Qantas' dramatic emergency landing of QF32 in Singapore, and subsequent decision to halt all its A380 flights while it investigates the cause, has dominated news headlines worldwide. The investigation could potentially take months, so how will it impact travellers?
Qantas currently operates six A380s, which usually cover four main routes: Sydney-Singapore-London, Melbourne-Singapore-London, Sydney-Los Angeles and Melbourne-Los Angeles. Passengers booked on A380 flights on those routes are likely to be transferred to alternative flights. The initial delay on flights is for 24 hours, but that's likely to be extended.
In some instances, Qantas will try to use alternative aircraft to cover the services, but as a 747 takes fewer passengers than an A380, there's bound to be people asked to delay their flights or use alternative routes. On the London route, Qantas can shift passengers to its alliance partner British Airways, but its options on the US route are more restricted. Some passengers may find themselves routed via Brisbane, or landing in San Francisco rather than Los Angeles.
Qantas has said it will directly contact customers who are affected. If you're registered with its frequent flyer scheme and have an upcoming flight, make sure you have the correct contact details in your profile. You can also check which aircraft is scheduled to operate your flight by clicking on the relevant flight number in your booking.
If you're booking a flight on Qantas to London or Los Angeles in the near future, it might make sense to avoid A380 flights for the time being, since there isn't yet a clear date for when those might resume. When I checked this morning, flights for early next year were still being sold on A380 services. It also seems likely that flights on those routes may become more expensive in the short term, since there'll be fewer seats on offer.
Got your own contingency plan for what might turn out to be some very crowded flights? Tell us about it in the comments.