When Emma Bradley landed in Perth to visit her parents from her home in Wales, Qantas staff called her and told her her bag had been left in Singapore.
You won’t see her again for three months.
Bradley spent about $1,300 to replace her clothes and other items after the June 3 trip, but said Qantas offered her only $120 in compensation.
Bradley said she spent her vacation trying to get her lost bag back.
“He never came,” she said. “The month I spent at home was calling Qantas every week, and they’d say ‘I called the wrong department,’ and I say ‘This is the number they asked me to call’.”
Bradley went back to Perth airport several times to see if she could talk to someone in person, but no one could tell her where her bag was.
On August 24, two months after returning to Wales, she received a call from Qantas stating that the bag would be delivered to her parents’ home the next day.
“I was like ‘No, I’m in Cardiff,'” she said. “I got it in 24 hours.”
Bradley filed a claim for the clothes she had to buy, and after two months of calling the airline she was offered $120. She told them this wasn’t good enough and they closed her claim. To get any compensation, she said, she now had to start the whole process over again.
“It’s very frustrating, I can use that money – gas and electricity are very expensive.”
The national airline has been criticized for baggage loss since it outsourced about 1,700 ground jobs at the start of the pandemic.
Miner Ash Devakaran travels frequently for work within Australia, and said Qantas has lost his bag six times in the past six months.
“You arrive most of the time on the next flight, but that usually means I miss the next day’s work,” Devakaran said.
“It was the worst of me [Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney] The trip, where they lost one of my bags for a week. Apparently he was sitting in Sydney and wasn’t put on the conveyor belt.”
Devakaran said he received $200 in compensation for the week he lost his bag.
Jon Middendorf spent six weeks trying to find a lost bag after flying with Qantas before Virgin finally returned it.
Middendorf, who lives in Hobart, was visiting relatives in the United States. He booked his ticket through Qantas, which shares with American Airlines.
When he returned to Hobart, Qantas told him that his bag, which was carrying a collection of valuable magazines, had been lost on the way.
“For six weeks I tried to contact Qantas,” he said. “They would not admit the file number, recommend calling customer service and preparing a customer care request. It was all counterproductive.”
He said that every time he called he was asked to give all the information back, as no record of his previous calls was kept.
He ended up making three different orders before his bag was found in Dallas by United Airlines, which he did not fly with, and sent home on a Virgin flight.
“Then I get these follow-up messages from Qantas, I try to tell them it was found, and I get an email saying ‘Your customer service email is invalid.’ I can’t even tell them they found the bag.”
A New Zealand woman, who asked not to be named, said she had been waiting for her bag for nearly a month, and despite being called many times, the airline called her only once.
I traveled from Auckland to Abu Dhabi, and traveled via Sydney on August 25. When she landed, the Abu Dhabi baggage service told her that one of her checked bags had not been scanned when she got on the plane.
She said she has been calling the airline every week since then but has only received one email saying it is being investigated.
“It’s very difficult to get a Qantas number,” she said. The minimum call waiting time is 40 to 60 minutes.
“Once you got to the point where the staff couldn’t provide solutions, all they said was ‘it’s a different department, I’ve sent all the details to the baggage team’ or ‘the baggage team will contact you within 15 minutes’ or ‘you have to reach the baggage team through Customer Service Portal.
In a statement, a Qantas spokesperson said lost baggage rates in the first half of September had fallen below pre-Covid levels.
“The baggage mishandling rate at Qantas is now five in 1,000 domestic passengers and six in 1,000 for our international services,” the spokesperson said. “Before Covid it was five out of every 1,000 passengers.”
They said they would apologize to customers who lost their bags, but in some cases these were complex itineraries that involved multiple airlines.
“In one case, baggage was lost with another airline before it connected to a Qantas flight. In the other case, there was a ticket error preventing the baggage from making a connecting flight,” the spokesperson said.
We returned the baggage to Bradley last month, and we continue to work on returning the baggage [the New Zealand woman’s] Luggage.
“We will reach out to both customers to apologize for the inconvenience and to discuss their allegations.”