The young parents lived through a nightmare. Returning from a multi-week trip to Europe, they found themselves stuck in Rome with their baby for 12 days, not knowing if they would ever be able to return home.
After a long journey through Europe, you just wanted to go home. Arriving at Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport, an Australian couple, accompanied by their 13-month-old baby, were unpleasantly surprised to discover a huge mistake in their reservation. To Business Insider, when they were due to board their first flight to Amsterdam, Qantas airline partner KLM Royal Dutch informed them that their baby girl was only included in their booking for the next flight. Arrived in Amsterdam, the small family should have set out again for Bangkok, Thailand.
“She was on another flight that departed 40 minutes after ours,” Stephanie told the outlet. “In the beginning we booked flights above Qantas with British Airways. A few months later I was informed that there was a problem with one of the connecting flights and so Qantas booked us on those KLM flights over the phone, so I think that’s where the ‘mistake happened’, the mum of the family surmised.
20 hours and 47 minutes with Qantas Customer Service
The couple then tried to negotiate at the KLM counter at almost 1:30 a.m. to no avail, specifically explaining that their daughter remained on her knees during the flight. But the company didn’t want to hear anything, clinging to the fact that the entire flight could not accommodate an additional passenger. After these discussions, the flight finally took off without her.
Six hours after their arrival, Stephanie and Andrew left Rome airport for a nearby hotel. They then spent the night calling Australian airline Qantas customer service to try to book return flights. The couple described a veritable phone marathon and claimed to have called the company a total of 55 times. In fact, they estimate they spent a total of 20 hours and 47 minutes speaking to company officials.
Apologies from Quantas
The next day, Qantas contacted the couple again to let them know they had a new booking. But the plane tickets were not issued correctly and the family ended up unable to travel that day. Eventually, a Qantas agent called them back shortly afterwards to say that a reservation had been made on behalf of the three family members for July 26th. The couple and their baby were therefore able to return home… Twelve days after the originally planned departure.
In a statement to Business Insider, Qantas said it “sincerely apologizes” to the family. Stephanie said the company has agreed to reimburse them AUD 200 for each extra night they spend away from home.
The couple estimates their additional accommodation, food, travel and hospitality expenses at AUD 15,000. Not to mention the income they were unable to generate due to their absence from Australia. The company “has not confirmed that it will compensate us for these financial losses,” Stephanie said.