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Qantas grounding Case Study

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When Qantas grounded its fleet in October 2011, Campus Travel immediately came to the aid of academic travellers Australia-wide. From our offices, homes, smartphones and laptops, we explored all options to re-book our clients' travel and help them resume their work quickly.

Situation analysis

More than 440 flights were cancelled worldwide when Qantas grounded its entire domestic and international fleet on Saturday 29 October. The shock announcement instantly halted the travel plans of some 68,000 passengers, including many Campus Travel clients who were travelling both within Australia and internationally.


Campus Travel's primary goal was to help our clients resume their travel as quickly and cost effectively as possible. As many of our clients were en-route to important academic, research and other educational events, they had little flexibility in their travel dates and itineraries. Working with limited information from Qantas, Campus Travel needed to immediately source flights with alternative suppliers at the best possible rates.


Within minutes of the grounding, Campus Travel mobilised all available resources in our team. This not only included our account managers, travel managers and after-hours emergency assist team, but also senior executives including our national general manager. Our entire team took an 'all hands on deck' approach to ensure a fast response and best available solutions for our clients.

Working throughout the weekend, we managed the crisis by:

  • immediately running 'client location reports' using our advanced technology, to find affected travellers – either in transit or about to travel within the next 48 hours
  • personally contacting affected travellers to discuss their level of flexibility and options
  • using our online booking tool, which has the capacity to instantly search our preferred suppliers as well as the widest possible inventory and assure our clients of best available fares/rates of the day
  • using every available option to source alternative flights and accommodation, including wait-listing flights and holding seats
  • offering buses and car hire as alternatives where appropriate
  • confirming re-booking details with our clients and providing them with new itineraries
  • keeping our clients updated on latest developments as new information came to us
  • no change or cancellation fees were charged to affected passengers

With the support and understanding of our clients, the Campus Travel team was able to maintain a calm and organised approach to re-booking travel as efficiently as possible. By 10pm on Saturday 29 October, we had locked in new travel plans and itineraries for the majority of our stranded clients.

The credits

"Danielle Baker in Sydney has been so amazingly helpful and fantastic in quickly getting back to me and changing flights through the Qantas grounding. She emailed me on Sunday about flights I had booked for some ACU staff and she made my job so much easier by letting me get back to everyone affected as quickly as possible. She has been great today as well in getting back to me on flight information. Danielle has always been fantastic as our agent and the way she has handled her clients during the Qantas grounding has just emphasised her brilliant level of professionalism and genuine desire to help."

Tanya Hall
Executive Officer / National Access and Pathways Coordinator, Marketing & External Relations
Australian Catholic University

"....I just wanted to make a special point of passing on what an outstanding job Premila did over the weekend with regards to travel for CBS.

She was in touch with me several times throughout the day on Sunday and was able to get one of my 'stranded' passengers on a flight out of the states within an hour. Not only was she efficient but she was able to secure a suitable flight at a great price as well as confirm airport accommodation for an overnight stop on the way.

She also emailed the traveller directly and offered to follow him up with a phone call if she was unable to get the OK to issue within a prudent time frame.

She went over and above and did her job with great aplomb – she made what was very stressful for me (I was at home on study leave so also out of the office), much easier and smoother so I think it's important that she is thanked and recognised for her efforts.

Just thought I'd let you and Jon know how much I appreciated the help from Prem – she's a real trooper!"

Heidi Spitzer
Faculty Support Officer - Travel Curtin Business School
Curtin University

"All panic broke loose when Qantas grounded its entire fleet. I was due in Singapore to present to government officials from 23 nations. My client recommended I fly from Brisbane to Melbourne and wait six hours to join them on a connecting flight to Singapore. Fortunately that wasn't necessary. Before I could contact her, Lindsay, my travel manager at Campus Travel – who I can't speak of highly enough – called me Sunday morning with a direct flight booking to Singapore. It was not only a cheaper option, but left Australia earlier on the Monday than my client's flight. Service just doesn't get any better than this."

Steve Coyne
Director, Light Naturally



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