Caller hangs up after 15 hours on hold

An Australian man claimed he was put on hold by Qantas Airways for so long that he managed to read an entire managerial textbook, with the 15-hour phone call being enough time to fly to the US.

Andrew Kahn told Fairfax newspapers he phoned Qantas to confirm plans to travel to New York tomorrow, and was placed in a queue with a recorded message saying someone would be with him as soon as possible.

“I wanted to find out what exactly they meant would be as soon as possible,” said Mr Kahn.

The Adelaide businessman said that, after some time had elapsed, he did not want to surrender his place in the queue and left the call rolling while he went on to do other things — “surfing the net and working”.

“I also managed to read Bazerman & Moore’s seventh edition of Judgement in Managerial Decision Making — more than 200 pages of advanced master’s level reading,” he said.

The call was placed at 7.22pm on Wednesday, and Mr Kahn said he finally hung up at 11.01am on Thursday without having spoken to anyone.

“I hung up in the end simply because I had had enough,” he said, adding that he would never fly with the airline again.

Qantas declined to comment, although it said it had no record of someone being on hold for 15 hours that day and “the longest wait time was 17 minutes”.

The carrier has endured a turbulent 12 months, with staff strikes prompting it to ground its worldwide fleet for 48 hours last October in a row that badly damaged its reputation.

Its investment-grade credit rating has been placed on watch by Standard & Poor’s after warnings of a huge profit slump due to stiff competition, soaring fuel bills, the strong Australian dollar, and weakening global conditions.

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