Aviation

Qantas’ mid-air emergency and disabled passenger blunder

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Australia’s most popular airline is having a week that it would rather forget, thanks to two incidents involving Qantas being widely reported across media outlets.

Yesterday, Qantas flight QF706 was operating from Adelaide to Canberra when it diverted to Melbourne due to a pressurisation issue.

Travel Weekly understands that oxygen masks were deployed to passengers, and once the aircraft reached 10,000 feet, they were instructed to remove their masks and breathe normally.

The aircraft was given a priority landing at Melbourne Airport and landed without incident, but wasn’t classed as an emergency landing. All customers disembarked the aircraft as normal and were transferred onto other flights.

One passenger praised Qantas on social media for its handling of the incident.

Qantas chief technical pilot Captain Alex Passerini said the airline’s pilots and cabin crew handled the incident in line with standard operating procedures.

“We would like to thank our customers who followed the crew instructions and remained calm during the diversion,” he said.

“The aircraft is currently being examined by engineers in Melbourne to determine the fault.”

Meanwhile, a number of media outlets reported this week about a disability advocate who was forced to leave her specially-designed wheelchair behind in order to board a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Canberra in February because it was too big.

A Qantas spokesperson told Travel Weekly that there was an error during the booking process and the dimensions of Monica McGhie’s wheelchair were not actioned properly in the airline’s system.

“This meant that it was only discovered at check in Melbourne that her wheelchair was too large for the aircraft hold,” the spokesperson said.

“Our staff at Melbourne were able to offer a solution and Ms McGhie was able to travel onto Canberra.

“We have contacted Ms McGhie to apologise and will be reviewing how this can be avoided in future.”

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