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

Port Power

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2016
Posts
921
Qantas
Platinum
Most comments on here are naturally COVID-19/border closures related, but what happens when there are weather-related issues? A few years ago flying MEL-PER there was a storm and lots of lightning, so flights were put on hold. One flight got away, with a few waiting passengers managing to transfer to that one. Then more flights were on hold and passengers doubling up at departure gates. Then flights cancelled. I was at the service desk ahead of time sorting replacement flights for the next morning and, along with others, received hotel accommodation. (Exceedingly generous I thought for a problem beyond their control.)

What on earth would happen now? A bit like the Jetstar passengers were told that night: go home (or find yourself somewhere to stay) and rebook on line. Yes, really!
 

blackcat20

Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Posts
12,585
Both from personal experience in the last two weeks and several friends, I find it absolutely rediculious that Qantas is unable to check for valid connections when cancelling and rebooking a passenger - it is simply such a waste of everyone's time (and Qantas call centre resources) when you need to call because your first flight is now later than the second one or you get a "- 30 minutes" connection as I got last week.
We got one that was -21 hours a few weeks back. Luckily it was cancelled anyway so we didn’t need to sort it out.
 

Ade

Established Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Posts
1,349
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Gold
PS travel exemption approved next morning :D . No champers until (a) I get a booking and (b) I board a flight to come back to Oz.
Good luck with your trip. I hope it's a pleasure/leisure/much needed break trip :)

Do keep us posted on how things went - travel wise .. keen to know experiences from those who are able to travel o/s now. :)
 

Chicken

Established Member
Joined
May 9, 2006
Posts
1,490
Norfolk Island should not even be 2899. Lord Howe is part of NSW, Norfolk isn't, Norfolk is directly under control of Cth, they should be treated like Canberra. In fact, since so many people there don't even want to be part of Australia, we should just cut the rope 😈
 

Ade

Established Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Posts
1,349
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Gold
I am not sure if my feeling is objective, but I feel that Qantas IT had fallen apart since COVID?
I'd say, conservatively, their IT systems have never been great ... they were functional, to the extent where one could make a booking, cancel & credit or cancel & refund. The basic stuff.

Seat selection has been functional (via the app & website) at times and broken at times

I think QF (or any airline) needs to look at a bare minimum skeleton of things that need to be functional regardless of any external factors (pandemic, for instance). As a customer, oops, as a passenger, I'd need to ;

1. Use the airline website on a computer browser to search for a flight, make a booking, make payment, select seats, check-in and print boarding pass
2. Use the airline website to make changes to my booking (cancel & change)
3. Use the airline website to contact the airline
4. Use the airline mobile application to do all of the above, if not, most of the above.

And I can see that, QF has failed in at least once in all the above points.

1. People have informed this thread of issues when making a booking. For instance, the latest issue faced at PER
2. Not being able to make payments - the payment gateway fails frequently there by not fulfilling the payment needs of the pax
3. No luck contacting the airline using their chat service, which is, not helpful at the best. I have had instances where I had to, I apologise for using this word, EDUCATE the CSO on the chat window about seat selection as QF SG & WP

I understand that it's not fair that I comment on their work, with the limited knowledge I possess on their internal IT workings. They may have the best intentions in their mind when they did the work on website & apps. It's just that their good intentions have not, unfortunately, translated into tangible/practical user experience for their pax.

I'd love to work for QF and experience some of their systems first hand. I did interview once for a IT Quality Assurance role with them. I was unsuccessful.
 

Ade

Established Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Posts
1,349
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Gold
While you were moving passengers, why wouldn't you also filter for passengers with a following connecting flight after the one you cancelled, then you just do a bulk allocation onto following flights? You would have saved all the passengers having to flood the call centres. I would say that this shows a lack of experience of the people who had to do this task.
THIS !!! a very very valid point and ask from a common sense perspective.

Translating this back to IT, this would have been a real time customer scenario that needs to be handled with a User Story.

The User Story would outline a customer scenario where the customer has X'le connections and one of their flights is cancelled. The business behind this would be to draw out exceptions and how do we handle them.

<code>
getCustomerFlightList
If (affectedFlightSector in getCustomerFlightList) then
find replacement flight for affectedFlightSector
Validate getCustomerFlightList for any potential conflicts
contact customer and get confirmation on revised trip
Update getCustomerFlightList
Re-issue tickets
Close
</code>

It's not very difficult for someone to come up with a pseudocode that can do this and prototype it for build. I'm sure there might be so many new features QF is working on, but if they don't get their basics right, then what's the point ...

And most of these can be done automatically in the code. Once the code has done what it has, it will present a list of possible combinations for the pax, which can then be read out to the pax to get confirmation.
 
Last edited:

PineappleSkip

Established Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2007
Posts
2,766
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
I've got a Air NZ booking reference that's been changed 8 times
I can match but not beat. An ET ticket with the return right at the beginning of the pandemic (Mar 20) changed 8 times. At various times I was flying into Oz on CX, QF, CX again and TG. Surely others could better that!
I hope it's a pleasure/leisure/much needed break trip
Sort of. Helping to pull a project out of the hole that Zoom and email put it in. If it all works I will get paid, which will facilitate pleasure/leisure. The much needed break will be 14 days in custody :)
 
Sponsored Post

Struggling to use your Frequent Flyer Points?

Award Flight Assist takes the hard work out of finding award availability and redeeming your frequent flyer or credit card points for flights.

Using their expert knowledge and specialised tools, the Award Flight Assist team at Frequent Flyer Solutions will help you book a great trip that maximises the value for your points.

Ade

Established Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Posts
1,349
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Gold
As some AFFers stated in another thread, it's unfortunately best to stay within one's State borders at present and not fly, drive, travel by train or road coach or even walk across a border if one isn't a 'Border resident'.
A sad, but, true statement :(

Better to stay put where you are, unfortunately. I have a few trips lined in September, Nov & Dec .. fingers crossed for those
 

RAM

Established Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Posts
3,309
The flaw in the logic behind many of the suggested "fixes" to Q's IT systems is that these issues are unintentional. Perhaps 'arrogance' has a larger part to play.

Most, if not all, of the Q IT 'enhancements' (Klaxons sounding, warning,warning) appear to have the effect of making it harder (more costly) for customers to receive their money back even when they have a fully refundable ticket.

For example, Q removed the 'refund' option from their system early on in this CV situation. That was a deliberate decision, and it was only after some weeks & hundreds of complaints made to the ACCC that the ACCC grudgingly contacted Q to return the 'refund' option.

It would be very revealing to find out exactly what worker numbers have been in the combined Q call centres as they had been steadily reduced through 2018 and 2019 due to the 'enhancements' to Q's IT making them no longer required.

A bit like the 'enhancements' making Service desks in airports redundant, or was it just sub-contracted workers?
 
Last edited:

Franky

Established Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Posts
1,511
Most comments on here are naturally COVID-19/border closures related, but what happens when there are weather-related issues? A few years ago flying MEL-PER there was a storm and lots of lightning, so flights were put on hold. One flight got away, with a few waiting passengers managing to transfer to that one. Then more flights were on hold and passengers doubling up at departure gates. Then flights cancelled. I was at the service desk ahead of time sorting replacement flights for the next morning and, along with others, received hotel accommodation. (Exceedingly generous I thought for a problem beyond their control.)

What on earth would happen now? A bit like the Jetstar passengers were told that night: go home (or find yourself somewhere to stay) and rebook on line. Yes, really!
We had a weather delay out of LAX to DFW a few weeks ago. Storm in DFW closed the airport. As we were on the verge of turning onto the tarmac, it was back to the terminal, dis-embark and make your own arrangements. A week later trying to fly DCA-JFK we had 3 delays and then finally a cancellation. They claimed it was weather related in NY, but I did a quick weather check and it was 71F, with light cloud and winds up there. I suspect it was crewing issues, but again, it was make your own arrangements. Both times flying AA.
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Posts
30,358
We had a weather delay out of LAX to DFW a few weeks ago. Storm in DFW closed the airport. As we were on the verge of turning onto the tarmac, it was back to the terminal, dis-embark and make your own arrangements. A week later trying to fly DCA-JFK we had 3 delays and then finally a cancellation. They claimed it was weather related in NY, but I did a quick weather check and it was 71F, with light cloud and winds up there. I suspect it was crewing issues, but again, it was make your own arrangements. Both times flying AA.
Weather reports though can be quite inaccurate. Once when working in Armidale I was trying to get a patient transferred to the John Hunter hospital in Newcastle. The co ordinator insisted the weather in Armidale prevented planes landing. I insisted on speaking to the supervisor who gave the same reply. As he was answering I heard a familiar sound so went outside. The place i always stayed at was just off the flight path. It was a bright sunny day with a wisp of wind. The noise got very loud and as it disappeared i was able to sat that the noise you heard was the QF flight from SYD on final approach about 600 metres from the end of the runway. They sent the plane up and their were no problems.
 

jpp42

Active Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Posts
594
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
Weather reports though can be quite inaccurate. Once when working in Armidale I was trying to get a patient transferred to the John Hunter hospital in Newcastle. The co ordinator insisted the weather in Armidale prevented planes landing. I insisted on speaking to the supervisor who gave the same reply. As he was answering I heard a familiar sound so went outside. The place i always stayed at was just off the flight path. It was a bright sunny day with a wisp of wind. The noise got very loud and as it disappeared i was able to sat that the noise you heard was the QF flight from SYD on final approach about 600 metres from the end of the runway. They sent the plane up and their were no problems.

Nice story, and perhaps accurate in this case, but it's worth noting the air ambulance plane being used for patient transfers could have very different weather minimums than a Qantas jet (or even Q400). An interesting example is in certain regional ports, Qantas has applied for and received approval for something called Required Navigation Performance (RNP), which (in simple terms), allows them to use GPS based navigation in what would otherwise be restrictive weather. Most other airlines, including Virgin, do not have this same level of certification, resulting in situations such as low fog, where Qantas might be able to operate but Virgin/Rex etc would have to cancel. Also, weather enroute could affect an air ambulance flight - maybe the Qantas jet could climb above the weather but the air ambulance operates at a much lower level subject to icing (for example). Even a Qantaslink Q400 is certified for "known flight into icing conditions" but a smaller air ambulance might not be. So while it doesn't hurt to ask them to double check the weather, also be aware of how complicated this can be.
 
Joined
May 29, 2021
Posts
793
Qantas
Gold
Virgin
Red
Just came across this interesting take on the whole Qantas customer service fiasco. The key takeaway is that Joyce needs to go. He may be serving shareholders well but he ain't serving passengers, workers, or the Australian public very well:


-RooFlyer88
 

levelnine

Established Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Posts
1,250
He may be serving shareholders well but he ain't serving passengers, workers, or the Australian public very well
His only duty is to the shareholders though.

The crucial question is whether his mistreatment of passengers is going to eventually start to hit revenues and profits. There's lot of bellyaching on social media and this forum about never flying QFF again, but how many people are putting their wallet where their mouth is? My hope is that many people are following through with their words and starting to book VA, SQ, etc, but I remain sceptical.

Plenty of people swore off Qantas for its mishandling of COVID-19 refunds, but demand for QF flights after border restrictions ended was higher than ever. So we will see ...
 
Joined
May 29, 2021
Posts
793
Qantas
Gold
Virgin
Red
His only duty is to the shareholders though.

The crucial question is whether his mistreatment of passengers is going to eventually start to hit revenues and profits. There's lot of bellyaching on social media and this forum about never flying QFF again, but how many people are putting their wallet where their mouth is? My hope is that many people are following through with their words and starting to book VA, SQ, etc, but I remain sceptical.

Plenty of people swore off Qantas for its mishandling of COVID-19 refunds, but demand for QF flights after border restrictions ended was higher than ever. So we will see ...
I think it's debatable whether his duty is strictly to shareholders, especially for long term growth. One need only look at Enron which did their level best to maximize short term shareholder value at the expense of those holding Enron shares long-term.

As for yours truly, most of my international trips are booked with competitors like Air Canada, United and Delta-KLM-Air France Group. Even for domestic trips, I'm favouring luxury airline Jétstar over budget airline Qantas. Their customer service is quite good and I frankly don't see the same schedule issues that I see on my QF flights. Do I fly QF from time to time? Absolutely, particularly when there are no other options (i.e. to Longreach or Lord Howe Island). But I carefully look at the fares and options. Often times, Qantas neither has the better fare nor departure time!

-RooFlyer88
 

clifford

Established Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Posts
2,360
As for yours truly, most of my international trips are booked with competitors like Air Canada, United and Delta-KLM-Air France Group. Even for domestic trips, I'm favouring luxury airline Jétstar over budget airline Qantas. Their customer service is quite good and I frankly don't see the same schedule issues that I see on my QF flights. Do I fly QF from time to time? Absolutely, particularly when there are no other options (i.e. to Longreach or Lord Howe Island). But I carefully look at the fares and options. Often times, Qantas neither has the better fare nor departure time!

-RooFlyer88
I certainly wouldn't pay for a Qantas ticket, but I'm happy to burn my 500,000+ points with them (and am doing so quite quickly).

As for Jetstar, I agree and have more trips booked with them than anyone else. Just picked up a CBR-MEL ticket on JQ for $59, which is about 1/4 of what QF would charge, and the service is no worse. And, as a VA Plat, I will certainly continue to patronise them with real cash.

So Qantas isn't getting a lot out of me, and with my OWE status from BA, I am happy to use QF's facilities and services when flying on their reward tix. And they likely never will get much out of me. But it could be so different if....
 

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top