Qantas Platinum frequent flyers: how important is 'recognition'?

By David Flynn , February 18 2014
Qantas Platinum frequent flyers: how important is 'recognition'?

Talking point | For all the chatter about Qantas being in 'cuts, cuts and more cuts' mode – jobs, routes, services and anything else which can keep a lid on costs as the airline faces an estimated $300 million loss in the July-December 2013 period – the Flying Kangaroo is rallying its frontline staff for a renewed focus on service.

Earlier this month saw the leaking and circulation of 'the Qantas Service Promise' – a customer care doctrine for all Qantas International flights.

"The Qantas Service Promise defines the minimum acceptable level of service our customers expect and are entitled to at all times throughout their experience with us", the document begins, before laying out five 'cabin essentials' of recognition, meal services, comfort, refreshments and the environment.

The document then explains how these services are delivered and differentiated between each cabin class, from first to economy.

What caught our eye was a reinforcement for the personalised greeting offered to top-tier Qantas frequent flyers in the economy cabin.

Highlighted as one of the 'cabin essentials' for economy, the inflight team are to 'identify Chairmans, Platinum One and Platinum Frequent Flyers, using their names throughout the flight. 

Of the many passenger touchpoints available throughout a journey, this could seem to be one of the least significant. It's certainly not a make-or-break moment.

Yet among frequent flyers, this personalised greeting often seems to be a yardstick for how well – or how poorly – the airline is doing on the customer service front.

If you're a Platinum-grade Qantas frequent flyer, just how important is this personal recognition when you're travelling in economy? And how is Qantas' track record holding up for recent international flights you've taken?

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2014

Total posts 19

Qantas use to greet top tier frequent flyers in all cabins 15 years ago or more.

You use to see the Flight Service Director walking through with the printout!!

It will take more than that to change Qantas.  They need to get staff out of galleys chatting and reading magazine and newspapers or look what SQ does.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 54

Little things can make a big difference.  Personal Greetings make you feel like you are wanted....you have options & on some routes & out of some Ports it is very easy to spend you $$s on alternates.

I agree with Mark_S some crew are somewhat blase & treat sectors however long or short as travel & not as a travel experience.  I do see the CSD/Mgers & CSSupervisors with the IPad now.  A small of better headsets or amenitys or PJs !!! make you come back.

We will see next time...

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

Since I've been platinum I've flown internationally about 15 times and never once I have received a special greeting. Would be nice if they did, but doesn't bother me too much that they don't. If not for reading about it here I wouldn't think it was a thing.

However I was once on a 1 hour Dragonair flight from KWL to HKG and the stewardess welcomed me before takeoff and offered to get me a drink right after take off before everyone else. If that counts :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 May 2013

Total posts 27

I have to say I'm probably on the other end of the scale, probably mananged to get the high point on the inconsistency bell curve.  On my last 5 international flights over 2 years  I have had a personal greeting from the CSM and some chit chat about my destination or " how was business"  when returning home.  The FA's were also very good and I think on a couple of occassions they even tried to force feed me more food for brekkei because apprently I " hardly had anything".  I ( along with other plats) usually got the PJ's 5 minutes before the rest of the cabin to give us time to change first and on some occassions drinks orders were also taken first.  I suppose it does make a difference because they make you feel like you( or your wallet anyway) are important  (a little embarrasing sometimes) and for me personally I'm happy to forego other things because the product suits my needs and personal attention doesnt go astray. Its nice but not expected which is why It makes an impression on you.  Im just a plat ( 3 years) and my sectors were across the pacific and up to singapore.

In domest business and ecnomy the recogntion is incosistent but I suspect that on the major routes like BNE-SYD-MEL-PER ( during peak business travel times)  there are usually high numbers of high tier FF's so I'd imagine the CL and P1's would get a greeting and then how long is  piece of string... do you greet everyone else on a high volume of top tier FF's on a flight?

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 98

In my experiences over the last eight years, I've found Qantas to be inconsistent in this regard. Sometimes there will be no special greeting, sometimes there will ("Sir" or "Mr so and so"), and other times, but very rarely, it will be mate. As BNE0077 alludes to, it's not a big deal, however, when there is that warm greeting, it leaves a lasting impression on you and (usually) makes for a nice flight.

Curiously, every time I've flown on EK metal since the alliance started, the greeting has always been very warm (often much warmer than onboard Qantas) and has never strayed (pardon the pun - Straya) from "Sir" or "Mr so and so." Curious given Qantas is my 'home' frequent flyer program and not Skywards.

Though I must say, in the last six months, and especially three (i.e. since the new uniforms were donned), I've noticed a considerable change. Crew seem to be much more enthusiastic, warm, friendly and chipper. Furthermore, the greeting at the plane door has always been "Sir" or "Mr so and so." So kudos to Qantas, sure the airline is facing some tough times at the moment, but these small changes and differences don't go unnoticed.

22 Jun 2013

Total posts 98

Just adding to that, once onboard, the visit from the CSM with the newspaper, glass of champagne, amenities bag, set of PJs or Fastrack card make a huge difference. It's these small things that really add up. I've found Qantas' consistency in this area in my experiences over the last eight years to be very good.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Dec 2012

Total posts 66

When I recently Flew EK in Y I was warmly welcome by Name... Was a surprise as Im on QC, not a high-status flyer.

Sometime flying on JQ (yes I knw!), I have been welcomed as Mr 'so and so'... so its great being recognised... Its not essential, but it does 'add' to the service experience.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Nov 2012

Total posts 47

Having spent a lot of time as Platinum and now a mere gold, I think that QF could do very well to greet all levels of FF with a level of warmth and gratitude. I'm now gold because QF flies nowhere anymore (esp from Mel) and I dislike Emirates.  Last few flights on QF the FA's, as Mark pointed out, spent more time eating and yacking in the galley.  I didn't need anything, but it's a really bad look.  Their Asian counterparts simply don't do this.

Have flown J and PE on several competitors lately and have to say QF has a long way to go in service, but then again, Australian service in General is more relaxed, but in a global economy, one can't afford to be the weakest link in a competitive industry.  Even with no status on another airline in PE I was personally warmly welcomed and caught myself being amazed by that, which of course I shouldn't have been. 

Now, if only QF flew where I wanted to go at times that make sense at a price that is reasonable, maybe I'd be back to Platinum and experience all these new service KPIs.

01 Feb 2012

Total posts 370

Agree with your post so much.

18 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

This standard hasn't changed over the past 10 years.  Having citing a copy of the annual service fundamentals  from mates it has been in there for many years.  The problem is with under performing cabin crew and ground staff.  Sure its a nice touch but with all things its all with the delivery.

As mentioned here, seeing someone wonder walk around aimlessly looking at the highlighted name and FF status and a blank "hello here's your water" is worse than no comment at all.

It is about time Qantas properly performance manage out the awful crew who are running the show.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

This.

The main letdown for QF is the inconsistency. I've had some truly excellent crews - I remember one 767 dinner run MEL-SYD in particular, where my seatmate and I received a warm, 'Good evening gentlemen, would you like to join us for dinner tonight?' before being informed of the flight's dinner service (for the record, it was chicken and fusili in cream sauce) and being poured our drinks.

On the other hand, I've had disinterested crews who point to the water dispenser when I ask for a refill of my water. Seriously?

Then, on my last QF 6 SIN-SYD, a crew member apparently tried to skip out of the economy breakfast service because her uniform had some damage, ultimately culminating in a three-way crew argument in the forward galley on the 'K' side.

Then you have other issues, like cabins old enough to attend secondary school; equipment old enough to vote; international breakfasts that make domestic breakfasts look fit for an emperor.

When QF is good, they're really good; when they're bad, oh my god.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 14

An example of the benefits of personal recognition: at our school, we aim to treat each of our students as people first, and a enrolment/fee paying customer second. We recognise that their experience at our school must be personal and their learning will be enhanced if they are valued as a person rather than merely a source of income. Does it cost money to implement such an approach? Of course it does but as a result we have seen our enrolments grow steadily over the past several years.

Wouldn't that be a novel (and possibly controvercial) approach for an airline to take...

QFF

12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1446

To be honest I don’t give a damn if they call me by name. If they do their job properly and service me promptly I do not really care if they call me by The Title, First and Second name followed by Surname or just say “Passenger A17”. In my books this definitely sits at very bottom of the list. Frankly during my last fly with QF in biz, I was incredibly impressed by crew. It was compiled from older males and they managed to service incredibly promptly, but absolutely non intrusive. I particularly appreciate second part – well so often service is way too intrusive to be comfortable. And greeting by name only adds to intrusiveness. YMMV.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I will be honest - some of the best QF crews I've ever had were the older blokes, even though some of them have a way of describing the meal service in a detached tone that just has inverted commas hanging over the cabin.

01 Jan 1970

Total posts 0

The personal touches are important in a highly competitive business travel sector.  At the risk of sounding like a snob, it makes a difference when I know they bothered to remember my name rather than as 29 Charlie on a flight.  However, recognition is not a substitute for all other aspects of service - just because they remember my name doesn't mean I am any less annoyed or put out when the lounge PCs' internet or printer is down, having ran out of newspapers, serving me a biscuit as my inflight meal, and then losing my checked baggage.

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

It is nice to be recognised... that goes without saying, but just using a name isn't the biggest priority for me. It is more about the overall service by the cabin crew and how you are made to feel when you fly, regardless of what cabin you are in. Everyone should be made to feel special, and it can be as easy as having a genuine smile or using the right tone of voice when dealing with passengers. Perhaps as a Platinums and Platinum Ones it is about providing that extra step above this to recognise us as loyal customers, but if the service overall is good, then we are all happy.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 298

The most recognition I've received in two years as a QFF Platinum (not 1) was on CX flights, via being op'd up.  Not the mainline QFd has been horrible at all, in fact some of the crews have been great.

QLink flights to regional WA are pretty ordinary in comparison to QLink to regional Qld.  

Therein lies the biggest problem, so many brands (QFi, QFd, QLink not to mention Deathstar!!) and the inconsistencies within the brands.

I won't have to worry soon as a change of jobs has seen the travel virtually dry up and my holiday this year has seen me burn all my points into some CX J flights!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Oct 2013

Total posts 5

Sometimes 'work instructions' can become silly.

Ive been a PlatOne for two years due to far too many SYD-LAX flights - bc of that, by far the greatest PlatOne reward is the PlatOne Service Desk that looks after you before even boarding the plane.  The spa appts in the First Lounge for day of departure and of course the upgrade (or more certainty if you use points - 100% confirmation prior to departure date).

Name recognition would have to be well down the list.

On domestic routs, SYD-MEL only really, the name recognition and 'guidelines' can become a bit funny.  Ive been told 5-6 times that I have really nice glasses by the crew (and given theyre pretty simple glasses--   Thats a bit too coincidental).

Keep supporting me PlatOne desk and you can call me Mickey Mouse for all I care...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

"Pleasure to see you again, Mickey."

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2012

Total posts 371

As a platinum member on international, I have only once not been greeted by name on  JFK to LAX. I was flying business.  This was a SYD based crew.  Other encounters in Business or First the level of service and recognition gas been excellent.

Domestic is a different beast.  Inconsistent service and about 75% greeted.  On a recent flight from BNE to MEL, the CSM grunted at me and all the other passengers. He was an older man.  I was flying in J.  While once on a PER to KTA, I was flying economy and CSM came up to me and all the Platinums individually.

What is important to me is quality service, good product offering, help when I need it and recognition.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 Oct 2013

Total posts 5

I've alway been greeted by the CSM & the CSS's and I think it makes a big difference when someone comes to greet you if you are actually smiling and willing to look them in the eye and remove your headset. 

I've seen crew be flipped away when trying to greet other platinums beside me by being grunted at and people so rude they won't take their headset off to even accept the recognition by listenting.

As I've said before, everyone is out to bash Qantas , imagine being one of these poor crew going to work having to individually greet a bunch of pigs like us that hate them anyway, and they know it.

I guarantee those of us who say they have never had recognition are the surly looking ones who can't even say hello back or smile when we hop on.

I don't expect a greeting between syd and melbourne, impossible, i do expect it on an international flight.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 May 2012

Total posts 371

@peterg...Your statement is very inappropriate! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Mar 2013

Total posts 67

From what I've read this thread was targetted for Platy responses , however seems like some non Platy's who like to winge about QF have added their 5 cents worth. Note my comment isn't about the articles content itself.

18 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

In my book recognition as a customer paying for any product or service is essential and keeps me coming back to the service provider.

I fly in and out from Adelaide at least twice a week and always find the staff in the lounge and onboard very aware of using my name and welcoming me back. It appears they want my business and I have seen a real improvement in the last couple of years.

Much to my suprise I was even wished a Happy Birthday and given two small bottles of sparkling to celebrate the day onboard with my wife, earlier this year I was also congratulated for achieving Platinum Status which was a great touch 

IMO it is those little things things that keep me coming back and make me feel valued and connected as a Qantas FF.

I have the same FF status on VA and its not always the case, friendly enough but just not as consistent or polished as the recognition I get on a Qantas flight. 

The times I've flown internationally with Qantas in the last year its also been the same, whenever they have a chance they call me by name. Cant say the same for the customer experience Ive recieved at any other retailer lately and they have my name on the plastic card I hand over to pay for the good or services.

I say good job Qantas your doing a lot better than others.

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

I have generally had good experiences with QF in terms of recognition - cabin staff using my name and being greeted no matter where I have been sitting on an aircraft. I think any business is smart to offer personal service when possible, things like that can surely only add to an experience.  

Quant spa

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

I have flown with Qantas for a good part of at least 20 years now. I have also been a long standing member of the chairmans lounge. Although I have not flown economy for the last few years I can say that in business and first class a greeting by name makes a lot of difference to how I feel about customer service. From experience I can also tell you that other airlines don't do this. This is among many things that makes the Qantas service stand out from other airlines.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2013

Total posts 469

I been a plat 1 since its inception and prior to that plat for many years.I find status is really what you make of it.While there has been some erosion in some of the plat benifits,there have been other great enhancements.I do find apart from some special P1 events many of which i can not get to being US based,most of the benifits i get are now also available to Gold FF which i have no issue with.My experiences with Qantas over the years have generally been great as i would not fly them,and while i all ways are greated by name i would rather see Qantas being more proactive  than reactive when it comes to new in flight products and services.Just give me a 4 great sector service to LHR or 2 from LAX and i would be more than happy,but they do seem to be challanged in this area.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

It's a nice idea but I can't see the current QF crew doing it - they just don't care enough.

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

Recently my wife and daugter flew from Perth to Melbourne using my QF points and they were given extra special attention because of my Platinum status.  This kind of service isn't expected and to be honest is too rare in Australia.  For those of us that experience SQ levels of service it really makes a difference.  Well done Qantas, this does encourage me to fly QF.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I've flown to Singapore a few times with Qantas, travelling with a colleague who is Platinum. For my sins of switching most of my domestic flying to Virgin I am now down from being QFF Platinum to Silver! Anyway he's got the personal greeting each time, the FA comes through with the passenger list and you can see they are ticking off all the Platinums. My mate says he is not really fussed about the welcome itself but it's nice that he knows they know who he is, in case there is an issue in flight with meal or service or something he reckons this is a bit of 'insurance' to help him get looked after better. But the actual greeting itself is no big deal.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

14 Feb 2014

Total posts 32

its just to get inline with emirates operations. 

once they see it as a less of a chore service might improve

05 Jul 2012

Total posts 13

A rather quirky experience in Business Class (Sydney to LA) last year: was told by the female flight attendant that they weren't serving a Pinot Noir as they have found it "too watery".  Butter on all my business class flights (Sydney to LA, LA to JFK, JFK to LA and LA to Sydney) was rock hard and I mean totally unspreadable.  It was little things like that that would really piss me off I personally had paid for the flights...

19 May 2012

Total posts 3

Recognition for me goes hand in hand with the status, as a SQ Gold PPS I have not been recognised for my status once in the past 7 business class flights.  However flying AKL-BNE recently in Y my wife infant and I were thanked for our patronage by the onboard staff.  Makes the journey that much nicer

19 May 2012

Total posts 3

edit the AKL-BNE leg was on QF

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 39

dazzaredroo i am a lowly bronze FF. i read the full story and comments. sorry for reading something that i should not have. not being platinium or even silver. at the end of the day you arrogent pig, you are only human like everyone else and will end up in the ground like me. where will that platinium level get you than? maybe people are interested in reading about planes, airlines and changes. stop thinking you are above everyone else and become a human again. and SNAP, your little rant is nothing more than a winge itself.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

iamwil: there's no need for name-calling here, mate, and this is no place for it either. Please stick to discussing the topic at hand. Just because you don't agree with somebody doesn't mean you have to descend to personal attacks.

26 May 2012

Total posts 150

I think in an age where you can check in and sail through the airport without so much as a hello from anyone (by design, mind...) it is great to have a personal g'day on the flight and an appreciation by someone. 

I always like meeting the staff anyway, especiallt the CSMs... I find they're always interesting to have a yarn with.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 39

David. "No platy's" is not name calling. It's one upmanship. Did I upset another stuckup platinum member. Boo hoo. Bite me! Would I like to be platinum? You bet I jwould. But as the saying goes, "clothes don't maketh the man". 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

Iamwill: "at the end of the day you arrogent pig" is name-calling, and "bite me" is also out of order. Settle down, mate, okay?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 387

The personal greeting is a very nice touch, it makes you feel welcome but that is just the start and that sort of attention needs to carry through the entire flight. A reasonably recent QF flight in business SYD/LAX/JFK really provided poor attention from the two crews, neither CSM made an approach to introduce themselves or provide a welcome to me and I am Chairmans Lounge and platinum - there was nothing special to comment on - one crew member even raised his voice at a close colleague of mine. On the same service again next week, would be nice if its different.

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 10

I noticed a massive difference in January on flights to and from Tokyo. The new iPad app has made a difference because it's available to all flight attendants, and at a glance the staff can match a seat to a particular passenger, status and name.

It was most noticble in two ways. Firstly while waiting in the cabin for the bathroom the be available, I casually said hello to a passing FA. They immediately replied back with my name and asked (genuinely) how the flight was going. I took the opportunity to request something at my seat later, which I found out later was promptly entered into the iPad notes.... great for ensuring nothing is forgotten.

What was even more striking about the new system is that a friend of mine back in November was affected by storms leaving Sydney. The flight to Japan was unable to leave before curfew. It has already been filled with passengers and catered. The next morning, the replacement aircraft was flagged in system as already having received catering. As a result, the new flight had limited food.

A complaint was submitted via phone on his return, but nothing seemed to happen.

But on a flight recently, he was approached by a FA with an iPad. They asked if he was Mr so-and-so, then spoke quietly in galley. He apologied on behalf of Qantas and then upgraded him as a show of the apology.

I suspect that the complain had integrated into the iPad app. Integrating systems to allow FA's to do their job more effectively is excellent.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

"'identify Chairmans, Platinum One and Platinum Frequent Flyers, using their names throughout the flight."

 

Ugh. No.

I hate my name. The last thing I want is to hear it throughout the flight.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Being treated with care, respect and attention together with a quality experience from check-in through to baggage claim is as much of what drives loyalty as routes and schedules when frequent flyers choose which airline to fly. As a QF Platinum frequent flyer for the past 6 years (the past 18mths as Plaltinum One), I do very much appreciate the personalised greetings and being referred to by name. My parents did not name me "Sir" so I actually hate being referred to in this way. I don't even like being referred to as "Mr AWA2602" and much prefer just being addressed by first name; something which only happens when I fly QF (irrespective of class of travel) so they've obviously taken note of my preference at some point and make it known to the crew. I fly SQ, CX and EK regularly (generally when in Business Class) and get a mixed bag of "Sir" and "Mr AWA2602" which I don't mind so much because they don't know me as well as QF, but when I'm in Economy on any of these carriers it's always just "Sir" which just highlights a very small but subtle difference compared to being addressed by my first name on QF.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Mar 2014

Total posts 22

I'm sure you've heard and experienced - little things make a big difference. And while there's no expectation it's and "inclusion" in the ticket price, it's one of those low-cost high value touch points. And Qantas is doing it well! Love the fact they've created a simple 5 Point cabin essentials per class - the sort of thing that can be monitored and delivered. Yes there's some work to do but from a Plat QFF we all have a vested interest in its success.


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