An Australian man has revealed the crushing moment he arrived at the overseas accommodation he booked and paid for via Qantas only to be told his booking didn’t exist.
Melbourne local Aaron Smith paid for his 12-night stay at Apollo Dimora Calicut, in India’s south, through the Qantas website in September, along with his flights.
When he arrived at the hotel – where he stayed for a business trip – on November 9 however, staff claimed they had no record of his booking, and because it was late in the evening, he had no way of contacting the airline.
“We resolved to create a temporary booking so I could contact Qantas in the morning, which I did, but they reiterated that the booking was active and confirmed,” Mr Smith told news.com.au.
Hotel staff initially doubled down on having no record and it was only after several days it found his booking.
At that point however, staff told him he would need to pay about 30 per cent more than what he paid through the Qantas site because he had been given the incorrect rate.
A series of chat messages and emails between the traveller and Qantas subsequently unfolded, during which it was revealed that Qantas was “essentially a wrapper” for Expedia, a third-party holiday booking site.
Both the hotel and airline told him they were “waiting on Expedia” to resolve the issue, despite the site not being mentioned at all throughout the booking process.
Mr Smith argued Expedia should have been “completely taken out of the loop in the resolution” given Qantas didn’t outwardly indicate it used the site.
“My suspicion is that the hotel doesn’t manage its listings very well and probably have wrong pricing all over the place,” he said.
“But my issue throughout this whole process has been the ongoing communication with Qantas and their inability to get a resolution up until this morning [Tuesday].”
He didn’t rule out that a post he made to X, formerly Twitter, could have spurred the airline into finding a resolution.
“I did that to try to apply pressure and get a response because I was completely out of options otherwise,” he said.
Hotel staff insisted he paid an increased rate, which was expected to be the equivalent of about $300 on top of what he already paid.
Shortly after he contacted news.com.au to share his experience, and after almost two weeks in limbo, Mr Smith was informed by Qantas that it would cover additional charges imposed by the hotel when he checked out.
“Arguably this should’ve happened 10 days ago rather than five hours before checking out,” he said.
“I typically like Qantas as an organisation but I just think they dropped the ball here.”
While Mr Smith was able to absorb the temporary loss of $300, he worried that others with different circumstances could be seriously impacted.
“I’m concerned that other people would go through this and not have the capacity to get it resolved,” he said.
The ongoing issue also distracted from the work Mr Smith was in India to complete, he added.
“I’m focused on work and this is a distraction. It’s just something I don’t need and I don’t want to spend any time on it. I wasted a lot of time.”
Qantas told news.com.au it had since apologised to Mr Smith and would be paying for all of his accommodation, including the additional charges.
“We sincerely apologise to Mr Smith for this situation and have worked with him and the hotel to resolve the issue,” a spokesperson said.
“In recognition of his experience we have provided Mr Smith with a full refund for the booking and the extra charge.”
The airline said it was working with Expedia to “understand how this has happened”.
Qantas also confirmed bookings with Apollo Dimora Calicut, where Mr Smith stayed, were facilitated by Expedia.
Mr Smith would also be provided a $250 Qantas Hotels voucher.
Originally published as Hotel booking made with Qantas website ‘didn’t exist’ when Aussie arrived at accomodation