Qantas leading a race to the bottom?

Over the past few months, Qantas has made a number of well publicised changes to their product and frequent flyer program. To reward customers for actually flying on Qantas, there will be more points and status credits earned as compared to the same trip on partner airlines. In addition, Qantas customers are now encouraged to purchase non-discount fares.

In general, it’s fair to say these changes have disappointed our members.

Last week, Qantas made more announcements as they strive to cut back on expenses. Three of their call centres in Australia are to be merged into the one located in Hobart. The same week came the straw that broke the camel’s back. While many members seem to be ok with waiting a little while longer on the phone, they were not happy with the removal of chauffer drives to the airport for Business and First customers flying to the USA. This prompted one of our members to write to the head of Qantas Loyalty, to express their angst over all the changes and pointing out the cumulative effect of them was to drive business to the competition.

Sent an email to Lesley last week referring her to several threads on the forum that shows the sentiment and disappointment with the recent changes to the programme and the withdrawal of Chauffer Drive from US Services. Received a phone call today from one of her offsiders and it appears that QF are looking heavily at the backlash that they have received from all areas and especially from AFF ……. It seems there has been more of a negative outcome than had been expected.

It seems many of our members agreed with the sentiment expressed and believe the cuts are now part of a race to the bottom, rather than a race to be the best.

That sort of thinking leads to a race to the bottom, something QF seems to be involved in now. What happened to doing a little bit more to attract and hold customers? It has often been said on this forum, and it’s my thinking too, that I’m happy to pay more to fly QF as long as I think I’m getting some value for my money. That doesn’t mean I want a $ for $ return, but I do need to justify the extra cost. QF have lost that battle in my case.

Will Virgin follow Qantas? Only time will tell. At this stage, Virgin is yet to announce any cutbacks to their product offering. In fact, and with “interesting” timing, Virgin has just initiated a status match campaign for federal public service members.

Do you feel Qantas are heading a race to the bottom, or is it simply an economic reality of the financial situation Qantas finds itself in? Why not have your say on the changes, how it has affected you plans now and in the future HERE.

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