour on the phone with very a very abrasive consultant and team leader, I found a white knight ground-staff lady called Cristina (my greatest complements to her), she assured me I could get the bullet train and put it in writing.
I then told her I was thirsty and hungry, she gave me $10 for the day (8:30am to 7:30pm) and when I asked for a little more she said there was nothing that could be done. I later found out other people got twice as much or more and were given lounge access.
The next flight: The next flight was an hour late, getting us to the hotel at past midnight (Sydney time) – after waking up at 6am to be at the airport two-hours-before my new international flight.
The welcome at Cairns: (in Sydney) I needed to walk to Terminal 1 as the Qantas ground staff in T3 refused to call Jetstar, and told me to walk or pay for a train to see the Jetstar staff. I was worried ground-staff would not be there at eleven pm for our flight. We were told they would be there as soon as we walked off the plane. They were not.
To be fair the lady who eventually came was very nice and listened to us carefully. Though we were given no meal on arrival (as promised) and no water at all, despite me asking again. There was also no water in the minibar. Furthermore the air-conditioning was broken and I only had warm pyjamas for Tokyo weather, so it was not an entirely comfortable stay.
After flight: I was promised a callback from customer service, or a voice message within 2 days from my call. I have received none three months later. I also sent Jetstar a fax as requested by Christina, with my expenses. Two months later, no reply. I did receive a random phone call from a Jetstar representative who had not read my fax, who offered me a $200 voucher and said ‘if you don’t accept right now, you will get nothing and you will need to wait months for a reply’. I don’t appreciate being threatened. Even if it is true. Later (still waiting for a reply from my fax), I also sent Jetstar a letter, which they said they would reply to in 10 days. Three weeks later, no reply. I then sent a letter a week ago asking why they had not replied in the promised 10 days. No reply.
Request: As this cancellation was entirely Jetstar’s fault due to their extreme negligence in not properly affixing the wheels to the plane (oh and everything else they did after), I requested of them reimbursement for my travel expenses from Tokyo to Okasa (where my plane should have landed), my flight and the cost of the legal education class I was going to attend the day I was supposed to arrive. I did not request the costs for my phone calls, time, extra food at the airport, cost of my first night’s accommodation in Japan (prebooked, because Jetstar gave me a hotel that night to replace it).
E-mail from Alan Joyce: I found it somewhat amusing that Alan Joyce sent an email to all frequent flyers stating “you may have been affected directly or indirectly by the disruptions, or seen the media coverage and speculation about Qantas safety and maintenance standards… I also want to give you my personal assurance that you can continue to fly Qantas with confidence. Despite some sensational coverage recently, safety was never an issue”.
Planes clearly don’t need wheels affixed anymore. Oh and here is the kicker “We hate disappointing our customers and we do all we can to rectify matters when things go wrong.”