When are we going to talk openly about QF delays and cancellations?

15 replies

BrisHamish

Member since 24 Sep 2017

Total posts 3

Those of us who fly regularly know the current misery of constant QF delays and cancellations.

Yes, COVID is a factor, but most other businesses have gotten their act together by now. Perhaps its all the outsourcing, perhaps its the very low wages compared to other competing industries? Who knows? But in the case of QF, if you know you cant do a certain number of flights next week or the week after, why keep selling seats on those flights? It feels like cheating.

A proper manager, not the QF PR department, needs to be appointed to start making some proper (and hard) decisions here.

H.

X

British Airways - Executive Club

Member since 24 Jan 2012

Total posts 88

Before I respond, I want to declare that I work in Aviation (and have worked at multiple airlines during my career).

To point the finger at Qantas is simply misinformed. This is an industry wide issue. According to the latest data from BITRE, QF, JQ and VA are all struggling operationally.

On time departures during June were: QF- 58.7% / JQ- 55.7% / VA- 59.8%

(Historically ~ 82%)

Cancellation rates were: QF- 7.5% / JQ- 5.5% / VA- 5.8%

(Historically 1.2%)

Given VA did not outsource, I think the statistics support that this is not a contributing factor.

So what is causing the operational issues?

1). Recruitment. It takes about 20 weeks to recruit and train an aviation employee, which is significantly longer than other industries. In addition to the 3-4 weeks minimum for interviews (as per any industry), you also have to wait 6 weeks for security clearances + and a further 5 weeks for training for cabin crew as an example.

20 weeks ago, we still had border closures and there was plenty of uncertainty it was difficult to attract talent.

2). Absenteeism. My team sickness is hovering around 16% at the moment due to COVID and flu (vs 3% previously). And the duration is longer at a week vs 2 days. Whilst this impacts all industries, unlike office employees, this is an operational role with legal minimum crew compliments.

3). Extra health requirements for international travel which need to be checked AND customers aren't familiar with.

4). Outside Influences. There are so many outside influences which are exacerbating issues. Customers do not allow sufficient time for moving through the airport due changed conditions + new screening technology + inexperienced screeners leads to delays with customers reaching their aircraft. This causes passenger and bag offloads, misconnections and other disruption related work for an already stretched workforce. As delays compound the planned resources don't match the operation that needs to be delivered causing more delays.

There aren't available parking bays for the off schedule flights.

Crew go out of hours meaning cancellations and crew and aircraft out of position.

Add in ATC delays due to sickness and training. It really is a perfect storm.


So instead of asking why things aren't improving, instead consider what you can contribute to alleviate the work on our tired team members:

- Get to the airport early. Yes, you may have to wait, but it'll remove stress and demand on employees.

- Book early extra time for connections. 30 min domestic and 75 min international connections is not sufficient in this environment.

- Use self service technology to alleviate workload for staff.

- Check the health requirements thoroughly

- Expect delays and factor them in!

BrisHamish

Member since 24 Sep 2017

Total posts 3

OK, so thanks to the Qantas manager for that reply...

Given the Qantas manager can readily identify for us all the factors (1 to 4, with subparagraphs), why hasnt something been done to address these by now? For those of us who fly regularly, its been months and months and months of this now....

And while some might subscribe to the idea that aviation is 'special', its actually just like any other business. and every other business has managed to adapt by now. Why is Qantas so special?

If Qantas knows about items 1 to 4, why does Qantas keep selling tickets on flights it has no legitimate expectation of being able to perform? That doesnt sound fair - or lawful for that matter.

As for all the 'tips' at the end of the email from the Qantas manager, yes I am am doing all of those already thank you and have been doing them for some time, all frequent flyers are in fact doing those things, and (just FWIW) they dont help any of us frequent flyers.

Also just as an FYI, when you have a non-performing business, its a bad look to try to blame the paying customers. Just saying...

Finally, of course, what gives me the right to say any of this? I am just a regular flyer (currently Platinum, before COVID I was Platinum One), I fly twice each week and sometimes 4 times each week, I just pay the Qantas bills, and cop the delays, and after months and months of the same excuses (whilst other businesses worked on a fix and implemented it), what, I am just supposed to sit in the terminal and be grateful? Qantas PR, and the manager who responded to my email, seem to think that this is all good enough. Really?

I am not alone in this. Sitting in the Qantas Domestic Business Lounge last week, there are a lot of Platinum (or higher) QF customers who share these concerns because there was a large public group discussion about it...

H.

Last editedby BrisHamish at Jul 31, 2022, 10:07 PM.
Last editedby BrisHamish at Jul 31, 2022, 10:12 PM.

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 20 Aug 2014

Total posts 161

Originally Posted by X

Before I respond, I want to declare that I work in Aviation (and have worked at multiple airlines during my career).

To point the finger at Qantas is simply misinformed. This is an industry wide issue. According to the latest data from BITRE, QF, JQ and VA are all struggling operationally.

On time departures during June were: QF- 58.7% / JQ- 55.7% / VA- 59.8%

(Historically ~ 82%)

Cancellation rates were: QF- 7.5% / JQ- 5.5% / VA- 5.8%

(Historically 1.2%)

Given VA did not outsource, I think the statistics support that this is not a contributing factor.

So what is causing the operational issues?

1). Recruitment. It takes about 20 weeks to recruit and train an aviation employee, which is significantly longer than other industries. In addition to the 3-4 weeks minimum for interviews (as per any industry), you also have to wait 6 weeks for security clearances + and a further 5 weeks for training for cabin crew as an example.

20 weeks ago, we still had border closures and there was plenty of uncertainty it was difficult to attract talent.

2). Absenteeism. My team sickness is hovering around 16% at the moment due to COVID and flu (vs 3% previously). And the duration is longer at a week vs 2 days. Whilst this impacts all industries, unlike office employees, this is an operational role with legal minimum crew compliments.

3). Extra health requirements for international travel which need to be checked AND customers aren't familiar with.

4). Outside Influences. There are so many outside influences which are exacerbating issues. Customers do not allow sufficient time for moving through the airport due changed conditions + new screening technology + inexperienced screeners leads to delays with customers reaching their aircraft. This causes passenger and bag offloads, misconnections and other disruption related work for an already stretched workforce. As delays compound the planned resources don't match the operation that needs to be delivered causing more delays.

There aren't available parking bays for the off schedule flights.

Crew go out of hours meaning cancellations and crew and aircraft out of position.

Add in ATC delays due to sickness and training. It really is a perfect storm.


So instead of asking why things aren't improving, instead consider what you can contribute to alleviate the work on our tired team members:

- Get to the airport early. Yes, you may have to wait, but it'll remove stress and demand on employees.

- Book early extra time for connections. 30 min domestic and 75 min international connections is not sufficient in this environment.

- Use self service technology to alleviate workload for staff.

- Check the health requirements thoroughly

- Expect delays and factor them in!

Ok so I accept most of these points. But if 75 min domestic to international connection times aren't do-able, why are they selling them? I was offerred an 80 min connection time yesterday on a booking. 4 weeks ago on another booking I was offerred a 55 min connection time!

buckburn

Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 19 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

I agree and when is executive traveller and the press going to start reporting on this as well or will this eat into their FOC junkets they get every year to re-spin the QF PR machine?

I also like that QF is saying that its OTP and cancellation rate is in line with the industry however QF promotes itself as a premium carrier and charges a premium for its services. To them compare them to the market and that of LCC's is Qantas now a very expensive LCC? Yesterday my flight to Melbourne was cancelled, then delayed and I was lucky to have lounge access (lets not get into the paper plates are back woe is me debacle). Bur seriously what is going on with the national carrier?

sunnybrae

Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 21 Jul 2019

Total posts 32

Originally Posted by X

Before I respond, I want to declare that I work in Aviation (and have worked at multiple airlines during my career).

To point the finger at Qantas is simply misinformed. This is an industry wide issue. According to the latest data from BITRE, QF, JQ and VA are all struggling operationally.

On time departures during June were: QF- 58.7% / JQ- 55.7% / VA- 59.8%

(Historically ~ 82%)

Cancellation rates were: QF- 7.5% / JQ- 5.5% / VA- 5.8%

(Historically 1.2%)

Given VA did not outsource, I think the statistics support that this is not a contributing factor.

So what is causing the operational issues?

1). Recruitment. It takes about 20 weeks to recruit and train an aviation employee, which is significantly longer than other industries. In addition to the 3-4 weeks minimum for interviews (as per any industry), you also have to wait 6 weeks for security clearances + and a further 5 weeks for training for cabin crew as an example.

20 weeks ago, we still had border closures and there was plenty of uncertainty it was difficult to attract talent.

2). Absenteeism. My team sickness is hovering around 16% at the moment due to COVID and flu (vs 3% previously). And the duration is longer at a week vs 2 days. Whilst this impacts all industries, unlike office employees, this is an operational role with legal minimum crew compliments.

3). Extra health requirements for international travel which need to be checked AND customers aren't familiar with.

4). Outside Influences. There are so many outside influences which are exacerbating issues. Customers do not allow sufficient time for moving through the airport due changed conditions + new screening technology + inexperienced screeners leads to delays with customers reaching their aircraft. This causes passenger and bag offloads, misconnections and other disruption related work for an already stretched workforce. As delays compound the planned resources don't match the operation that needs to be delivered causing more delays.

There aren't available parking bays for the off schedule flights.

Crew go out of hours meaning cancellations and crew and aircraft out of position.

Add in ATC delays due to sickness and training. It really is a perfect storm.


So instead of asking why things aren't improving, instead consider what you can contribute to alleviate the work on our tired team members:

- Get to the airport early. Yes, you may have to wait, but it'll remove stress and demand on employees.

- Book early extra time for connections. 30 min domestic and 75 min international connections is not sufficient in this environment.

- Use self service technology to alleviate workload for staff.

- Check the health requirements thoroughly

- Expect delays and factor them in!

With respect, you're talking to seasoned travellers here. And many (if not most) of us have already undertaken all your suggestions, and even more for years, well before COVID! Yet, the legion of problems still remains and seems to grow daily. So then what? Are pax still to be blamed for not knowing how to travel 'right'?? There's only so much pax can do to help QF alleviate it's OWN problems; ultimately it's for management to solve these problems. James Strong would never have passed the buck and blamed his pax; and neither would Brian Grey at his various airlines.

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 1,011

Just in response the question “when is Executive Traveller and the press going to start reporting on this as well?”

The issue of Qantas delays and cancellations has been solidly and continuously reported by the mainstream media – as anybody watching the news, listening to talkback radio, reading the newspapers or reading news websites can attest.

And that's why we haven't felt the need to cover this at Executive Traveller: because it's wall-to-wall everywhere else, and we quite honestly can't add anything to that extensive coverage.

Several factors guide our choice of articles, and how extensively a topic is being covered by the mainstream media is one of those factors.

If readers can obtain the information needed through mainstream sources, which also boast much higher levels of resourcing than Executive Traveller (as well as being almost around the clock) then we'd at best be duplicating that.

Instead, one of our strengths is to cover aspects which other media don't, or which they can cover without much depth or detail compared – that's what so many stories on Executive Traveller have greater relevance to our readers. We can devote an entire story to what's a few paragraphs – if covered at all – in other media. This focus is part of our ‘unique' proposition and it's part of what has made Executive Traveller such a success with our readers over the past 10+ years.

We do provide this forum as a place for readers to discuss issues not covered in our own articles, and as long as those discussions remain civil we don't delete posts. (As always, comments under Executive Traveller articles are subject to stricter guidelines, primarily being that they remain on-topic.)

Last editedby David at Aug 01, 2022, 08:40 PM.

Dan22

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 07 Aug 2013

Total posts 141

Qantas will still sell all scheduled flights even though a higher percentage then normal will cancel and these are business/ commerical and operational people that are paid to manage and know this and work for the best interest for Qantas and company $$$.

They addressed only recently that they will reduce schedules. But and surprised why no one has said this yet... Qantas WILL do anything to make sure they get your money and hold onto it. The average time of a refund...what 2mths still...and if anything like my process, you get "oh sorry sir, it was cancelled but refund not actioned so now its actioned it will take a further 8weeks to process"..(that's after the 2hr+ wait time).

It's a business at end of day - they couldn't care about average Joe, they need your money, as long as you booked and paid, job done. Sure industry wide issues, they still the go to airline domestically being the biggest carrier and most frequency... Internationally I wouldn't bother. Better run airlines out there that have capacity and resource resilience.

lkennedy

Member since 16 Dec 2011

Total posts 32

Well 3 months ago Qantas took away my gold FF. That is their right, but with international business travel still restricted by most companies and flights costing about double what they were in 2019 (more like triple for QF premium and above), I no longer have any reason to book Qantas. After 25 years of membership and my being probably only a couple of years away from lifetime silver, I will now look at who has the best deals and easiest route to gold on other programs.

My personal experience is Virgin, Singapore, United, Delta have not cancelled as many flights last minute as Qantas. Maybe they didn't treat their employees as badly as Qantas? The reality is Qantas laid off and outsourced workers while taking government grants, and now unsurprisingly no one wants to work for them anymore. Why would they?

Racala

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 22 May 2018

Total posts 48

I have been on 8 QF flights over the past few months. Four have left on time. One was delayed by the weather in Sydney (heavy rain). The other three have all had the same problem..and I know that my comments may upset a few people but it's a matter that needs to be resolved. In each occasion right at the boarding time up to 3 people in wheelchairs have arrived at the gate, and have been wheeled on board. This has delayed the general boarding by up to 1/2 hour (20 mins last Monday QF528). If they are going run an airline on time this is something that needs to be sorted.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 152

@X

QF is selling full fare “premium” service, they know that and they charge like a bull.

And here you suggest that it’s an industry wide problem where QF performed just as poorly as their low cost sibling and “special but cheaper” competitor on departure time.

And then QF appears to top the class on getting the highest cancellation rate almost 40% more than the other airlines

And then expect the seasoned traveller-ET readers here to do more to help the airlines to do better, with suggestions that we have been doing for some time long before the pandemic or paid extra to get to use the fast lane.

I’m sorry, and it appears you did make some effort in defence of the airline industry (and QF) but I would expect a better argument than this.

When AJ talks about pax not match fitting the airplane travel in April, he sure ain’t pointing to most readers here.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 152

Originally Posted by David

Just in response the question “when is Executive Traveller and the press going to start reporting on this as well?”

The issue of Qantas delays and cancellations has been solidly and continuously reported by the mainstream media – as anybody watching the news, listening to talkback radio, reading the newspapers or reading news websites can attest.

And that's why we haven't felt the need to cover this at Executive Traveller: because it's wall-to-wall everywhere else, and we quite honestly can't add anything to that extensive coverage.

Several factors guide our choice of articles, and how extensively a topic is being covered by the mainstream media is one of those factors.

If readers can obtain the information needed through mainstream sources, which also boast much higher levels of resourcing than Executive Traveller (as well as being almost around the clock) then we'd at best be duplicating that.

Instead, one of our strengths is to cover aspects which other media don't, or which they can cover without much depth or detail compared – that's what so many stories on Executive Traveller have greater relevance to our readers. We can devote an entire story to what's a few paragraphs – if covered at all – in other media. This focus is part of our ‘unique' proposition and it's part of what has made Executive Traveller such a success with our readers over the past 10+ years.

We do provide this forum as a place for readers to discuss issues not covered in our own articles, and as long as those discussions remain civil we don't delete posts. (As always, comments under Executive Traveller articles are subject to stricter guidelines, primarily being that they remain on-topic.)

Last editedby David at Aug 01, 2022, 08:40 PM.
@David

Considering that it ABT has become ET, I would assume that it is trying to cater to more international readers as the” global destination for the world's premium travellers”, although I must admit the content is still predominantly more useful for premium travellers originating from Oz.

International (and domestic) readers wanting to know about travel/aviation industry in Oz have a choice here: they either goto the various fairfax, Murdoch, ABC, and other so-called independent news outlets scouring for aviation news, or they can read articles featured in travel websites that is clearly based or heavily into Australian context.

And it appears that you are saying ET doesn't feature these articles covered by Australian media.

Please correct me if this is not what you meant.


Last edited by XWu at Aug 04, 08.15 PM.
Last editedby XWu at Aug 04, 2022, 08:15 PM.

aklrunway

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 09 May 2011

Total posts 180

Originally Posted by BrisHamish

Those of us who fly regularly know the current misery of constant QF delays and cancellations.

Yes, COVID is a factor, but most other businesses have gotten their act together by now. Perhaps its all the outsourcing, perhaps its the very low wages compared to other competing industries? Who knows? But in the case of QF, if you know you cant do a certain number of flights next week or the week after, why keep selling seats on those flights? It feels like cheating.

A proper manager, not the QF PR department, needs to be appointed to start making some proper (and hard) decisions here.

H.

Get over it. Take a look around the world and see that these problems aren’t only at Qantas but also at British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Canada etc etc etc.

You’re flying in a global pandemic, expect things to not always run as smoothly as they once did


sunnybrae

Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 21 Jul 2019

Total posts 32

@aklrunway

Did you also urge QF and other airlines to "get over it" when they received our hard-earned taxpayer money without our permission?

I assume that all here in this forum are courteous and mature adults, capable of maintaining basic manners, even in disagreement. A little respect between adults goes a long way here. It's what separates us from children and animals.


Last editedby sunnybrae at Aug 05, 2022, 03:04 PM.
Last editedby sunnybrae at Aug 05, 2022, 09:17 PM.

aklrunway

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 09 May 2011

Total posts 180

Originally Posted by sunnybrae

@aklrunway

Did you also urge QF and other airlines to "get over it" when they received our hard-earned taxpayer money without our permission?

I assume that all here in this forum are courteous and mature adults, capable of maintaining basic manners, even in disagreement. A little respect between adults goes a long way here. It's what separates us from children and animals.


Last editedby sunnybrae at Aug 05, 2022, 03:04 PM.
Last editedby sunnybrae at Aug 05, 2022, 09:17 PM.
Do you think the airlines like having disruptions? Do you think they’re doing it on purpose? They’re going through it at the moment. Acting like an adult towards their staff and being respectful goes both ways

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on When are we going to talk openly about QF delays and cancellations?

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