Overwhelmed staff slap on distressed flyers, luggage gets lost for days without knowing where it is, flights delayed and trips redirected to cities on the other side of the country or canceled altogether.
It’s not even school holidays yet and commuters have taken the national carrier to task. Their message: Qantas is fast becoming a bankrupt airline and CEO Alan Joyce must step down.
Yesterday Crikey made a deal with Joyce. Since the CEO keeps blaming shitty travel experiences on passengers or airport staff (everything but its own corporate governance), this vacation we passengers will be ‘fit’ and ready to fly like the pros. All Qantas has to do is what it says on the package: get us (and our luggage) from point A to point B within, say, an hour or two of the agreed time.
Otherwise, we’re going to do what Qantas customer service staff did before their jobs were cut during the pandemic, and document everything that went wrong on the ground and in the air to show Joyce how bad her problem is. severe.
If you’re flying with Qantas over the winter break, tell us your stories about firstname.lastname@example.org
“Terrifying” experiences with Qantas
Some of the reports we received sound like a reboot of Fawlty Towers. Christiana Paterson booked from Perth to Alice Springs in March. Then she received a notification that her return flight had been diverted… via Sydney.
“Now, I don’t know about you, but I usually like to book my nine-hour rides to destinations like…ohhh, I don’t know? THE PHILIPPINES?!”
Paterson decided to take a trip there and stay in Sydney an extra night. Except Qantas expected her to pay double for the experience. Then when she called to try to discuss her options, she was put on hold for 40 minutes, repeatedly.
Rodney Bettany was delayed six hours for a flight to Bangkok with little warning. The airline gave meal vouchers to passengers, but the voucher vendors had been closed for two years.
Chaos, and no one to clean up the mess
A common theme among travelers is that when things have gone wrong, staff have been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of issues they are unable to resolve.
Libby Hicks-Maitland was flying from Melbourne. When she arrived at the airport, the chart showed her flight had been canceled – no text, no email. When she found Qantas staff and asked to book another flight, the computer was not working. The staff told him to work it out on his own device.
“If I had created this mess for my clients, I would have been fired,” Hicks-Maitland said. “Why is it [Alan Joyce] paid so much to create this mess and why is he still in his job?
These stories are echoed on Twitter, which travelers are turning to after being unable to get help from the airline.
As Crikey reported yesterday, Joyce laid off nearly 6,000 employees during the pandemic, including in customer service. Baggage handlers paid the price, with around 1,700 people losing their jobs in a move that was later ruled illegal by the Federal Court. Their work has since been outsourced to a third-party contractor. On top of that, many baggage handlers who have been made redundant have was denied new jobs at the airportdespite the chaos at the country’s airports.
Like a Crikey reader put it: “Qantas and everything about it has become a prank and a joke.”
Crikey is determined to hold Joyce and her airline accountable during one of the busiest times in travel. Keep us posted on your experiences with Qantas over the winter holidays by writing to email@example.com
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