Qantas pulls out of Perth: some options for WA travellers

By Chris Frame, May 13 2014
Qantas pulls out of Perth: some options for WA travellers

OPINION | At 8am on Sunday, WA time, the last regularly scheduled Qantas international flight left Perth.

With the departure of Singapore-bound QF77, Qantas will no longer operate any international flights from Australia's fastest-growing capital apart from short-term seasonal services such as the return of QF77/78  from July 3-21 and a twice-weekly Perth-Auckland flight from December 5, 2014 to April 26, 2015.

This is despite Qantas CEO Alan Joyce praising Perth for its "pace of development and the sense of energy and optimism that comes with it," and predicting that "WA will continue to play a lead role in the Australian economy."

So what are the alternatives any Perth-based frequent flyers who wish to remain loyal to the Flying Kangaroo?

Qantas is quick to point to its low-cost offshoot Jetstar Asia, which continues to fly the Perth-Singapore route.

In fact, passengers who held Qantas tickets for travel on QF77/78 after May 12 are being rebooked onto Jetstar Asia.

But let's get serious: Jetstar Asia is not Qantas. Business travellers who are used to booking business class on Qantas will not happily hop onto Jetstar Asia.

Nor will they cheerily fly from Perth to Sydney or Melbourne in order to connect to a Qantas international flight, adding over five hours plus transit time to their overall journey.

Certainly not to Asia, when Qantas' Oneworld 'partners' such as Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines and competitors like Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways all offer direct flights from Perth to their respective capital cities and international gateways.

Business travellers who value timely schedules, comfort and the ability to work, rest and relax during international travel will look seriously at these options.

Qantas' big hope is Emirates, which admittedly offers dozens of destinations in the UK, Europe and Africa with just a single stopover at Dubai.

And Emirates is an excellent airline. However, compared to travelling on Qantas, there are several shortfalls when booking an Emirates flight.

For many tall travellers, and those just looking to stretch out, being able to secure an exit row at the time of booking when flying in economy is essential.

While Qantas allow you to pre-purchase an exit seat aboard its aircraft, Emirates does not allow pre-allocation of exit row seats on any of its flights – even if booked via Qantas.

Perth customers wanting an exit row when travelling on a Qantas ticket to Europe now have to get to the airport early in the hope that an exit on the Emirates aircraft is available. 

The option to pay for the comfort of premium economy is also gone. Qantas offers one of the best premium economy cabins in the air, but Emirates has no premium economy – it's a choice between economy and business.

Also, there's no facility for upgrading from economy to business on an Emirates flight using your Qantas Frequent Flyer points.

Speaking of points, you'll have to be sure to book any Emirates flight from Perth as a Qantas 'codeshare service' under the Qantas QF flight number in order to earn your full serve of frequent flyer points plus status credits.

Read: Earn maximum Qantas Frequent Flyers points on Emirates flights

Oneworld partners

With Qantas’ shrinking presence in Perth, many WA-based travellers have taken to Oneworld partner airlines such as Cathay Pacific (to Hong Kong), Malaysia Airlines (to Kuala Lumpur) and Qatar Airways (to Doha).

However, from July 1, Qantas will reduce the number of status credits earned when flying on Oneworld partners by as much as half.

This is being done to encourage customers to fly internationally aboard Qantas aircraft – an impractical, time-consuming option for most Perth travellers – or on Qantas-coded flights on Emirates aircraft.

Read: Qantas slashes status credits for Oneworld partners

Many travellers choose Qantas because they like 'the Qantas experience' – something which is more than the sum of individual parts such as the airport lounges, seats, meals and service.

The uniquely Australian 'Qantas experience' means something to many thousands of Australian international travellers. But for Perth passengers, at least in the short term, this experience is largely a thing of the past.

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Maritime historian & author, Chris Frame is his most comfortable at sea – but when not sunning on a deck chair he can often be found high above at 35,000 feet (where being nearly 2m tall, he prefers business class!)

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

Burn all the points I have, watch my status soft land from Platinum back to silver (lifetime).  Once I'm at silver I'll discontinue my QClub membership and work on BFOD principle whilst altering my credit card to one that does not directly accrue with QFF.

QFi pull out of my hometown and I pull out of QFF.  Seems like a logical response as flying with them internationally does not make any sense whatsoever.

23 Sep 2013

Total posts 4

Yep. Already gone to Emirates and Cathay. No QF flight numbers at all anymore. Emirates for all my Europe and Africa travel, Cathay to get to Asia and North America. Everywhere else is a crapshoot, as it always has been. I do so little domestic travel that now I just go with whoever's got the best fare on the day out of Qantas or Virgin - it's rarely Qantas.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Dec 2011

Total posts 30

Should also mention the QF codeshare available on CZ flights to Guangzhou.

20 Dec 2011

Total posts 14

Five hours to SIN on a Jetstar A320? Let's mark that one as the masochist's option. The only winner here is Singapore Airlines.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2014

Total posts 7

I doubt that Alan and his senior management and marketing team have thought through the decision to leave Perth. They have not done anything to improve the woeful Jetstar Service out of Perth. JetStar will not fill the gap. The gamble is that we long suffering FFs from Perth will continue to use the Qantas domestic services. However I don't think this is true. It’s hard enough to accumulate status as it is. I believe people will wind down their Qantas loyalty and ramp up with Virgin which also includes Singapore air and Air NZ. Hey Virgin how about offering me an equivalent gold status and I'll swap today.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Dec 2013

Total posts 8

Agreed!!  Cant make status anymore flying out of Perth to Asia (and i'm not flying Jetstar Asia) so why bother staying with them.  I'm lifetime Gold so that covers me if i every decide to fly domestically with them, but incentive is to definitely build status with only viable option which is Virgin.  Status match would be good :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 181

Virgin did a general status match in 2011 I think,  not sure if they'll do it again.  Could be worth asking though.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 181

AJ has not thought it through at all and Qantas will loose a lot of business as a result, even on their Perth domestic flights. Many people pursuade their employer to send them QF with work because the status credits used to be good for QFi and OW lounge access but I think a lot will now switch to Virgin Aus domestic and SQ, especially given the recent "enhancements".

With half of my flights internationally leaving from Perth and the rest leaving from Sydney. I will continue to use my QFF account until I am lifetime gold, (thankfully not far away now), but i have already joined up with BA as their status credits/tiers are far easier to understand than CX and with QFF kicking me to the kerb with the status credit enhancements as well as ditching Perth, I am happy to send my business where there is still some reciprocal loyalty. 

Perhaps taking it a bit personal, however the customer isn't always right but the customer is always the customer.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Apr 2011

Total posts 21

Qantas, the airline for the east of the Great Dividing Range. They just don't learn (or maybe it's care). When they killed the ADL/SIN direct flight it was SQ that benefited. Now they've done the same thing in Perth.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

SAMAS (Sydney and Melbourne Air Services) might be a better name for them now! 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 445

What a great way to encourage business by making people hundreds of dollars out of pocket for Qantas's mistakes just because they chose for a little more comfort and got snubbed.

12 Feb 2014

Total posts 230

Suspect Joyce knows exactly what they are doing withdrawing Qantas from Perth and Adelaide. With an inferior product and nothing on the near horizon to replace it, they have withdrawn from the markets where the Asian top cats are lapping up the business cream. Rather than bleed profit in a battle they can't win, for now, the company is focussing on sectors and markets where it can. Pretty brutal for locals in Perth and Adelaide and a massive risk in terms of alienating key domestic markets. Qantas is both a domestic and international airline and it is a pain to have to spread custom across competitors thus diminishing loyalty rewards.

Even if QF were to maintain Adelaide and Perth to Singapore and HK via 737-800s, range permitting. Singapore in particular should almost be considered similar to a trans-Tasman service in terms of flight frequency, network coverage and aircraft type.

In keeping with the spirit of the Federal Budget that supposedly will hurt everyone, I reiterate my point for the epicentre of Qantas to move from Sydney to Darwin, resulting in most Qantas international flights flying non-stop.

That way everyone suffers and everyone gains.

An accident of history, whereby the south-eastern tip was colonised first should not result in a permanent state of affairs, especially when the geo-politics of our world is changing.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 341

Que cat fight at Qantas Trolly Dolly Towers

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

They'd best bulldoze that shed of an airport that serves Darwin and rebuilt it before they even consider anything of that nature.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 315

If QF were to indicate they want to do that Macquarie Airports would be all over building and owning the terminal.

03 Jan 2012

Total posts 96

A week ago, I sat with my Accountant and he indicated I spent over $98,000 flying with Qantas from Perth last financial year - all international.  I refuse to fly with Emirates on a QF codeshare as they robbed me blind several years ago. I've been Plat for ten years and I've got Gold lifetime with one World.  Simple fact is Qantas has lost my business to other airlines - and they don't seem to care - which is the really sad part.  They now are a one route airline for me - the trip to the USA via Sydney QF11 on the A380.  Every other flight is with another One World carrier.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 241

Qantas pulls out of Perth??? Perhaps the article can be re-titled to show it's just QFi pulling out.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 May 2014

Total posts 5

I have been Qantas Platnum for about 5 years and permanent gold for at least 3 years with all these changes that are happening i have decided not to be loyal to Qantas and will be looking for the best deal definetly wont be retaining Platnum this year.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Apr 2012

Total posts 5

My advice would be to contact Virgin Australia via email

or postal letter and request a status match. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 32

What's the AusBT community's opinion about joing the Etihad FFP..??

Looking at the very extensive list of partners across Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam, it seems like a good match.
Plus having Air NZ, Garuda, Malaysia, Virgin Oz, South African and soon Etihad themselfes all serve PER directly both domestically and internationally, it seems there isn't a place the Etihad conglomorate doesn't reach.
Through the eastern states or AKL there are a couple of options to the States as well.. 

They had a status match ongoing back in January which I handily made use of to enjoy lounge access on a PER-Europe return flight coming up in September, but surely they could be convinced to match again following these recent developments..?

I haven't looked in-depth at their accrual and redemption rates though..

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