Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says the airline's disastrous drop in market share has convinced him that it's time Qantas moved back to being a 'full service' airline.
Joyce told press that the airline had been inspired by the National Australia Bank's move to "break up" with the other big banks and remove monthly account-keeping fees and overlimit penalties.
"As CEO of the company, I am ultimately responsible for its success, and I am not at all ashamed to reverse any recent decisions that haven't been a commercial success," Joyce said.
"We are dumping unpopular fees such as our $20 seat selection charge and fuel and tax surcharges on Frequent Flyer award tickets, which can be up to half the cost of the normal ticket price," he said.
Joyce said Qantas would again offer inflight pillows and blankets on domestic flights for customers who wanted them, and exit row seating on an as-available basis at no extra cost.
"We are also pleased to announce that we are axing the $50 fee for a permanent baggage tag, so customers no longer have to print out their own baggage labels."
"In fact, we are reintroducing check-in counters for customers who prefer to drop their bag and check-in at the same time, with assistance from staff," he said.
"We will also allow customers to travel with more than one piece of baggage, and we will replace the 'muffin and apple' meal service with premium inflight meals that our customers will like so much that they will buy extras in-flight to take home to their family."
"We will also have metal cutlery again," he added, explaining that Qantas had secured an aviation security exemption after a study showed butter knives were ineffectual terrorist weapons.
Joyce said economy class customers would be allowed up to the front of the plane to use the business class lavatories, and that the airline was considering reintroducing dedicated smoking sections with hanging curtains which would seal the smoke out of the rest of the plane.
"We will also be handing out heated hand towels even on shorter domestic routes such as Sydney to Canberra, and serving warmed nuts half way through the flight," he said.
In a final touch, Joyce said Qantas would be retrofitting its entire fleet of planes -- even the A380s -- with plastic tube headphones, which he said passengers were welcome to keep after the flight.
"We have warehouses full of these headphones left over from the 1970s," he said. "We could give one to every passenger for the next 14 years and not run out of stock."
Happy April Fool's Day from the team at Australian Business Traveller!