Woman Slams Qantas Airways for ‘Humiliating’ Experience

Donna Carlson, a Queensland lady who suffers from a rare illness, had spoken out against Qantas, the Australian airline, after she cried and refused to make a change when the company overbooked her flights. 

While visiting her daughter in Cairns on June 3, Carlson reserved a business class seat at 3F. Due to her medical demands caused by type 3 achalasia, a rare illness that limits the capacity to empty the esophagus and swallow, she utilized her collected loyalty points to reserve the seat.

Because of her limited control over her bowel movements, mobility issues caused by bone deterioration, and years of starvation, Ms. Carlson has been forced to feed through a nasal tube. Better and easier access to restrooms is also necessary for her. She was notified that she had been demoted upon receiving her business class boarding card at the airport since the trip had been sold out.

She made it clear to the staff on many occasions that her health prevented her from agreeing to a lower level. She was given three options: either settle for economy class, risk missing her next trip in five hours in the event that business class was unavailable, or just refuse to fly and get her money back. No one on staff could help her, they informed her.

Upon exiting the business lounge, Ms. Carlson expressed feelings of depression and shame. After redeeming her frequent flyer miles for a business class seat, she was given a wheelchair to access the lounge, and her seat was assigned to her during check-in. Even though they knew she was sick, Qantas employees nonetheless contacted her to tell her about the ticket adjustment.

The decision to demote his partner to economics infuriated her husband, Brian. Although overselling is a common practice among airlines, they managed to identify the one customer who couldn’t be reclassified. The flight was not oversold, according to a Qantas spokeswoman; the seat was needed for technical crew members who require last-minute travel.