A LoyaltyLobby reader from Australia sent us an email about great difficulty dealing with Qantas and limited options that exist in the country (no incentive to fix issues).
You can access Qantas here.
Here’s the email:
The media in Australia are not particularly interested in upsetting Qantas so the pathetic customer (lack of) service continues for anyone without Platinum status or above and extends to off-shore customers as well.
Perhaps you would be interested in this:
Also, the local Australian Frequent Flyer site currently has 46 pages of ‘service failures’ and Qantas just rolls out the PR team if it is raised rather then actually trying to rectify the situation. From 2 to 7 hours on hold is common and when you do get through the chance of being cut off and having to start all over again is extremely high.
Hopefully the links work and you are able to assist with putting a rocket up Qantas who apparently think the situation is acceptable. Aviation is a small market in Australia with only two domestic carriers of any note so there is little incentive for Qantas to get it fixed.
If we do not fly Qantas domestically (and get locked in to their FF scheme and OS flights) the choice is only really Virgin Australia, who are not actually a member of One World or Star Alliance.
Qantas is not the only airline that has struggled with long wait times as of late as we have reported here, but it appears that their issues with long hold times has been going on for much longer.
The main issue appears to be that the airline has pushed passengers to take vouchers instead of refunds (perhaps no other choice?), and they have accepted them, believing that they are like cash (obviously they are not).
Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have advised our readers NOT TO accept vouchers if the flight has been canceled/delayed by the airline. However, there are instances where the voucher is the only option, such as when the flight operates, but the passenger is not allowed to enter the destination (would lose the ticket value in normal times).
It seems that Qantas has failed to:
1. Adequate Staffing
Adequately staff its customer contact center leading to long wait times and dropped calls (perhaps on purpose).
2. IT Limitations
Limited website functionality when it comes to vouchers and rebooking. Surely, most passengers would love to be able to rebook their trips and use vouchers without calling the airline.
Why not offer alternatives for passengers with vouchers and open tickets? Clear communication and setting the expectations right would be the first step.
I read the case under the first link, and the person must have been on the call with Qantas for at least a couple of days with all the hold time involved.
Even before the pandemic, I have used a travel agent for complicated and premium fare bookings. Yes, I do pay a fee for this service.
It is far easier when you have a competent agent on your WhatsApp or email who can resolve issues and do all required rebookings at the GDS level without ever having to contact the airline. I must have saved days of my life with this, considering the Oneworld RTW bookings, BA premium fare tickets with upgrade certs, and all other complicated bookings. The service truly is invaluable and well worth the fee I pay.
Australia’s consumer protection is excellent based on the examples we have covered before the pandemic with the competition authority fining companies millions for failing properly discount fees and terms.
Why isn’t anything similar in place for the airlines, or is the authority in bed with Qantas and hence toothless? Is Australia’s media “afraid” of calling Qantas out because of the possibility of losing some advertising revenue, as the reader hints?
I understand that there are not many options for domestic travel in Australia (essentially a duopoly), but many options exist for international travel. Aussies should also ensure that they are not swiping Qantas-affiliated credit cards deriving the airline from this revenue source.
Some of the call center employees at Qantas may be incorrectly measured and incentivized based on the “dropped” calls one of the authors above experienced. Perhaps, if the call was taking too long or they were not adequately trained with the issue, it was easier just to hang up and take an easier case.
I am not a huge fan of the airline’s CEO, Mr. Joyce. He appears to have become arrogant, comparing Western Australia to North Korea the other week.
What challenges have our readers had dealing with Qantas as of late?