QF domestic 28-day advance purchase Business Class - not worth the pain | Australian Frequent Flyer
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QF domestic 28-day advance purchase Business Class - not worth the pain

Max Samuels

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2010
Messages
37
I don’t post often but thought I would share with you a recent Qantas horror story. So awful that it has actually made me seriously consider “divorcing” my relationship with the airline…

As a QF Plat member who arranges all of his own travel directly through Qantas, and checks-in online etc., I rarely have any interaction with airport/lounge staff. So imagine my surprise last Friday when, arriving at Melbourne airport some 5 hours earlier than planned, I was denied an earlier flight to Brisbane. In Business Class, no less, on a paid ticket. I was totally confused as I knew there were seats available on the next flight (and the next one and the next one….). The really rude customer “service” guy in the lounge told me (almost verbatim) “you’ve bought the cheapest business class ticket and the next flight with that fare class (I) isn’t until Saturday morning”. I paid $650 for this ticket – which apparently is a 28-day advance ticket, but which is also fully refundable. He told me that I could go downstairs to ticketing, and pay an extra $500 to upgrade to a full J class in order to get the next flight. Or – and this is the best part – cancel my ticket and get a full refund, buy a new Flex fare in economy (for about $550) and then use 7,500 frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class. I cannot begin to tell you how confused this whole conversation left me. He then went on to say that “if you want flexible fares you have to choose the more expensive one” – and here we get to the real issue. As everyone knows, when you book a paid domestic flight on qantas.com, it shows you 3 fares: Red e-deal, Flex, and Business - and there are fare rules for those 3 categories. It doesn’t allow further drilling down into the various fare buckets contained within those fares – to prove to myself that I wasn’t imagining things, I even reconfirmed this was the case by making a new dummy booking – one-way MEL-BNE in business class on June 13 is currently $650. There is no option to pay more.

I usually buy a Flex, and it is usually around $500/$600. Sometimes it is higher, but I have never been denied an earlier flight with a Flex – and I highly doubt that every time I have changed a Flex ticket the exact fare class has been conveniently available. I asked to speak to a manger and was told “you can but it won’t make a difference”. The attitude just blew me away.

Of course there will be people who say “the rules are the rules”, but we all know QF can be a bit inconsistent with how they apply them. But from a process point of view, Qantas has a real problem here where their own sales portal doesn’t allow someone to buy a full-fare ticket even if they wanted to. One is merely presented with a price, at a point in time, for each of the 3 (Red e-deal, Flex, Business). Once again, a fully refundable ticket (incl no-show!) gives one the impression that it is also flexible! However the thing that gets me the angriest is the way they talked to me. So rude. Didn’t care. Really dismissive. The guys just stared at me with a blank “computer says no” face. And here I was thinking that as a “valued” customer they would take me seriously! Wow did I learn a lesson that day.

Anyway, after I was humiliated enough I headed outside to ticketing, cancelled my ticket, walked across to Virgin, and purchased a one-way business class ticket for $799 - sure it cost me $150 more in the end but there was a point I needed to make.

In my opinion, Qantas loses in this situation in 2 ways. Firstly, they lost $650 in revenue for no real reason. But more importantly, they enabled (or forced) a normally very loyal customer to experience the competition – and I loved it! Not only was VA’s price about $500 cheaper, the product was much better. They offer booze before take-off (don’t know why QF doesn’t do that?), the cabin is smaller and more intimate, the food was great, the staff really friendly, but best of all – there was no terrible tacky safety demo video (am I the only one that finds the QF demo video exhausting to listen to?)

I am LTG with Qantas, and to be perfectly frank, the oneworld Sapphire benefits that provides with other airlines is more attractive to me than Qantas itself. I am seriously considering abandoning my annual marathon to maintain Platinum, switching to VA for domestic, and flying CX/JL/MH etc. when going overseas. It’s amazing how cheap fares are on those carriers as long you don’t care about the status credits!

The way I am feeling at the moment I couldn’t care if I never stepped inside the Red Rat again.
#sadface
 

Pushka

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Jan 26, 2011
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I had a flat refusal to move forward in OOL in a J booking, WP as well. Some seem to get flexibility whilst others don’t. All up to the operator I guess. And some delight in frustrating QFF’ers.
 

levelnine

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2009
Messages
286
An excellent and valid complaint. Well worth submitting feedback to Qantas about this ridiculous state of affairs.
 

Ade

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
36
Dear Max, I feel sorry for the situation you were put in and as @levelnine mentioned, a very well put complaint. Kindly take this to Qantas and I hope that they respond in a better way that just offering apologies and some Qantas points as a consolation.

I have faced similar situations on SYD-MEL routes and noticed that Qantas prefers to fly with an empty J cabin than offer the empty seats to it's valued loyalists.

Re your thoughts on Virgin, my mates who all fly Virgin have said all positive feedback and the service intimacy is way better than Qantas

Good luck with your efforts in taking this complaint to Qantas. Let this thread know how you go.
 

mannej

AFF Supporter
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
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9,526
I have faced similar situations on SYD-MEL routes and noticed that Qantas prefers to fly with an empty J cabin than offer the empty seats to it's valued loyalists.
This has been discussed a number of times previously, and is to stop people buying Y fares with the expectation of flying in J without any further cost (points or $)
 

Ade

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Mar 5, 2019
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This has been discussed a number of times previously, and is to stop people buying Y fares with the expectation of flying in J without any further cost (points or $)
Thank you for your response @mannej, I understand your point and sorry, I should've mentioned, my tickets on the SYD-MEL were commercial J and I requested if I could take an earlier flight.
 

Mattg

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Aug 21, 2011
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While the Qantas staff member you spoke to was probably technically correct, you do make a valid point about the Qantas website not offering different fare classes when booking a J ticket online. In fact, the website doesn't even tell you which fare class you're booking at all. So it's a bit rich for them to (rudely) turn around and say "you should have booked a higher fare class".
 

Haplo

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2015
Messages
339
So Qantas would rather have an empty business class seat and forcing you to take up a later flight occupying a seat? I would like to hear what revenue management has to say about this.
 

TomVexille

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Nov 12, 2013
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10,344
So Qantas would rather have an empty business class seat and forcing you to take up a later flight occupying a seat? I would like to hear what revenue management has to say about this.
From this lay persons view. Probably that they don’t want people booking the last flights of the day if it’s cheaper and expecting to get on an earlier flight.
 

Happy Dude

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
949
I had the same thing happen on a VA flexi (or whatever they were called before freedom), so, presuming that the issue remains at VA, ie some flexi's are more flexi than others but that can't be ascertained at the time of booking, the grass is no greener over at VA. Although I believe that fly aheads may be "more guaranteed" though for VA elites - been a long time since I've used/needed one. Nonetheless, you've been poorly treated, not least of all because of your status, and you have a legitimate complaint.
 

kermatu

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May 27, 2012
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Thanks for posting and I agree it is worth submitting the feedback and see what response, if any, you get.

These days I get offered earlier flights more often than not - I almost always decline as I have chosen very specific flights for a variety of reasons. While I am P1 I don't think status is being taken into account by the check-in or transfer desk agent. But who knows with QF.

I too am enjoying VA's domestic product so much more. Better food, drink, service, boarding, cabin exclusivity, baggage priority. Network and fleet lets them down. And can't match the OWE benefits that QF offers internationally.

The current QF safety video is an embarrassment. But VAs Bathurst one is way too long as well.
 

RooFlyer

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I am LTG with Qantas, and to be perfectly frank, the oneworld Sapphire benefits that provides with other airlines is more attractive to me than Qantas itself. I am seriously considering abandoning my annual marathon to maintain Platinum, switching to VA for domestic, and flying CX/JL/MH etc. when going overseas. It’s amazing how cheap fares are on those carriers as long you don’t care about the status credits!
Same, but I have already done all of that, and not looked back. Even with no VA lounge in HBA, the overall experience is better.
 

amaroo

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Individuals can really make a difference in an organisation. Hopefully someone over at Red Rat (like that one) HQ will read this thread and take 5mins to think about the consequences
 

Quickstatus

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Oct 13, 2013
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Again this is a situation where the expectation of a ticket entitlement is greater than the actual entitlement attached to the ticket, and the expectation of Frequent flyer status entitlements is greater than actually provided.

Almost no ticket actually entitles the holder to move to a different flight at no cost.
Almost no frequent flyer status actually entitles the holder to perks which are not officially stated - see below for exceptions.
If it is not written, the entitlement if previously provided cannot be relied upon next time.
That someone may expect more than what can be provided is not the airline's fault
Isn't the competition also clamping down on "fly ahead"?

While the airline might sometimes provide more (the so called inconsistency of service), they are under no obligation to provide extra all the time - which is what some want under the guise of consistency.

Now everyone is free to choose from the competition, especially with LTG as it allows the holder of that status to actually come and go as they please.
Dont forget the power of BFOD - (best fare of day).

There is a way to buy a fully flexible full fare ticket that is not yet available online in advance. Just call the airline, and WP status will put you through more or less immediately and say you want a J fare bucket ticket or Y fare bucket ticket as the case may be

Additionally WP status is no longer considered high end. The CLPOs (Chairmans lounge platinum ones) operate in the space where perks like "fly ahead" are considered and provided regularly. Yes, the airline provides that perk but not at the lowly WP status.

Edit:
My friend who is CLPO and who regularly hits double the SC required to get WP1 says he regularly gets fly ahead, upgrades from Y to J domestically, and J to F internationally on the A380. He invariably gets his usual seat and other perks. Though one time he HAD to fly J instead of F because some Boy band booked out the F in A380.
 
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Ade

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
36
So Qantas would rather have an empty business class seat and forcing you to take up a later flight occupying a seat? I would like to hear what revenue management has to say about this.
Yes, that's what I understood as well and in that instance, I had no choice but to wait for the flight for which I had purchased the ticket. In most of my cases, the tickets were commerical J with no ability to move to an earlier flight

Re revenue management - I'd like to hear too.

However, during a galley chat with the FA on Intl J, I asked why would an airline fly with empty or not so full premium cabins rather than not so full Y cabin and she mentioned that from financial perspective, an airline would lose less if they flew empty premium cabins than flying with not so full Y cabin.

Not sure if ;

1. I understood what she was saying - may be she was saying something else and I understood it as I have written above (or)
2. if the FA has the right understanding of why airlines are not happy with a not so full Y, but with a not so full/empty premium cabin

Mates at AFF can help us all understand the above better
 

Ade

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
36
The current QF safety video is an embarrassment. But VAs Bathurst one is way too long as well.
LOL :D I crack up everytime I hear "Hey Bec, Hey Fellas, double shots, mate, big night last night" followed by a fake (& loud) laugh :D
 

Quickstatus

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Your FA is correct.
If the airline regularly upgraded passengers into empty premium class, less passengers would buy directly into those seats preferring instead to buy the cheap seats and hope for an upgrade. The price of J vs Y is roughly 8:1. That still happens today - people regularly hoping for an upgrade. But these days the airline is recouping some of that revenue via different fare buckets and paying the difference to change, use of frequent flyer points for upgrade, upgrade for $$$, enticing customers to buy more tickets in hope of "Status" etc

Additionally the premium seats then have a greater sense of exclusiveness which buttresses its price

In the end pay for the seat you want - there is no free lunch. AFF helps by finding innovative and often esoteric ways to get those seats at a cheaper price, but it is no use complaining to the airline about their policies because unless we are in the airline industry with deep insight into the financial aspects of selling airline seats we are likely wrong in our speculations

My CLPO friend apparently spends approx >$120K a year on QF flights. Thats a high end customer, unlike most of us who expect a upgrade buying a few Y tickets per year because we can see an empty J seat.

Edit:
Ive been invited into CL lounge numerous times by CLPO friend but have only entered the hallowed lounge on one occasion.
 
Last edited:

Ade

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Messages
36
Your FA is correct.
If the airline regularly upgraded passengers into empty premium class, less passengers would buy directly into those seats preferring instead to buy the cheap seats and hope for an upgrade. The price of J vs Y is roughly 8:1. That still happens today - people regularly hoping for an upgrade. But these days the airline is recouping some of that revenue via different fare buckets and paying the difference to change, use of frequent flyer points for upgrade, upgrade for $$$, enticing customers to buy more tickets in hope of "Status" etc

Additionally the premium seats then have a greater sense of exclusiveness which buttresses its price

In the end pay for the seat you want - there is no free lunch. AFF helps by finding innovative and often esoteric ways to get those seats at a cheaper price, but it is no use complaining to the airline about their policies because unless we are in the airline industry with deep insight into the financial aspects of selling airline seats we are likely wrong in our speculations
Thank you @Quickstatus - I understand your point and after reading your response, my understanding on what the FA mentioned was also (almost) correct.
 

Quickstatus

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Oct 13, 2013
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I should add that the ability to upgrade into those seats is tightly controlled, the carrot is dangled enough for passengers to aspire but not enough to satisfy every request.
 

Vic

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
325
Almost no ticket actually entitles the holder to move to a different flight at no cost.
Yeah, that's actually wrong, flexi economy and business on Qantas domestic do allow changes at no cost, depending on available fare classes.
It's all in the fare conditions.
 

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