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AFF - are we our own self-moderating enemy?

juddles

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Hi all,

I have posted this in the general discussion area rather than in the specific Qantas area as I think the basics apply to everywhere.

Recently Qantas announced some "huge" changes to their frequent flyer system. This created the inevitable storm of debate in such a forum as us here in AFF. People who hated the changes, people who saw them as OK, the myriad suggestions of what would be better, and the inevitable predictions of gloom and how this airline was out of touch and would die.

Earlier this year I attended a Qantas event. As a P1 I sometimes get invited to such things. I had a brief chat there with Miss Wirth, the head of QF Loyalty. During the chat I asked her about the loss of "Red Roo" - the Qantas rep that used to get involved in this forum. She said that there was no need as we were a "self-moderating" forum. Since that chat I have pondered this concept.

I have a belief that we armchair warriors who often "know what is best" severely underestimate the professionalism that big companies such as QF (and even Virgin) actually have. I am really starting to recognize that they run absolute rings around us. Take for example this last announcement by QF. We had so many opinions on it. We knew and identified so many flaws. We had a fest of debating these. But now, soon after, we have, as a group, moved on. It is now a week since anyone posted in the main thread about it.

We are avid flyers, "experts" in all this, passionate. But even we peter out with our complaints after just a few weeks. Maybe we as AFF are not actually ignored by QF, but rather the opposite - we actually fortify their position that they can do whatever and it will ride out any storm?

If you ignore the emotion in any specific thread, I think here we mirror the greater reality. Every week or so yet another person comes out with a straw that broke their particular camel's back - so they are now ditching their airline and moving to the other. So a loyal QF FF spits the dummy and moves to Virgin. And just as often, a Virgin supporter has had enough and threatens to give all their custom to QF. When you look at the bigger, the whole picture, this is all good for the airlines.

I feel that there are sufficient members here to have an impact, yet we do not. Maybe we should not. I enjoy the debate just as it is. But let's see it for what it is.
 
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Hi all,

I have posted this in the general discussion area rather than in the specific Qantas area as I think the basics apply to everywhere.

Recently Qantas announced some "huge" changes to their frequent flyer system. This created the inevitable storm of debate in such a forum as us here in AFF. People who hated the changes, people who saw them as OK, the myriad suggestions of what would be better, and the inevitable predictions of gloom and how this airline was out of touch and would die.

Earlier this year I attended a Qantas event. As a P1 I sometimes get invited to such things. I had a brief chat there with Miss Wirth, the head of QF Loyalty. During the chat I asked her about the loss of "Red Roo" - the Qantas rep that used to get involved in this forum. She said that there was no need as we were a "self-moderating" forum. Since that chat I have pondered this concept.

I have a belief that we armchair warriors who often "know what is best" severely underestimate the professionalism that big companies such as QF (and even Virgin) actually have. I am really starting to recognize that they run absolute rings around us. Take for example this last announcement by QF. We had so many opinions on it. We knew and identified so many flaws. We had a fest of debating these. But now, soon after, we have, as a group, moved on. It is now a week since anyone posted in the main thread about it.

We are avid flyers, "experts" in all this, passionate. But even we peter out with our complaints after just a few weeks. Maybe we as AFF are not actually ignored by QF, but rather the opposite - we actually fortify their position that they can do whatever and it will ride out any storm?

If you ignore the emotion in any specific thread, I think here we mirror the greater reality. Every week or so yet another person comes out with a straw that broke their particular camel's back - so they are now ditching their airline and moving to the other. So a loyal QF FF spits the dummy and moves to Virgin. And just as often, a Virgin supporter has had enough and threatens to give all their custom to QF. When you look at the bigger, the whole picture, this is all good for the airlines.

I feel that there are sufficient members here to have an impact, yet we do not. Maybe we should not. I enjoy the debate just as it is. But let's see it for what it is.
Sorry zenyattamondatta, was the opening post too convoluted?
That’s one way of putting it.

I seriously cannot make sense if it.
 
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RooFlyer

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feel that there are sufficient members here to have an impact, yet we do not. Maybe we should not. I enjoy the debate just as it is. But let's see it for what it is.
I think what you are missing in that analysis is that with QFF, we aren't so much the target of the program, but the product its selling.

Doesn't matter what we say or do. We are an amorphous mob to be sold as a data set to companies QANTAS loyalty regards as their actual customers ( those that buy points off them).
 

juddles

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I think what you are missing in that analysis is that with QFF, we aren't so much the target of the program, but the product its selling.

Doesn't matter what we say or do. We are an amorphous mob to be sold as a data set to companies QANTAS loyalty regards as their actual customers ( those that buy points off them).
Rooflyer, I am unaware of what here is sold off - have no info nor opinion in that regard. But I am sure that QF do actually monitor this site, and what I was trying to say in the opening post is that the content here makes their choice of no overt involvement make sense.
 

harvyk

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I tend to agree. We're certainly a group of QF's most frequent travelers, but we're hardly an influential group.

There are some people out there who could start changing numbers on QF's balance sheets. They are the ones QF cares about keeping happy. (And often there is CL memberships involved to keep them happy), but for virtually anyone else our ability to be noticed by QF is limited.

As much as we like to think we're a sample of QF's top flyers we're not even that, that honor goes to the accidential status pax, those pax who unexpectedly receive a congratulations on your new status letter in the mail without even knowing why, since those ones got status legitimately, not via games.

We're certainly a noisy group, but as had been noted, for all the bluster from any of the enhancement announcements, how many future bookings did QF actually lose?

Because of that, whilst I disagree with them getting rid of RedRoo, I can understand why they did it.
 

casanovawa

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Just fly the airlines you like and that more importantly give you the best deal/value for money...

I have no status with any airline and therefore no handcuffs to keep me flying any particular airline.... I treat them as businesses, I am not loyal to any, they are not my best buddy and nor am I there's... I am just a number to them that they will screw over if they see a better business proposition just like everyone else here... And as of late its been a race to the bottom in the loyalty/ff offerings, they feel secure in devaluing and cutting safe in the knowledge that their competitors will be doing the same thing shortly so its no competitive advantage to them... In fact not cutting value out of their loyalty offerings is a competitive disadvantage to their bottom lines and not one appreciated by shareholders nor a guarantee of any long tenures as CEO or on the board and certainly won't contribute to big, fat bonuses....

So anyway, spread your cash around and aim to get maximum value for your dollar... I doubt you could motivate any group action, but you don't have to follow the crowd and be fanbois/girl of any particular company or chain... I think too many here are mesmerised by those shiny cards and wrap part of their self worth up in having them and flashing them about the place...
 
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Will try to express it in simple terms. Let me know if this make sense. "We", as in AFF members, mourned the loss of Red Roo. Now I understand why QF withdrew Red Roo. Do you get that?
Ah, OK.

I always assumed it was because “we” were such a repetitive, inarticulate, and non-representative source of noise. No P1 on AFF, just one long QF priority queue, so as soon as Red Roo put herself out there to respond to the occasional question best suited to this sort of channel, she immediately got flooded with all sorts of crap.
 

juddles

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Ah, OK.

I always assumed it was because “we” were such a repetitive, inarticulate, and non-representative source of noise. No P1 on AFF, just one long QF priority queue, so as soon as Red Roo put herself out there to respond to the occasional question best suited to this sort of channel, she immediately got flooded with all sorts of crap.
Dang, now it is I who do not understand!
 

juddles

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Just fly the airlines you like and that more importantly give you the best deal/value for money...

I have no status with any airline and therefore no handcuffs to keep me flying any particular airline.... I treat them as businesses, I am not loyal to any, they are not my best buddy and nor am I there's... ..
casanovawa, I completely agree on an individual basis. And I have done exactly that with my personal travel.
 
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Real world AFF>Red Roo engagement. Absolute hiding to nothing.

Dear Red Roo,
Where are you?

Hey RED ROO! Would be most grateful if you could kick some butt on the QF website

Hey Red Roo how long before the Sydney Flounge Winter Menu is out?

Hey Red Roo, any idea when the points will be credited to our accounts?

Hey Red Roo Can you PM me re another issue that I would like to ask you about Thanks

Hey Red Roo, It is early July

Hey Red Roo, how about organising an exclusive DSC offer for us AFFers? :)

Hey Red Roo, I'm calling you. :D

Hey Red Roo - thanks for the pics. Can you confirm or otherwise polished concrete floors and ceilings with exposed plumbing

Hey Red Roo, move that to the 5th and invite me to the Opening? Surely that's easy to do. :p

Hey Red Roo, I see you're back from Easter Hols, I hope you had a good break. I posted these questions without taking into account that you were probably away, sorry. How about a response please

Hey Red Roo, Any chance of a Quintuple SC promo?

Hey Red Roo time to upgrade QF F headphones to the Bose QC15s.

Hey Red Roo if this was announced 1 month ago or my year ending was extended by 1 month, I would become a Platinum One. Any love there?

Hey QF, Red Roo. You listening? Anybody home? Hello????

Hey Red Roo. You there?
 

casanovawa

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Real world AFF>Red Roo engagement. Absolute hiding to nothing.

Dear Red Roo,
Where are you?
You went to a lot of effort to write all that down...

I guess the reality of it is that with only two full service domestic airlines how much engagement and pandering do you have to do to your customer base?

And although Virgin does a reasonable job of competing in the single aisle domestic market, it only has about 6 x A330s and 5 x B777s and so is a relatively weak competitor internationally compared to QFs 30 or so A330s, 7 x B747s, 12 x A380s and 8 x B787s with more to come... VA probably do a reasonable job of presenting a viable alternative with such a small wide body fleet...

And with QFs OW alliance being strongly superior to VAs ramshackle virtual alliance and QF being financially strong and strategically focused while VA is financially weak and has a hodge podge of disparate airline investors with little strategic focus, again, how much time, effort and resources need to be allocated to superior customer engagement by QF?? Its not like there are any VA reps on AFF blowing our socks off either...

Pity there isn't more competition for QF...
 

odysseus

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Rooflyer, I am unaware of what here is sold off - have no info nor opinion in that regard. But I am sure that QF do actually monitor this site, and what I was trying to say in the opening post is that the content here makes their choice of no overt involvement make sense.
I'm also confused.

It's normal for discussion to peter out. People make their point and move on. It's only if something is seriously egregious that people will not let it die. But this is just a business decision, people can take it or leave it, so there's no merit to keep going on about it. There are more important things in life.

With the broader comment from the loyalty head, that's also a business decision. They don't see business value by having someone here so we're left to our own devices. In other forum though, it's just viewed as another channel so requires service from a pr standpoint but that's general CS. In that respect, that's not required here either.
 

Quickstatus

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Don’t forget this is a closed group with a small noisy membership, with a diversity of views and interests. The proportion of AFF members to QF FF membership base is extremely small. And I don’t think as a membership we are any kind of barometer of the wider FF community. Insightful we are but we do not set the agenda.

I know of 5 CLPO (Chairman lounge platinum one) who are not AFF members. Two have told me they will be LTWP this year.

I’m sure the airline has a deeper understanding of, and have much more granular information about their FF members than we have.
 

dajop

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Earlier this year I attended a Qantas event. As a P1 I sometimes get invited to such things. I had a brief chat there with Miss Wirth, the head of QF Loyalty. During the chat I asked her about the loss of "Red Roo" - the Qantas rep that used to get involved in this forum. She said that there was no need as we were a "self-moderating" forum. Since that chat I have pondered this concept.
My take on what she was saying about being "self-moderating" ....

Why do companies engage on social media? To either boost or protect the brand. Qantas has clearly decided that they don't need to spend resources on AFF, as they have more than enough people here to advocate for them and defend the brand ("self moderating"), even in the face of substantial criticism.
 

trippin_the_rift

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I have a belief that we armchair warriors who often "know what is best" severely underestimate the professionalism that big companies such as QF (and even Virgin) actually have. I am really starting to recognize that they run absolute rings around us. Take for example this last announcement by QF. We had so many opinions on it. We knew and identified so many flaws. We had a fest of debating these. But now, soon after, we have, as a group, moved on. It is now a week since anyone posted in the main thread about it.
You have it the wrong way around my friend...

We live and breathe this stuff all day long. It's a hobby/borderline obsession for some of us.

We have spreadsheets to calculate which is the best status credit run.

We nest flights within flights within flights to maximize points.

We take 45 minutes on the QF website to asses which evening departure has the best seat map availability.

We look forward to priority boarding being called so that we can have those few moments of feeling like the 100+ hours of flying to attain Platinum holds some value.

We purposely stay awake for 30mins after takeoff on LAX-SYD to make sure we get the amenity kit and PJs from the crew.

We shift from 4A to 4E in order to avoid the person who selected 4B right before boarding commences.

We organise a company meeting in Wellington 7 days prior to the end of our membership year so that a bunch of the team can re-qualify for Platinum.

We make sure the check-in agent puts a priority tag on our bags for international flights.

We LIVE AND BREATHE the 'small moments' of being a frequent flyer...... the moment when the cabin crew offer you an extra wine because you were asleep on their flight last week and missed out. The moment when the crew ask a pax to go back to their seat after trying to steal your shadow. The moment when you see FF PLATINUM on your printed boarding pass for the first time in your life.

These small moments underpin the very existence of the core frequent flyer product.

The second you started paying for flights out of your own pocket AND earning elite status is the moment when you became more knowledgable on loyalty psychology than 99.9% of airline employees.

This is the reason why airlines run endless surveys asking the same mind-numbing questions over and over.
The vast majority of airline employees never have, nor will ever understand the mindset of a frequent flyer. While they are great people and excellent at their function, they will never be able to fully comprehend the intricacies of the small moments that bring smiles to frequent flyers.

I could teach you the ins-and-outs of airline loyalty business 101 in a day.

However, the deep knowledge and experience of feeling the pain and small joys of being a frequent flyer takes MONTHS-YEARS to learn. It only comes from experience that we are who we are and can share the depth of knowledge with the wider AFF community.

Qantas doesn't run **** around us.

We run laps around Qantas. That is why so many airline employees come to this forum. It's a free education.
 

RooFlyer

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"We", as in AFF members, mourned the loss of Red Roo. Now I understand why QF withdrew Red Roo. Do you get that?
Hang on. Who mourned the loss of Red Roo? Not me. A pleasant person(s), but who crudely tried to influence the influencers here. QF withdrew RedRoo because it ceased to be monetarily positive.
 
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