QF/Oneworld Observations...

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Willie

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-HI All

Some observations and commentary on recent excursion on QF to HKG on the recently introduced A380 service.

There is no complaining on my part that I scored a $380 each way ticket in whY. Goodness a complete bargain in fact. I have fallen back to QF NB following 3 years of soft landings but have maintained GE on NZ thanks to a plenty of work trips over the past year to the US. I also find that NZ service and lounges are pretty darn good.

This trip also provided the opportunity to travel on the QF A380 model. I have previously enjoyed whY on the UD of the SQ model through SIN on trips to HKG, ZRH and LHR in all honesty… if you have going to fly whY there are very few other comfortable options for self funded travel – I don’t fall in to the paying for premium classes market segment unless work coughs up for it. Adding further woe is that the cheap fares I buy are usually unable to be upgraded with points unless you manage to strike a really helpful customer service person… and occasionally it happens! I head that SQ are removing whY from the UD of the A380... damn!

So, having no status with QF (moved across to the DJ/VA side for my minimal domestic travel). I was however able to grab a year of CX Gold thanks to the Amex Platinum promotion. It was time consuming to determine what benefits you were entitled to at this level but this trip to HKG was a holiday and a no stress trip.

I scored the fabled 80K for both sectors during online seat selection… a solid $20 investment being tall and a devoted non-recliner. And I nearly always end up behind the urgent recliner whenever I travel. Murphy’s law I s’pose!

I rocked up to SYD for check in and looked at the J class check with six counters, two dragons operating and 12 pax waiting patiently. I should have just gone to the whY line but I decide to wait! The whY line opposite was fair pinging along too. The counter dragon became mighty confused as to why I was in front of her…. Crediting miles to QF but using the benefits of CX Emerald (cheap QF tickets do not accrue mileage on CX) - she told me that I was not entitled to do this and I said whatever and smiled. Just make sure my QF number remains in the booking so I can get a little mileage pittance please. She threw my BP at me!

I made a comment that I thought that it was a surprise there was no priority tag on my suitcase and she let me know in no uncertain terms that this was not part of the Oneworld Sapphire deal. “I have been sitting at this desk for thirty years and this is not a benefit. CX don’t do it for us and we don’t do it for them!” OK Mrs…. It was just a comment on my part and somewhat defensive on yours!

Hmmm… having been well and truly out of the Oneworld circle for well over three years now I forgot how the relationship really does not work for you - as much as they want to tell you it does. Oh my goodness… over at Star Alliance you always get extremely well looked after with NZ GE status on AC, UA, US, SQ, TG et al… premium check in, priority bags, lounges, miles, express immigration, noise cancelling headphones, bottles of water, J class amenities and wines. Often there are other little treats that get dropped off to my whY seat in a sneaky onboard duty free bag! This is really consistent across my travel patterns… OD upgrades every now and then but not a lot these days.

Anyway, toddled off to the QF lounge where initially I was told no entry, then on hindsight yes please come in. It was pretty busy and the staff were really helpful and friendly. The Barista could have been better… my short macchiato was nasty but the food was OK and there were even warm pastries and croissants being handed around.

Boarded the plane, waved the CX Emerald card at the Emerald line and was allowed through even though there was some concern at the lowly bronze printed on the BP. Sat down and made myself comfortable. There were 145 passengers in total on the flight! Lots of opportunity to spread out so I blew my $20 but what the hell!

I was in the last section and there were 13 pax on takeoff. We all spread out after so it was great. The sweet young F/A really annoyed me when she said that even though it was empty this SYD/HKG sector was really busy… we have to do two meal services, drinks, snacks, water and ice creams… Poor things. They only had 9½ hours to serve all 13 of us… maybe a few more after takeoff!

Man the aircraft was dirty – greasy marks on the windows, walls and tray tables. The loos were pretty much unspeakable, showing great wear and tear, hand sinks not draining, floors stinky and sticky. The carpet in the cabin had joins that were zippering and there was lots of damage. Not sure what A380 this was, but it had seen better days. The entire plane… dowdy! Nothing fresh about this – green and orange are two colours that might be best left out of aircraft seating plans.

AV nothing special… screen resolution not brilliant. Might want to have a look at NZ latest offer as it really is pretty intuitive to operate and pretty good content.

Service was as expected… ho hum and took forever. Verging on mean with the beverage services… and why does it take so long? There were so many staff too.

Anyway HKG was brilliant as always… love eChannel immigration… why can’t something like that happen in Australia? Caused a minor kerfuffle with a few fellow Aussies who thought that you could use ePassports but the kiosk was saying no!! Sorry people but they needed your previously registered fingerprints and pictures!

On the return.. check in at the QF FFSG/Oneworld Sapphire counter, terribly delightful. So sorry Willie the flight is full but you are in 80K so it should be OK! Thanks for the reassurance. Priority tags applied… there you go Madam Thirty Year veteran down at QF SYD… Do you know where The Pier is Willie??? Why waste time at the nasty QF/BA lounge when you can have a coughtail of sorts, noodles and dumplings at the Long Bar??? Um dumb question!

The trip home… I am sure it was the same dirty plane but this time packed to the rafters. Maybe Uni etc is about to start off but gee… not a spare seat anywhere. Service the same… slow and mean on the beverages. Not a single water run all night, no cup noodles run (it was referred to but never eventuated… I hate those foul things anyway). The self-service snack bars were all locked up…. Wonder why QF talk refer to them so proudly??? Cost cutting? Enhancement? Who knows?

Arrived at SYD, a shambles, AUS/NZ passport lines moving slower than other passports and the APEC line painfully slow… sometimes I wonder why I head there. Last year at SFO I was virtually frogmarched by an immigration official to the head of the line in front of a plane full of SQ girls and a frosty LH A380 crew… privilege plus! 50 mins to get to the front of the taxi queue… sigh… Welcome to Sydney!

Not planning on chasing anymore QF/Oneworld points following this recent re-introduction… I am burning my remaining points on CX to LHR later this year and then it is adios I feel! Star Alliance and their team have it all sorted! Full benefits to all!

You know, I am even keen on looking at Skyteam with CZ and their cheap flights to CDG that you can book the AF code share flights and KE and their smart service. The new aircraft at CZ are as good as QF... haven't heard of any of the issues with regards to their maintenance etc as QF has been having a run of lately! years ago when I loved in China remember joining MUs FF plan - The Golden Swallow! Got to love that!

QF/Oneworld will probably go the way of the dinosaur. All the so called heritage brands are sort of losing the plot

In hindsight... maybe that should be the way of the Dragon?

My two cents worth…

Ooh Roo

Willie…
 

straitman

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An interesting report.

One question though, or did I miss it, do you not have a chip Passport and why did you not use Smartgate?
 

samh004

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Certainly interesting, though I wasn’t sure whether you were Gold/Diamond (Sapphire/Emerald) as you confused the two a few times… :p
 

djfuzz

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Crediting miles to QF but using the benefits of CX Emerald (cheap QF tickets do not accrue mileage on CX) - she told me that I was not entitled to do this and I said whatever and smiled. Just make sure my QF number remains in the booking so I can get a little mileage pittance please. She threw my BP at me!

I made a comment that I thought that it was a surprise there was no priority tag on my suitcase and she let me know in no uncertain terms that this was not part of the Oneworld Sapphire deal. “I have been sitting at this desk for thirty years and this is not a benefit. CX don’t do it for us and we don’t do it for them!” OK Mrs…. It was just a comment on my part and somewhat defensive on yours!

Not that you're likely to be inclined to complain, but IME I've frequently been able to take advantage of status on one OW airline on which I had status while crediting to (or even using award flights from) another program where I had no / lower status. Of course, she was right about the baggage priority though.

In fact, I was recently told by the QFF WP line just to show my card in order to ensure that I received status benefits, and had the F class check-in desk make arrangements to ensure this was the case. My understanding of the OW rules suggests that this should be the case regardless of who you credit to (or if you even credit at all - since you can always make a missing points claim if you haven't credited to any program).
 

serfty

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Being both a QF WP and an NZ GE I was quite interested to read your comments.

Interesting comment about the lounge .. which one was it? If you were in MEL or SYD you were entitled to use the Qantas First class lounges as a oneworld Emerald -what you describe is not representative of either.
 

markis10

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Being both a QF WP and an NZ GE I was quite interested to read your comments.

Interesting comment about the lounge .. which one was it? If you were in MEL or SYD you were entitled to use the Qantas First class lounges as a oneworld Emerald -what you describe is not representative of either.

OP is MP Gold, not OW Emerald, so no go.
 

ReLoad

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thanks for sharing the experience willie, a good read.
 

richie9x

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Priority baggage handling is not stated as a Oneworld benefit for any status level. People have been caught out by this before. Sometimes you might get it either by mistake or by a kind check in agent. But to me the check in agent in Sydney was correct, although she perhaps could have handled the situation better. For Star Alliance and SkyTeam only their very top tiers have priority baggage handling stated as a benefit. Of course if you are flying on Cathay you would get priority baggage handling no problem.

For arrivals immigration in Australia, as straitman pointed, out you could have used the Smartgate if you have a chipped passport. In my experience this is always very fast, maybe only a minute or two wait at the busiest times. It is faster than the Express path.
 

samh004

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I wonder why the alliances haven't changed/updated benefits. They've all been around for a while so surely something new could be added.

In particular I'd like to see OneWorld add priority baggage and arrivals lounge as extra benefits. It'd really cement the alliance as being premium then.



 

jakob

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Assuming you had CX gold = One World Sapphire, then that is really a comparison with Star Silver (Although you actually have star gold with NZ), which IMO gets you not much at all.

The second tier with OW is better than equivalent in star given lounge access....

If you had CX diamond (emerald) then first check in and lounges may have made a nice impression on you..... first lounges would not be accessible with star gold.

But thanks for the report, was not good to hear about the A380 being in poor condition.

jakob
 

dajop

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For Star Alliance and SkyTeam only their very top tiers have priority baggage handling stated as a benefit. Of course if you are flying on Cathay you would get priority baggage handling no problem.

"Very top tiers" = equivalent to QF Gold and above ... or less if you consider a return to Europe in Y will almost get you to star gold if crediting miles to Aegean. But same applies to Priority Baggage within the QF programme, only the "very top tiers" (ie Gold, Platinum, P1 & CL) will get you priority baggage when flying QF (and as stated, not oneworld).
 

dajop

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I didn't realise that priority baggage was not part of the oneworld deal. That is pretty poor really.

Some airlines choose to provide it anyway. Certainly I have never flown CX without having priority baggage (holding QF status), and IIRC when I flew LAN a few years ago had priority tags as well.
 

samh004

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I didn't realise that priority baggage was not part of the oneworld deal. That is pretty poor really.

I think the other big-ish one is extra luggage allowance, Star Alliance gives it across all airlines with status but OneWorld doesn’t? Priority baggage and extra baggage sort of rolls together though.
 

Willie

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An interesting report.

One question though, or did I miss it, do you not have a chip Passport and why did you not use Smartgate?

NO chip passport for me... I have one more year of the old L series passport left to go! I kind like the photo of me then too! ;)

Ooh Roo

Willie...
 
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