Sydney - It is not an Olympic event but a cellphone caller's claim that he was put on hold for 15 hours, 40 minutes and one second has Australia's top airline poring over its record books.

A Qantas Airways spokesperson said on Friday that no call that length was in the logs and that “our average contact centre wait time during that period was under a minute and the longest wait time was 17 minutes”.

But American business traveller Andrew Khan was adamant that Wednesday's performance could put him among the medals for call centre patience.

“I think the wait time was simply my determination to see what exactly they meant by a representative coming on the line as soon as possible,” Khan told the Herald Sun newspaper. “When it got to over two or three hours that was the point where it was like 'Okay, let's ride this out’.”

Khan had rung to confirm a flight to New York on Sunday and managed to read a 200-page book while he waited unsuccessfully to speak to an airline representative.

Qantas conceded a “system error” had occurred that cancelled Khan's booking and that the mistake had been rectified and he would indeed be crossing the Pacific on Sunday. - Sapa-dpa