HOW long is too long to wait on hold? Thirty minutes? One hour? Three hours? Try 15 hours, 40 minutes and one second.
That's how long Adelaide businessman Andrew Kahn waited on hold on his mobile for Qantas from Wednesday night to yesterday morning.
Mr Kahn phoned Qantas at 7.22pm on Wednesday, trying to confirm his travel arrangements for a trip to New York on Sunday. He finally hung up at 11.01am yesterday, having not spoken to anyone.
A recorded message replayed constantly told him someone would speak with him ''as soon as possible''.
''I wanted to find out what exactly they meant would be as soon as possible. I never got an answer. This is outrageous.''
The amount of time on hold would easily allow for a flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles.
Mr Kahn said after he hung up, he called again and managed to speak to someone in customer service, who said he was not even on the flight because of a code error in booking the ticket.
''I've never seen this before in my life. For some stupid reason, this had led to this loop of you being on hold. What a saga,'' Mr Kahn said he was told. He said a second employee, this time from the customer care division, offered to reimburse his call costs if he emailed a copy of his call log.
''I hung up in the end simply because I had had enough,'' said Mr Kahn, a new product developer.
''I wanted to find out what exactly they meant when they said they would be with me as soon as possible.
''Outside of my determination to find out what exactly 'soon' meant, after already waiting for an hour or so, I did not want to lose my place in the queue.
''[Apart from] surfing the net and working, I also managed to read Bazerman and Moore's 7th edition of Judgment in Managerial Decision Making - over 200 pages of advanced masters-level reading.
''It is just about the worst customer service any customer could ever receive.''
The Herald, which did not have to wait as long as Mr Kahn for a response from Qantas, was told by the airline that it had no record of any caller waiting 15 hours to get through to its contact centres.
''In fact, our average contact centre wait time during that period was under a minute and the longest wait time was 17 minutes,'' a spokesman said.
"The passenger's booking had been cancelled due to a system error, but has now been reinstated.
''We are looking into how this could have occurred and apologise for any inconvenience caused."