Qantas to shut airport service desks, force customers onto self-service

kookaburra75

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If you want to test if the Qtag works (after first scanning boarding pass to identify the pax about to use it) just put the Qtag on the rubber belt by itself closest to glass panel end of the auto bag drop. If it scans okay then reattach it to the bag.

The antenna that scans the chip inside the Qtag is actually underneath the rubber belt closest to the glass panel. The scanners that are visible with the infrared rays only read the barcodes on the paper bagtags.

Sometimes if the suitcase is quite large it's difficult to scan the Qtag if it's some distance from the belt eg on the side handle of the suitcase or top handle of the suitcase if it's pointing towards the injector belt instead of towards the glass panel.
It was suggested to me a while ago by the QF Staff, to have the Q tag up near the end as suggested, but also flip the tag over so the barcode was visible to the scanner. I've rarely had an issue with it reading the tag since.

Interesting - I live in CBR and most of my problems have been in CBR - I mean problems with Q Tags 🤣 so maybe it's something to do with the scanners here.
Same here, Canberra is the only place I've had 'issues'.Once while checking in MrsK's bag, it read the tag, started on its way down the belt to the main luggage belt, but stopped, reversed it back out and declared that it had been rejected. That had even the QF Staff laughing.
 

Cddc

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Checking in on a mixed QF/VA PNR has not been an issue for me using the app previously but I don't think I've attempted using a kiosk. Are your flights same day, or different calendar dates?
Usually different calendar dates. Now I think about it, I generally encountered this problem when I have called up our travel agent and changed a QF flight for an earlier QF flight (in a mixed booking). All good - as long as they continue to have a staff member at that point of the process for these types of problems.

Another abnormality, QF airport staff always request that I call our travel agent to change my flexible fare to an earlier flight, whereas VA airport staff just transfer me to my requested earlier flight. This is sometimes done using 'fly ahead' with my platinum status or at other times by finding a fare in the same (flexible) bucket for the flight I want to get on.

I have no status with QF so, at face value, it appears QF has coached me into a process that doesn't allow me to check in to my changed flight without talking to a staff member. I don't see this being much of a problem going forward as more of my travel moves to QF only simply due to frequency and connection times. I understand 'the process' is not QFs.

However I digress...shutting airport service desks it going to be most inconvenient for people who do not have a travel agent they can rely on to get them on their way and for passengers with no status who rely on the QF call centre and long wait times. Hopefully the technology will be up to scratch and user friendly so neither will be required.
 

ozbeachbabe

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Can‘t the team at the Premium Service Desk check in your checked baggage with the Q Bag Tag by scanning the barcode and importing your flight details from your BP? I don‘t know if that is a thing but it does seem suprising 9 years later, there are still having faults with them...
Staff at the checkin counters can put a paper tag on your bag and send it off. I'm not even sure that the Qtag scanners on the checkin counters even work anymore. When using the automated bag drop make sure you only have a Qtag or paper tag - not both, otherwise the system may try to charge you $100.00 for the 'extra bag' you don't have.

Thanks for that, good to know and I'll give that a shot next time.

Interestingly enough, my original Q tags never had an issue...it's only after I changed my nice old grey metal Marc Newson ones to the new...evidently less expensive ones...that things started to go awry.

That said, I think the key point for me is that check-in areas seem to be severely under-resourced for premium pax during peak periods. Contrary to TheInsider's supposition, either having no premium desk (MEL) or only one counter open (PER) during Easter and the end of school holidays suggests their forecasting was a bit off.
Same in BNE - depends what time you're at the airport. The Premium Lounge Entry is open 0500-1700 daily I believe so after 1700 you'd either need to brave the kiosks or use the regular checkin counters which are probably full of people who need assistance like unaccompanied minors, people requiring wheelchairs, pax with international connections on EK, QR etc ie not a quick process.
Are they still going to have roaming agents near the self service kiosks? I quite often fly both QF and VA on the same booking and on numerous occasions, myself and colleagues have not been able to check-in either using either the QF app or the kiosks despite entering the correct QF 6 digit code (not VA or travel agent code), name, frequent flyer # or scanning FF card. This despite having FF# attached to booking and flights showing up logged into the app. We have been told by different staff at separate times it is because we have legs on VA within the same booking. Never had a problem when it is a QF only booking.
The thought process of the roaming agent(s) thing was about relocating staff from service desk (the sole service desk airside that deals with flight disruptions etc) to the checkin area in the event of a major flight delay or cancellation. This is different to the checkin counters which confusingly are also signposted as 'service desks' however these (checkin counters) are not closing.

There would still be the garden variety CSA's on the floor around the kiosks to facilitate the usual checkin issues but these people are not trained in flight disruptions, misconnects etc unlike their service desk counterparts.

I don't think they've made a final decision as to what will happen once the airside service/disruptions desk closes re managing situations that were handled by those staff as the priority has been finishing up the sales & ticketing desk staff which is a whole other issue.

It was suggested to me a while ago by the QF Staff, to have the Q tag up near the end as suggested, but also flip the tag over so the barcode was visible to the scanner. I've rarely had an issue with it reading the tag since.


Same here, Canberra is the only place I've had 'issues'.Once while checking in MrsK's bag, it read the tag, started on its way down the belt to the main luggage belt, but stopped, reversed it back out and declared that it had been rejected. That had even the QF Staff laughing.
At least the bag reversed! What is more annoying when the bag gets sent yet the auto bag drop tells you that the bag has been removed when it's gone sailing off into the sunset and the Qtag hasn't been activated. o_O
Usually different calendar dates. Now I think about it, I generally encountered this problem when I have called up our travel agent and changed a QF flight for an earlier QF flight (in a mixed booking). All good - as long as they continue to have a staff member at that point of the process for these types of problems.

Another abnormality, QF airport staff always request that I call our travel agent to change my flexible fare to an earlier flight, whereas VA airport staff just transfer me to my requested earlier flight. This is sometimes done using 'fly ahead' with my platinum status or at other times by finding a fare in the same (flexible) bucket for the flight I want to get on.

I have no status with QF so, at face value, it appears QF has coached me into a process that doesn't allow me to check in to my changed flight without talking to a staff member. I don't see this being much of a problem going forward as more of my travel moves to QF only simply due to frequency and connection times. I understand 'the process' is not QFs.

However I digress...shutting airport service desks it going to be most inconvenient for people who do not have a travel agent they can rely on to get them on their way and for passengers with no status who rely on the QF call centre and long wait times. Hopefully the technology will be up to scratch and user friendly so neither will be required.
Quite a few people have issues when the TA has booked both QF & VA flights in a single pnr. Issues being that pax on QF can't check in due to the VA segment in the booking & VA pax can't checkin with QF segs in the pnr. It does something weird in Altea and looks like the previous VA flights haven't been travelled when those flights should be in history with only the QF you're about to travel on should appear. Maybe the work experience kids can work on it so they also get the opportunity to break something else that is working fine.

Don't know why staff would ask you to call a TA to change a flexible fare. Pax should only be referred back to the TA if the ticket hasn't been issued or needs to be reissued if a flight was changed to a new fare. Flexi bookings should be able to be changed on the kiosk or by airport staff. Is it a particular city that does this?
 
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BAM1748

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Bad news, bad service. During the period of next to no income for QF during Covid I can understand it, but now, just plain poor service and I fed that back in the last "how was your flight" survey.
 

TheInsider

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Don't know why staff would ask you to call a TA to change a flexible fare. Pax should only be referred back to the TA if the ticket hasn't been issued or needs to be reissued if a flight was changed to a new fare. Flexi bookings should be able to be changed on the kiosk or by airport staff. Is it a particular city that does this?
The passenger would've been referred back to the agent due to the ticket requiring an ADCOL.
Yes the ticket may be flexible, doesn't mean that they can move on to any other flight they want free of charge, fare difference (even on the day of departure) is always applicable. TA bookings QF can't touch to collect the ADCOL.
If they are booked on a 'K' class ticket MEL-SYD and 'K' is no longer avail, then they need to pay the difference between that and the next fare selling. Change fees are not applicable on 'flexible' tickets, fare difference always has been.
 

ozbeachbabe

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The passenger would've been referred back to the agent due to the ticket requiring an ADCOL.

Yes the ticket may be flexible, doesn't mean that they can move on to any other flight they want free of charge, fare difference (even on the day of departure) is always applicable. TA bookings QF can't touch to collect the ADCOL.

If they are booked on a 'K' class ticket MEL-SYD and 'K' is no longer avail, then they need to pay the difference between that and the next fare selling. Change fees are not applicable on 'flexible' tickets, fare difference always has been.

I took the scenario as being the same flexible fare bucket was available eg K class for the original ticketed flight where there were K class seats available on the new flight pax wanted to move to so no adcol applicable nor re-issue of eticket required.

In that case pax should be able either move themselves at an airport kiosk or have a staff member do if from one of the service points on the floor.

If the staff member looks at available flights the system will only show flights with K class available (or whatever class the flexible fare is booked under).

If there is no availability for that fare bucket on the changeable fare is response will be "no availability."

If the fare is non-changeable a pop-up message will appear in Altea with a comment like "customer not eligible to change" or words to that effect.
 
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Many people predicted on here that the closure of airport service desks & sales counters would cause problems for people with time-sensitive enquiries or during disruptions.

Well that was exactly my own experience last week when trying to book a last-minute ticket out of Perth. The website didn't work, nobody at the airport was able to help and the call centre never answered the phone, leaving me stuck in Perth as it went into lockdown.

 

Melburnian1

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Why would the editor (or anyone else) want to risk visiting WA at this time when the WA Premier is pursuing what will always be an unsuccessful elimination strategy for COVID-19?

Foolish in the extreme (although good if one enjoys an adrenaline rush from being forced to try to change flights at short notice as Mattg did).

Heaps of flights have been cancelled in recent months to and from Perth, often at short notice. To add insult to injury, even the venerable 'Indian Pacific' luxury train is not running its weekly timetable to and from Perth at present.

Along with Daniel Andrews of Victoria, Annastacia Palaszczuk of Queensland, Steven Marshall of SA and to a slightly lesser extent Peter Gutwein of Tasmania, they are prepared to shut down business and social activity, closed State borders and in Victoria's case impose severe travel restrictions and even previously a curfew at a moment's notice.

Gladys Berejiklian of NSW is rightly coming under fire from some of her Ministers including her very sensible Treasurer Dominic Perrottet for extending what was to be a fortnight's lockdown to three weeks (although it pales in comparison with Victoria's job-destroying, travel-limiting 112 day lockdown that Daniel Andrews and his poorly performing ultimate pessimist of a CHO Brett Sutton imposed).

The above otherwise good article doesn't mention whether the AFF editor is now back in Canberra or elsewhere on the east coast, and when he was ultimately able to travel.

By the way, we are not 'customers' shopping at Bunnings or Woolworths when we use an airline, railway, road coach operator, ferry or funicular.

We have always been, and always will be, 'passengers'.

Like VA 2.0's 'guest', 'customer' is inappropriate and also a very unfriendly term.

When rail operator V/Line once did a survey of website users as to which term was preferred, fewer than 15 per cent chose 'customer' with the vast majority preferring the correct description of 'passenger'.
 
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milehighclub

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Why would the editor (or anyone else) want to risk visiting WA at this time when the dictatorial WA Premier is pursuing what will always be an unsuccessful elimination strategy for COVID-19?
Because some people continue to try and live their lives with some sort of normalcy. The editor doesn't live in WA, so even in the event of a lockdown can leave (or at least try!).

Foolish in the extreme (
Rubbish.
 

RichardMEL

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The truly worrying thing for mine is that with the way travel is now - it's a long way from full capacity (ie pre-covid) - there are issues now so imagine a "normal" day?

I will say that some things HAVE been improved for automation/self service but there's still a lot of work to go.
 

Cddc

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Why would the editor (or anyone else) want to risk visiting WA at this time when the dictatorial WA Premier is pursuing what will always be an unsuccessful elimination strategy for COVID-19?

Foolish in the extreme.

Talk about victim blaming. People travel for many reasons and I do not see why this matters.

QF failed in their basic responsibility of selling a ticket that is clearly in their own T&Cs.
 

henrus

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There is a very simple solution to all of the above (which I've said before)... Qantas creates a new phone number or option in the queue for bookings/changes within 3 hours of departure.

This option sends people right to the top of the queue (above everyone else) but needs to be strictly enforced with those calling about a booking that's not within 3 hours kicked out of the queue/told to go away.

An alternative I've seen United? (or one of the US carriers) roll out is a QR code (which changes regularly) that is only plastered around the airport (ie only those at the airport can use it) this connects to a chat line or video call for same-day urgent changes.
 

Mark1966

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Many people predicted on here that the closure of airport service desks & sales counters would cause problems for people with time-sensitive enquiries or during disruptions. Well that was exactly my own experience last week when trying to book a last-minute ticket out of Perth. The website didn't work, nobody at the airport was able to help and the call centre never answered the phone, leaving me stuck in Perth as it went into lockdown.


This is exactly the sort of problems we all predicted, you know, the customers who use the service regularly and know the reality of the system!

Can't wait till a packed Friday afternoon in Sydney trying to get home as the thunderstorms roll in ...
 
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Why would the editor (or anyone else) want to risk visiting WA at this time when the WA Premier is pursuing what will always be an unsuccessful elimination strategy for COVID-19?

Foolish in the extreme

With respect, my decision to travel to Western Australia is my own business. I am aware of the risks.

This thread is about the Qantas service counter closures.
 

justinbrett

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I was supposed to travel to Perth that very same night, fortunately McGowan was kind enough to ban all NSW travellers to save me the trip!
 

Jacques Vert

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Many people predicted on here that the closure of airport service desks & sales counters would cause problems for people with time-sensitive enquiries or during disruptions. Well that was exactly my own experience last week when trying to book a last-minute ticket out of Perth. The website didn't work, nobody at the airport was able to help and the call centre never answered the phone, leaving me stuck in Perth as it went into lockdown.

As a shareholder in QF, I am concerned that QF makes it difficult for potential passengers/customers to give them money. And this has been going on for some time.

Someone rings to make a booking and they have to wait on hold for hours. How many give up and make alternative arrangements, book with the opposition, etc?

Sure you can book online or through a TA but as the AFF Editor found, that doesn't always work.

I would have thought that, if you want to stay in business long term, you would make it as easy as possible for customers to buy stuff from you.
 

Cddc

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We had a very similar problem with the Victorian snap 5 day lockdown back in February. When it was announced at approx 1pm that afternoon my father was in the air flying from north qld and landed in Melbourne to the news lockdown was beginning that night. Trying to book a return flight on the QF website was futile and kept getting error messages during the booking process. Couldn't get through to the call centre as no status.

He managed to get a return flight at the Jetstar sales/ticketing counter at the airport. Queue was 20-30 people deep.

I drove to the airport and had a beer with him and that was that.
 
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I would have thought that, if you want to stay in business long term, you would make it as easy as possible for customers to buy stuff from you.
Haha, like businesses who are continuously in the media (regional cities) complaining about predatory pricing from national retailers, so you go in and make a significant purchase and present an AmEx card.
"Sorry, we don't take American Express" I am told by the owner. "Why not?", I ask. "Because it costs too much", the owner spontaneously replies. "So what is the current Amex merchant fee", I enquire (which as a small business owner who accepts any form of payment which results in a credit to my bank account, I know the answer to), "I dunno", is the eventual answer.
"So", I conclude, "The cost of accepting Amex, which you don't know, is too much, so how much does it cost you when I abandon my sale and make my purchase at a national retailer who does accept Amex?"
 

Ade

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I don't mind saying it - what a debacle!

It's pathetic that any pax (classic reward or $ fare) is unable to purchase a ticket, well within the published timelines on a priority/urgent basis.

It's a shock to note that the none of the 3 personnel in the airport was not trained in ticketing. What did QF think the personnel were supposed to do. If I'm replacing a manned service desk with a few people on the ground - I'll be damn sure to train those on the ground on the most common activities that is expected of the service desk. You don't have to put a counter and make someone sit behind it. Just train those that roam the floor to be able to take in any adhoc/urgent requests from your pax. They are all after all your pax, who are either offering you $$ during a pandemic or using their points to limit your liability.

I feel very negatively re this incident. It's shameful even if one customer is not being served properly and it reflects very, very, very poorly on the airline.

Especially during a pandemic with so much uncertainties, it's only logical that QF (or any airline for that matter) make "human" available to handle any requests. Border closures/lockdowns are not a daily affair (although to be fair, seems that lockdown/curfews/border closures are starting to become a daily thing). My take is companies should anticipate such issues to pop up and train their staff to better position themselves to help the pax

One can only hope that QF takes a lesson from this issue and ensures that there are sufficient measures taken so that pax are never stranded (or at least try)

From an IT perspective, I can understand why/how the issues during ticketing could have occured. There could be only a number of issues, but the most glaring to me is that there are a limited of seats/tickets in a certain fare bucket and when everyone is trying to book into one of the seats in a certain fare bucket, the system is unable to put a lock and take the seat to ticketing. Or, the system was unable to release a lock that was put on a seat earlier and so the system thinks that that particular seat is booked. Hence the errors. But those are scenarios that should have been tested out before releasing the functionality to general public. This is something that QF has heavily failed. I wish the IT quality assurance team at QF is taking note of this.
 

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