Qantas Will Pay $66 Million For Ghosting Over 86,000 Passengers With Non-Existent Flights

Photo: Kelly Defina (Getty Images)
Photo: Kelly Defina (Getty Images)

Qantas agreed to pay $79 million to settle a lawsuit with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over a ghost flights debacle. Australia’s flag carrier allowed over 86,000 customers to purchase tickets for flights that had already been canceled for at least two days. The airline’s penalty is the second-largest in Australian history, only behind the $81 million fine Volkswagen Group paid in 2019 over Dieselgate.

Qantas will devote roughly $13.2 million of the settlement to a remediation program for impacted passengers, the BBC reports. international customers will receive $298, and domestic customers are slated to get $149. The compensation is on top of the ticket refund or alternate flight passengers would have received when they discovered their flight was canceled. In a statement, Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson said:

“When flying resumed after the COVID shutdown, we recognize Qantas let down customers and fell short of our own standards. We know many of our customers were affected by our failure to provide cancellation notifications in a timely manner and we are sincerely sorry. The return to traveling was already stressful for many and we did not deliver enough support for customers and did not have the technology and systems in place to support our people.”


Hudson became the storied airline’s first female CEO in May 2023 amidst a campaign to rebuild its reputation. Along with the ghost flights, the High Court of Australia ruled in September 2023 that Qantas illegally fired 1,700 ground staff across ten airports in 2020.

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