PERTH, Australia - Australian airline
Qantas left tens of thousands of passengers and nearly
20 world leaders in a lurch on Saturday after it grounded its
entire fleet due to an bitter dispute with airline unions.
Travelers in Australia and at regional hubs such as
Singapore and Hong Kong were fuming as their travel plans were
derailed and they were left without luggage and scrambling to
book other flights.
"It just comes across really badly, I'm proudly Australian
but it just leaves a really bad taste in your mouth," Zoe
Johnson, an Australian living in Switzerland said at Perth
airport. "So many so people say, 'I'm never going to fly Qantas
again,' and from my point of view its just feels like a kind of
bullying tactic really."
Qantas' decision comes at an inopportune time-- the west
Australian city of Perth is hosting the Commonwealth heads of
government meeting in Perth and 17 heads of government could be
marooned in the remote city.