An angry passenger has let loose on Qantas after the airline kicked her off a flight and charged her $19,000 to get a seat on another plane.
Elizabeth Clark, a small business owner from Sydney, booked a direct flight from Auckland to New York in March.
Mrs. Clark, 38, spent $14,865 on her business class seat to New York.
But on Wednesday, she was shocked to find that her flight — which is only in December — had been canceled.
“My head was spinning, I felt sick,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
A Qantas employee told Ms Clark she had to pay $19,000 to secure her seat on another plane, rather than simply transferring her booking.
The 38-year-old said she could not afford to pay the $19,000 as Qantas will not refund the $15,000 she initially paid in March for another two weeks.
Elizabeth Clark, 38, was told she would have to hand over an additional $19,000 on top of the original price of her ticket after Qantas canceled her flight to New York
The small business owner could not afford to spend another $19,000 as Qantas was unable to repay the $15,000 she had initially paid for another two weeks.
“I was told that if I wanted to stay on the same flight as my brother, who booked separately for me, I had to pay $19,000 today to secure my seat,” she said.
“I’m being asked to pay an additional $4,000 because my flight departs five minutes early. We passengers are expected to pick up the pieces.’
Ms Clark said she understood how lucky she was to fly business class and admitted it could be seen as a ‘first world problem’.
She recently lost both her parents, her mother just 18 months ago, and jumped at the chance to fly direct from Auckland to New York.
“They had always dreamed of having a white Christmas,” she said of her parents.
“It’s a huge treat to be able to do this. Traveling is a luxury these days.’
Ms. Clark briefly considered canceling the trip altogether after several rate hikes and a recession that seemed just around the corner.
However, the thought of missing skating with her nieces and nephews, who live in New York City, kept her from canceling the trip.
Ms. Clark recently lost both her parents, her mother just 18 months ago, and wants to go to New York to fulfill their dream of a white Christmas (pictured, a Qantas Airbus A380)
“I thought, maybe I’ll just let this one go. But I can’t miss this. They only stay so young for so long and I will never get this chance again,” she said.
As a seasoned traveler, Ms. Clark has experienced other problems while flying Qantas and other airlines, such as canceled flights and lost luggage.
“But this is where I lose my temper,” she said of the $4,000 extra cost.
“What about the people who don’t know the flight has been canceled?”
A Qantas spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday: “We are contacting Ms Clark today to confirm her travel and apologize for any confusion.”
It is understood that the booking has not been canceled and Qantas will confirm the ticket with Ms. Clark for the original price.
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, stood in front of the cameras on Wednesday morning to promote the direct flight from Auckland to New York (pictured)
It comes as Qantas CEO Alan Joyce took to the cameras on Wednesday morning to promote the direct flight from Auckland to New York.
Starting this week, Qantas will operate three weekly flights from Sydney to New York, increasing to four a week from October.
The route will pass through Auckland for the first time before a 16-hour flight goes directly to New York, having previously operated via Los Angeles.
It means passengers no longer have to disembark at LAX with their luggage, go through customs, and then board a second plane to New York.
The relaunch of flights to New York brings Qantas closer to returning to 100 percent of its pre-Covid international network capacity by March 2024.