Lawyer Peter Lustig and client Giuseppe De Simone were returning from Sydney to Melbourne in 2006 when they were told they couldn’t store clothes in business class lockers because they were full.
The men, who were travelling in economy, claim after a verbal dispute with a customer service manager, Mr De Simone was assaulted.
Mr Lustig said yesterday Andrew Stocks, a 17-year Qantas veteran, had acted «way over the top» following the altercation.
He claims they were both threatened with being forcibly removed by AFP officers if they didn’t leave the plane.
Mr Lustig said after initially refusing to leave the aircraft they were told if they did so voluntarily no further action would be taken.
But Mr Lustig was subsequently charged by federal police and alleges he was marched out of the airport.
He was convicted of interfering with a crew member of an aircraft but the conviction was quashed on appeal.
The men, both former frequent flyers with the airline, have since been banned from travelling on Qantas.
They have launched action in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for compensation including a combined 60 million frequent-flyer points — the equivalent of $600,000 in flights.
They have also called for a written apology from the airline and for their frequent-flyer status to be reinstated.
In a decision published this week, VCAT member Julie Grainger dismissed an application by Qantas to strike out the men’s claim.
The airline failed in a bid to argue the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the men’s compensation claims.
Mr Lustig said yesterday that the civil action was a last resort.
«I implored Qantas to talk to us,» he said.
«They’ve never given us an opportunity to speak to them. They have continually hidden behind lawyers.
«They have never considered, it would appear, sitting down and listening to what happened from our point of view.»