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ACCC sues Qantas for selling tickets to cancelled flights

Qantas will face court on accusations that for 70 per cent of its cancelled flights, it either continued to sell tickets or failed to inform existing ticketholders the flight was no longer available.

user iconNaomi Neilson 01 September 2023 Big Law
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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched action in the Federal Court of Australia against Qantas, alleging it “engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct” over a “substantial portion of flights” between May and July 2022.

For more than 8,000 flights, it was alleged Qantas kept selling tickets on its website for an average of two weeks – and in some cases for up to 47 days – following the cancellation of a flight.


In one example, Qantas sold 21 tickets for a Sydney to San Francisco flight scheduled to depart on 28 July 2023 after it had cancelled the flight, with the last sold 40 days after the cancellation.

It was also alleged that for more than 10,000 flights, Qantas failed to notify ticketholders their flights had been cancelled for an average of 18 days, and in some cases for up to 48 days.

ACCC chair, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, said following a detailed investigation, the commission had determined Qantas’ conduct “likely affected the travel plans of tens of thousands of people”.

“We allege Qantas’ conduct in continuing to sell tickets to cancelled flights, and not updating ticketholders about cancelled flights, left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices to fly at a particular time knowing that the flight had been cancelled,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

Ms Cass-Gottlieb added there are “vast differences” between Australia’s major cities and “reliable air travel is essential for many consumers in Australia”.

“Cancelled flights can result in significant financial, logistical and emotional impacts for consumers,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

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