Qantas to close service desks at airports, lounges

Passengers will need to be more self-reliant when things go pear-shaped, the airline says.

By David Flynn, November 6 2020
Qantas to close service desks at airports, lounges

Qantas has confirmed it intends to permanently close its staffed service and sales desks across all Australian airports and lounges.

The airline says the move is a reflection of both the impact of Covid-19 in forcing cost-savings across the business, as well as the shift by passengers towards the use of apps, self-service kiosks and bag drop facilities.

However, the move will leave travellers with fewer options when it comes to flight disruptions and cancellations, as well as when they need to make last-minute changes to their own itinerary.

As first reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas will keep its staffed check-in desks "but lost-baggage counter hours will be cut and all other services will be self-managed."

Enhancements to the Qantas app would make it easier for travellers to perform tasks often done at a service desk, such as changing their seat or paying for oversized baggage.

Staffed service desks at the Qantas Club and Qantas Business Lounges are also for the chop, in what will certainly take the shine off the premium travel experience for top-tier frequent flyers.

The dedicated service desks at Qantas lounges will be axed.
The dedicated service desks at Qantas lounges will be axed.

"The main driver is an increasing shift towards people using our app to check in and manage their own bookings, particularly as we expand what the app can do," remarked Phil Capps, Qantas' executive manager of product and service.

"This was happening before COVID but it has accelerated significantly since. Given that shift, we can’t ignore the efficiencies that come with removing the traditional sales desks, particularly in the current environment."

Qantas staff have been told that while service desks would be removed, "we will have a team available at the airport to support time sensitive flight management and exceptions.

"Self-service isn't full-service"

Adrian Franulovich, the owner of Sydney Apple service specialist MacMedic, strongly disagrees with Qantas' decision.

"The only reason you use a service counter is because something has happened that makes you change your plans, it's a situation where you're already stressed, probably with an emergency of sorts."

Franulovich recounts flying with Qantas earlier this year from New Zealand to Sydney via Brisbane, when he was taken ill before reaching Brisbane.

"I wasn’t meant to be flying back to Sydney until the following morning, but I went to the service desk at Brisbane and the staff could see I was physically and emotionally distressed, so they could make a decision to help me right away and got me onto a flight to Sydney that evening."

"Nobody goes to the service counter to have a chat, it's always full of travellers dealing with delayed or cancelled flights, or tight connections."

A long-term Qantas Platinum frequent flyer, Franulovich typically makes 45 Qantas flights in a single year, with around two-thirds of those between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

"I fly with Qantas because I feel safe in certainty. If you're on already edge because of a cancelled flight or the need to change your plans at the airport or lounge, being on a long hold on the phone at one of the most stressful times in your day or week would have to make you question what benefits one airline provides over another and why you choose to pay its premium."

He also believes that removing the dedicated service desk from Qantas lounges will backfire on the airline, especially when dealing with "business travellers paying a huge amount for a flexible fare who need to change that booking."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 161

To be fair , at least there won't be a noticeable impact to call centre wait times. What's the difference between a three hour wait and a four hour wait on the phone?

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 237

Indeed. Granted, unless it's something urgent (like you just missed your flight and need to rebook onto the next one) you'll probably go home and get on the phone to the call centre. That stated, there are always going to be circumstances whereby in-person support is needed. Eliminating the airport service option is a bad idea; at least some sort of skeleton staff needs to be present at all times.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 285

Madness!

Or perhaps I have just joined the ranks of the entitled?

Never thought I will live to see this ever occur

JTG
JTG

Singapore Airlines - The PPS Club

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 46

So much for being a full service airline. This has certainly moved Qantas into the hybrid model.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 108

I would have thought having a Service Desk to provide on-site service to your customers was part of the definition of being a 'full service airline' ?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 63

Ludicrous... Exactly as it says in the article. No one goes to the service desk for a chat, they go there when they have a real issue...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2016

Total posts 26

Absolutely!! I hope this is not permanent.... 

I have NEVER had success with the bag drop system.... always need someone’s help! 

Thus I always use the bag drop (when more than hand luggage) Plus using the dedicated biz/loyal members counter seems to always be fast due... and ensures priority tags and thus it comes out faster... many of my bag drops have come out last round (biz and platinum) - not sure if everyone has this issue? 

Further; it’s actually nice to check-in (especially Brisbane) the seperate lounge entry space; where you can utilise the desk staff to check flights / if another option is available. Definition of “full service carrier” 

Not that there are many options at the moment... or travel!

- But surely this is not permanent? 

- prices for “full service” on upcoming trips since boarder has been opening; still seem over the top! Beyond “full service” ....$1050 economy Flexi or $1700+ biz one way to BNE v Syd/ Canberra!! 

Plus now that we are out of the worst and soon people are ramping up for Xmas travel... check-in assistance, change seats, upgrades at airport etc. seems a strange time to do this @Qantas

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 403

The check-in desks will still be staffed and there will still be staff roving in the bag drop area. So for example at BNE Premium entry, there will still be the check-in desk and staff to assist at the bag drop. But the service desk at the top of the escalator will apparently go.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 237

Much better to drive. Now with the Pacific highway between Sydney and Brisbane almost entirely upgraded to at least 4 lanes, flying at such ridiculously high prices is like burning your money.

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 285

@TheFreqFlyer

Would have agreed with you except that bottleneck at Coffs will take a few years to sort out (they were still in the consultation stage earlier this year). Waiting for Grafton to Balina stretch to be finished. And the M1 traffic between tugun and Nerang is ridiculous even on a Sunday afternoon (the pitfalls of relying on only one routine to service multiple major population centres)

Even when the pacific hwy is completely upgraded It’s still a long drive and time wasted on the road, arriving more tired than being on the plane.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1137

Will this service move the lounge entrance staff like it is in Canberra, and who looks after the showers (entrance staff again??)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 313

Qantas are claiming 'passengers' prefer to manage their bookings themselves via the app/website. 

Clearly based on the comments above, this is in fact not the case. A ridiculous decision by management.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 55

This is not one of those genuine "let's wait and see how it turns out" scenarios. As a passenger, you just know from the announcement this is bad news and no amount of QANTAS' claims that passengers much prefer to 'help themselves' out of sticky situations will convince anyone. What essential service will go next, Mr. Joyce?

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 47

It's all very well for Qantas to assume everything can be done via app, but they forget that there are still people who don't have mobile phones - yes, they exist. This decision means that my 94-year-old mother will no longer be flying on Qantas. And lest Qantas think they don't care about little old ladies because they don't bring much business, she only travels in Business and (overseas) First.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jan 2015

Total posts 15

I have 3 iPhones and I do not want to transact with Qantas via any of these.

If I am paying full fare then I want and indeed, demand full service.

$1650 return MEL- CBR in business will be out the window if I cannot go to the check in desk and actually speak to a real person.

It is well past time that the Board gave Joyce, the world’s worst CEO the sack.

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 345

Everyone was worried about Virgin becoming a Low Cost Carrier. Looks like Qantas has beat them to the punch with this bazaar move.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 161

.........waiting for the comments about how Qantas still provides crackers for dinner therefore making it a premium airline

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 556

"The main driver is an increasing shift towards people using our app to check in and manage their own bookings, particularly as we expand what the app can do," remarked Phil Capps, Qantas' executive manager of product and service

Perhaps Phil needs to read the reviews that the Qantas app has attracted on the Google / Android website. Some of it "ain't pretty".

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Oct 2014

Total posts 7

How will members do "in-lounge" upgrades, changes etc?

To be Platinum and use the First and Business lounges, but have no service desk seems very strange to me...

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 329

Sorry to be so blunt but Phil Capps you're drinking the kool-aid, LOTS OF IT. Anyone with an ounce of front line customer service experience will tell you that "front line" typically involves stress, anxiety, sudden changes, disruptions, quick thinking, out-of-the-rule-book alternatives, mixed emotions and tight deadlines. Apps and Self Service are all well and good when everything is well and good, but when it's not well and good apps and self service only go so far before human beings (i.e. the customer) becomes overwhelmed and the situation at hand implodes into a melt down. Exactly how are you proposing the Qantas APP and self service checkins are going to handle airports when the disruptions start banking up and your offshore call centres are famous for 2-3 hour wait times!!! You are just asking for bullets to be fired at you! Seriously rethink this one my friend because this is a "head rolling" strategy if ever I've seen one!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 24

I think it’s quite telling that Phil Capps was left to front this decision rather than Stephanie Tully. Qantas knows the decision stinks and their explanation (customers want it) is plainly disingenuous. 

This is a dramatic reduction in service standards. This is what you get when the federal government fails to intervene to ensure proper competition in what is now basically a monopolistic market. 

I have used all of the functionality in the app for years and still use service desks 3/5 times I go to the airport. The marginal gains from cutting these staff pale in comparison to the negative impact this will have on customer experience. It’s just going to be a nightmare to be at the airport during any kind of service disruption (which are frankly very regular) - even the premium line experiences huge delays when there is wind in Melbourne and Sydney. 

It will be hugely frustrating as a customer to be put in a position of not being able to speak to someone about a simple request, which would take a person 2 seconds to respond to but will require a customer to stuff around for 45 minutes on a call/using the website. 

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 544

Have some shame Qantas....you're a full service carrier-act like it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Aug 2013

Total posts 203

Yep...full service carrier on LCC budget.

Delta Air Lines - SkyMiles

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 102

I'd have thought the staffed check-in desks would be first to go, not service people. Looks like the writing is on the wall for the staffed check-in too.  Either way, this ain't no full service airline no more.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 403

In my (long) experience, the check-in desks process many, many more people than the service desks.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 146

It’s all very good and well until you’re at the airport and services are disrupted by a storm 

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 66

Qantas have had staff on the ground for years telling people standing in the check-in line that they "should" be using the self service check-in machines.

They get quite rude about demanding you leave the manned check-in line and go and use one of their machines, even if you are a quite senior citizen with no computer skills.

No doubt this is how Phil Capps can lie and say people are moving more to self-checking options. No doubt he gets a big bonus for "making this happen" regardless of the facts.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 237

Yes, I've noticed the same thing. It's definitely a cultural thing and Qantas is years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to insisting that passengers move towards self-service.

In Asia, at least developing Asian countries, although self-service has now started to become a thing, the vast majority of passengers still use counter check-in services, no matter their age or computer saviness.

Personally, I don't mind using self check-in options provided they work the first time round. Quite often, scanning your ID (especially at overseas airports) results in having to go to a counter anyway. At Australian airports, ID is generally not requested for domestic flights. You just enter your booking code and out pops your boarding pass and baggage tags if you're flying with check-in luggage.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 13

A sad day in the history of Qantas.

Shame on you Qantas...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2014

Total posts 18

And with Virgin gone, our choice is...? Wow, what an own goal to treat premium customers this way. What will be extra funny is the reaction from OneWorld passengers. Japan, HK and USA especially. I reckon it won't take too many irate Americans when they return before Qantas reverts in the lounges especially. Emerald passengers in Japan, HK and the USA are treated so well by the staff at American, JAL and Cathay lounges. Wow.

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 51

My future flying will remain to LHR, DFW, HK and SIN so makes sense to retain one world but other than the First Lounge in Sydney, there is not much of s premium experience likely in the future. CX are under the pump and BA have cut thier service to the teeth. Probably time to start thinking Star Alliance and SQ. Shame but that's the future of aviation now. 

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 237

I've been with Star Alliance for years and although I'm also a QF frequent flyer, their limited number of destinations (especially in Asia) means they're out for me. Aside from a return Sydney-Bangkok flight once many years ago, I've only ever used them for New Caledonia and New Zealand flights, but even to these destinations they've been cutting service over the years. Otherwise, Qantas is considered a domestic airline for me...although in recent years I've preferred to drive.

Qantas has been obsessed (for lack of a better term) with flying to destinations like Singapore and to a lesser extent Hong Kong, which already have over capacity and are served by several airlines. I really don't think there need to be more flights to Singapore. I mean, what's so special about that country? Much of the corporate travel that involves Singapore can be replaced by technology anyway. It's all banking, finance and services based.

They neglect or provide only a minimal service to China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, all popular destinations both for business and pleasure, resulting in airlines from these countries holding the lion's share of flight services to Australia (in some cases a monopoly). For mainly leisure destinations like Bali and Phuket, Jetstar flights are used instead of Qantas (that does make sense though). I guess QF will never be able to compete in terms of frequency, destinations served or service provided by the Asian carriers.

Therefore, almost all of my overseas flying is with Star Alliance based airlines especially ex. Australia. This means Air New Zealand on Pacific/USA flights (in the future I may consider UA as well), and UA/Air Canada in North America, THAI and SQ to/from and within Asia and to Europe.

Rxm
Rxm

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2017

Total posts 54

Extremely short sighted move. They might feel at the moment like they are the only option and can do what they like but it is a very poor call. When things go wrong we all would like a human to deal with. 

Amt
Amt

12 Nov 2018

Total posts 13

I'm sure they will still continue to pay two people to stand there and make sure no one manages to get into the lounge without the correct credentials or in a pair pop flip-flops.... 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jul 2017

Total posts 6

80% of the time the app works well for me.  However, we all know the chaos that flight cancellations cause.  Full service means that someone is there to help when things don't go according to plan.  Anyone that regularly departs Sydney in the evening, knows what can go wrong.  Self service just wont cut it.

07 Dec 2017

Total posts 5

I won't be paying top money to DIY!

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 5

I don’t have a lot of confidence in Qantas’ electronic “user interface” skills - the web site always ends up causing a lot of yelling because it is so frustrating, and I don’t use the app much because it just doesn’t seem to do a lot. I always seem to have to go back the the annoying web site.

But then, what other choice do we have? Qantas is pretty much the only game in town. 

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 39

I wonder how this will translate for international, where people wander off planes with no roaming, no mobile data, flat batteries, generally tired and disoriented.

As mentioned above, for a troublesome situation, nobody wants the added anxiety of getting on WiFi, finding the web site doesn't solve their problem, working out how to make a phone call, finding the right number to call, waiting for what could be 2 minutes or 3 hours, trying to find information that could be easily provided by showing a physical person their boarding pass, only to be told at the end to call their travel agent because they didn't book directly with Qantas.

06 Nov 2020

Total posts 1

I totally agree with Ardian Franulovich and similar posts. 

Another perspective but similar in flavour ... I'm in the cohort of seniors/retirees. I'm in my early 60's, and though retired I fly business and have Platinum. Did Qantas bothered to consult with its older clients or conduct user/marketing testing with seniors on this initiative?

I'm not a great fan or user of smartphones though I consider myself as relatively comfortable with technology - I know many seniors whom are not comfortable. My eyesight is failing and my fingers are less able than they were, as is my hearing. (I wonder if the senior cohort are aware of this wonderful-NOT initiative?)

There are also people with varying degrees of disability for whom using an app is not reasonable or practicable. (I may broach this as a human rights/disability issue, etc with the appropriate gov authorities)

18 Apr 2019

Total posts 2

I can understand that shutting the service desks may be a necessary cost saving measure. What I cant swallow, as others here have said, is the BS justification for doing so. I have also witnessed people being forced to use self check, so yes, more people are using it because they are given no choice! I am currently P1, but unlikely to retain as we can't fly very far - doesn't seem like I will be missing out on much when I do fly again...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 24

It is even more offensive when you look at their internal communication, where the whole move is basically blamed on customers. 

Colin Hughes (Executive Manager, Australian Airports) starts his email to staff with "As an outcome of COVID, there’s been a change in the way our customers want to interact with us. More people are choosing to self-manage their bookings, check in and boarding processes. Their feedback, which is understandable is that they prefer digital interactions over face to face contact”

The internal comms make it look like Qantas is hiding behind customers in sacking its staff. It just morally outrageous and so deeply offensive to customers that they would do that. They've clearly put some bogus push poll into the field - which almost certainly did NOT ask directly whether service counters should be closed - in seeking to justify this indefensible decision. 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 108

Good point, greg959. By looks of all the Qantas customers posting comments to this article, I can't see many saying how much they would prefer talking to a mobile app instead of a real person when they are in urgent need of assistance or trying to find a lost bag.

QFF

16 May 2016

Total posts 63

As long as the statements about app improvements are true. The QF app  is so far behind other global carriers in terms of capabilities it's shocking. 

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 16

As someone who normally takes over 150 domestic flights per year and around 10 international and have been P1 since inception, this is short sighted. You go to the customer desk with an issue - how will you quickly move your flight if arriving early, how do you ask for an on departure upgrade and and as for the comment we consulted our PAX well I most certainly was not asked!!!! Interestingly they couldn't even email their top tier FF to let them know prior to the media and when I rang the new VIP number to ask about the lounges I was told that the memo to them DID NOT mention the lounge desks being closed.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

26 Jul 2017

Total posts 5

Qantas has always claimed to be a full service airlines that cares for it's customers and claims the Lions share of the business market and they certainly charge a whopping great premium for it. Yet, they slap customers in the face by saying you will have to be more autonomous, effectively abandoning service of any kind. Cheapening the offer and not reducing costs to reflect this. There is no doubt that Qantas and airlines are in a world of hurt due to Covid-19, however this will pass and there will be a new normal and back to some semblance of normality. I am not sure that Qantas legion of loyal flyers, will embrace this, nor will they forget it either. I would suggest this brings Qantas back to the "pack" and it will become about price again, which will NOT serve Qantas well. This will backfire and the consequences could be significant. Again the words from Allan Joyce's mouth do NOT reflect his treatment of customers.....Shame on you!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 21

I guess this is what inevitably happens when the main competitor withdraws even deeper into “no frills”.

A bit of a race to the bottom.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Jan 2017

Total posts 13

I wonder if the First Class lounge will also be affected?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2019

Total posts 1

A disaster for seniors - many of whom are uncomfortable with apps. and smart phones. Many will think it all too hard and stay home. Sorry Qantas - a disgrace.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jan 2015

Total posts 64

As a once weekly Mel-Syd-Mel pre covid this move sucks. I was lucky that I didn't have cancellations often but on the couple of occasions that it did the service desk was great. Much quicker than calling reservations and holding along with the rest of the lounge 

02 May 2018

Total posts 6

Shame on you Qantas, what BS. No longer "full service" that's for sure.

Rumours that this is another step on the route to a merger with a UK budget carrier to form QeasyJet are said to be ill founded.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2017

Total posts 78

WOW this is very disappointing.  Should retain in the lounges or the business lounge. I completed over 49 return domestic flights last year and all with QF.  You pay a premium for the re assurance of service. The app will not let you change flights, upgrades or manage when cancellations occur.  Very disappointing.  So looks like REX VA and QF will offer very little in regards to actual customer service.  QF will regret this. One very annoyed Platinum 1 member with 80 staff that travel as much as myself!!!

I had problems some years ago because I needed to make changes to a Hobart Sydney flight and had foolishly allowed my staff to book a changeable Jetstar ticket. I arrived at the airport and tried to change the flight just before the 2 hour window before hand to save a long wait for the scheduled.  No service desk and no-one to ask what to do without waiting in a long queue.  By the time I reached the front of the queue and they told me I could only change online I was inside the 2 hour window for online changes and was stuck.

Business travellers pay extra for service. I assume that Qantas Club can still fix things but that does not help if you are travelling on that rare occasion with booked luggage. Big mistake Qantas.

Just went back and read the article not just the headline - no service in the Club either .... seriously this is what happens when there is no longer serious competition in the business market

11 Jul 2020

Total posts 63

My question is, if you have a connection with Australia and your inbound flight is late and you fall into the following categories, you are a mature Australian and dont use a mobile phone or you are a visitor from overseas ( when we have more international flights) and you dont have internet service and missed your connecting flight what happens then? I guess these are the steps Qantas is taking to stem the flow of cash losses due to the Corona virus pandemic.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 544

Either choose full service Qantas or get out of that sector and become a low cost. Stop with the BS and your 101 marketing dribble excise some junior came up with. It’s not just all about profits for shareholders.....remember there are paying customers, your most loyal, you have an equal obligation to. You are here for us; we’re not here for you. You are surely becoming “the spirit of Australia” because slowly you’re  screwing the life out of Qantas. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Nov 2019

Total posts 45

Its all over people. No more full service airlines in Oz. Plat One is meaningless. Ill start sitting in 29A, bring a bag of cashews and a couple of Bookers bourbon mini bottles, and save my bucks. Joycey is frothing at the bit to cut service desks in lounges and Wuhan Flu has been his excuse, bout time he took of back to Leprechaun Airways.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 283

Too bad if your not tech savvy like many elderly passengers are, where do they go, what a disgrace. Even Woolworths and Coles have people on their self serve aisles, whilst some of it is to prevent theft they are also there to provide assistance and customer service, QF need to be careful not to be petty and burn some of the good will that the community has at the moment toward them, it can disappear very quickly.  

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I expect they will in some form or other continue to offer some level of F2F assistance even if other employees take on those duties. Perhaps upskilled check-in or boarding gate teams? (The cynic change manager inside me suggests that there may be IR reasons not to announce this just yet if jobs are going and to be replaced by cheaper alternatives). 

Ultimately if they were to close the service desk today, then the queue at the attended check in counters would grow which doesn’t solve much. (Note also I think some people on here are confusing Service Desks for Check In desks). 

Maybe there will be an amazing updated app, or they finally fix the appalling impersonal call centre & wait times. Who knows, i don’t think we should panic just yet. 

15 Mar 2018

Total posts 39

As a P1 traveler who does multiple internal flights with OS connections or does OS flights with multiple connections, I've found self service can't do the ticketing and baggage checks to the end destination.  What's more there is no time to try and do the check-ins once in transit.  I'd just miss the flights.  Guess Qantas is saying go fly another airline.  They're kissing goodbye to this customer and the thousands I spend a year on flights.  But it is clear, they don't care, so why should I.  Based on the fees I pay, I have a choice of many airlines, so I'll just move my loyalty.  I'm already a FF with the competition.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 544

P1 was always a farce. P is more than enough for the likes of Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jan 2015

Total posts 15

i think that are aiming to drive all of us down to Nothing Bronze (NB).

This is a real kick in the guts for loyal customers. 

In the case of missed connections due to QF delays, the service desk is THE go to place for solutions. So, now the customer has to sort out their own solution to a problem caused by a delayed arrival for a connecting flight. 

The joy of travel has been diminishing for years now to the point it is a matter of how bearable it is. Now it is not even going to be bearable - just painful. So, beyond other airlines, the competitive set like Zoom, NOT GOING AT ALL, and other options are going to give QF the results they are bringing to themselves. 

An article in a travel trade newsletter the other day quoted Amazon as cutting USD$1bn from their travel costs in the past 6 months and that they are getting used to doing things without travelling. Microsoft are spending 95% less on travel. The new norm will be that corporates will be travelling much, much less and if it is a painful experience then who will want to ask or put their hand up to travel anyway?

Playing to the lowest level of service is not the way to win this game.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 May 2019

Total posts 24

Such an excellent point. Qantas is behaving like there’s nowhere else we can take our business. But this crisis has taught us that we don’t need to travel to do things effectively. Hollowing out the airline and cutting back on the few things that are good about it is a great way to keep people on the ground. Qantas’ competition isn’t Virgin - it’s Zoom and Teams, and an impersonal garbage product from Qantas is a great way to solidify loyalty to those competitors. 

15 Feb 2014

Total posts 6

So, Qantas is now a budget airline charging full ervice airline prices. The ongoing cynicism of what was once a great airline is disappointing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Apr 2020

Total posts 1

I fly QF platinum thanks to regular HK & UK business travel on OW. But not since Feb. Sounds like now's a time to finally ditch QF/OW, something status has always made me think twice about. No longer.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 13

Exactly. Good luck flying back to SYD from CBR with a westerly blowing and every flight after 3:00pm has had to be bumped.  Who exactly will be rescheduling us? Will the Lounge janitor or kitchen staff be calling passengers to “approach their desks”? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Dec 2016

Total posts 20

Imagine getting off along haul flight and no bags and no point of contact except a smartphone   Stress to the max  C moon Qantas rethink this one

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 47

Imagine getting off a long haul flight and no bags and no point of contact and NO smartphone. Even more stress.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Feb 2020

Total posts 13

Totally unacceptable. There are times ( urgent, last minute change ones and not always by the passenger...) that mean you cannot avoid a desk and the Contact Centre wait times are abysmal so useless. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2016

Total posts 80

Looking forward to those summer thunderstorms, cancelled connecting flights, hopeful accommodation, new flights the next day and no confusion with no service desk...'as if'.

23 Jul 2018

Total posts 2

On another note,  Qantas is to start direct flights to Cairns and Sunshine Coast from Canberra by Xmas.

17 Jun 2020

Total posts 161

How is this comment relevant to the article in any way?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Feb 2014

Total posts 10

I can’t believe this shortsighted mindset.  I take over 150 flights a year and am Platinum with both Virgin and Qantas and can’t believe this decision.  The amount of times I’ve had to get assistance from the service desks on a number of occasions, and the app can not replace the service desk team at all!  If Qantas are going to downgrade their service I may as well look at Jetstar, Virgin or now Rex.  No point being loyal as it doesn’t get you much any more.    Bad move Qantas

A real kick in the nuts for the loyal Qantas fliers.

CFG
CFG

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 2

Total disgrace- you support an airline for years, build loyalty credits which give some reward for your support and keep you happy to continue supporting it, and then it trashes your loyalty by binning the services upon which you based your loyalty?

I am old, mainly fly with hand luggage and check in at the lounge- limited smart phone use (don't like the potential tracking/provacy issues), so what now? No lounge check in is a total slap in the face for my relentless support of Qantas!

Think again Alan!

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 808

About a year ago, my domestic connection to SYD was delayed due to an aircraft failure during taxi and my connection to CGK was no longer possible.  This affected 14 people on the fight.  Once we returned to the terminal, our luggage was retrieved and we were directed to the service desk who booked us onto flights the next day as well as organising taxis back home or airport hotels for those who couldn't return home.  

Under the new plan, what is the process in this situation?  Do you log into an app and hope?  I can imagine you'd stumble around the airport with no clue what happens next.  HOPELESS!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Nov 2018

Total posts 4

What happens to all the people who are not savvy with a mobile or are handy capped? Sad to see that such a fine service gets axed for a few bucks.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

06 Apr 2012

Total posts 108

I think Qantas is losing sight of why business travellers choose to fly Qantas in the first place (and usually pay a premium to do so).

23 Jul 2017

Total posts 68

Like it or lump it, there are certain things passengers may need to do with the help of a person. Automatic booking and/or getting a boarding pass can be done with an app. That're a doddle, but there are so many times the intervention of a helpful knowledgeable person is vital. What's happening to the company? Sure, finances are going to hell in a handbasket, but tossing out good staff isn't going to endear customers to the company and bring in additional revenue. The fact that Virgin is in a mess means passengers, business or tourist, have little alternative than to stick with Qantas. Does management think these cuts will help get them out of the the current financial hole? Looks like the centenary year has turned into what the Queen called an annus horribilis (and 2021 could be worse without the service staff at airports).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

03 Oct 2016

Total posts 18

I'm a young "hip" millennial with no issues with tech and I HATE this change. Yes I prefer self service for basic things when things are going well. But when you are having a day that everything is falling apart. The service desk has SAVED me many times. I'm fine with dropping the airport desks but not the lounge. That's the premium place and honestly the lounge staff servicing the out of the box requests is where the real magic of status comes from. When the airline is having a total melt down due to some emergency/ bad weather. Lounge staff are a life saver. This change sucks.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 322

what a disgrace.i am in adelaide and took for granted what we had here when qantas had their travel stores in the city(initially king william street twice plus one in victoria square),salisbury and post the merger with australian burnside village plus don't forget 50 grenfell st as well.when all that disappeared anything went wrong it was either deal with it all online or wait for a long time on the phone or take a trip to the airport.what won't be missed in my case is close to an hour on the bus to do my qantas bookings issues at the airport but i wish they had a suburban store somewhere for the not so tech savvy for peoples dealings.

08 Nov 2020

Total posts 1

Previous posts are 100% correct re the absurdity of this decision. The brains trust obviously don’t deal with the distressed pax often elderly, incapacitated or non-english speaking stressing in the terminal. Dollars over humanity reflects badly on Qantas. 

Maybe just bad luck but my last flight with Qantas  - pre Covid - was pretty bad (juice spilled on the seat, dirty tissues in the front pocket, and my booked vegetarian meal was full of meat)

So definitely bye bye Qantas, this is getting ridiculous...

19 Apr 2013

Total posts 3

This is massive.

Sadly the only thing that will change it is if Virgin stages a comeback and Qantas needs to focus on service again

CP
CP

SilkAir - KrisFlyer

28 Mar 2017

Total posts 15

I travel once a year F to Europe and several J class flights domestically and thus I am a nobody to Qantas but my guess is there are many of us whom individually are nobodies but collectively, if we are unable to access service when we need it, will become a voice of discontent.  My husband reading this thinks that I am a dreamer ....... and I suspect, so does QF management.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

26 Jul 2017

Total posts 5

To be perfectly frank, Qantas standards and service have noticably dropped off at least 2-3 years ago and been in a steady decline, ever since There is nothing special about Qantas and the value of it's product is in an even steeper descent of decline. This is certainly a slap in the face of the millions of loyal customers, particularly business customers, who have paid over the odds on the promise of a premium product. This is the final straw for me and I hazard a guess, it will change many others attitudes between who they fly with. In my mind, Qantas don't care, as they think they will have little competition post Covid-19 as others have gone broke or simply had to dumb down their offering, just to stay afloat. Airlines are a tough business and now they are all staying down the barrel of their own existence. Recently, they were making mega profits and paying their CEO record remuneration, which is on the back of taking more from the customer and staff and growing the bottomline and the executive salary & bonuses. They charge like wounded bulls and deliver on the cheap. Dare I say it, in the eyes of Qantas executive, it's like "shooting fish in a barrel in Australia", so who gives a toss, give em even less.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 55

I agree with what you say but disagree on just one point. Service levels have been dropping for far longer than the past 2 - 3 years. I don't like playing the 'personality game' but the dip became quote noticeable in 2010, about two years into the reign of the current CEO. It hasn't improved one bit since. Been flying with QANTAS as a kid since 1980, and I think the golden age was in the 90s and early 00's in terms of service and standards. Yeah, the tech wasn't as good then, but it just feels so mechanical and 'un-special' now to fly with QANTAS.


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