QANTAS customer experience in nose-dive

Having written about the importance of customer experience and the way in which news travels fast in the 21st century, I thought I’d share my very recent customer experience with One World and Australian airline, QANTAS.

I arrived at Los Angeles airport this evening for my flight home to Australia. I went to the QANTAS check-in counter. My QANTAS customer experience was about to nose-dive very quickly. Not happy QANTAS.

Firstly, the check-in clerk couldn’t get the computer terminal to read my passport.  Another person came over to try and get the computer to read my passport details for the check-in procedure. No go. Finally, a third person came over and magically the machine worked. Apologies all round for the faulty terminal but at last it worked.

At the same time, my checked-in baggage was 4kg over the recommended weight. The check-in clerk quickly informed me that I’d have to pay a USD35 charge. In my 25 years of air travel I have never been forced to pay for baggage a couple of kilos over the recommended weight so I was mightily surprised by this.

Now, I weigh less than 70kg and a couple of extra kilos extra on my luggage isn’t going to make much difference.  I am well under the average male weight, especially over here in the US.  I mentioned this self-evident truth of male proportionality to no avail.  I was told that she was just following orders (yes indeed). I would have thought the check-in clerk could have shown some common sense, especially after I made it clear that I was not happy with the “service” and that my last flight with V Australia was eminently more pleasant. So much for flying the “Spirit of Australia”.

To add to the poor customer experience, I was led to another check-in counter where I was asked to pay the USD35. I gave the chap USD40. He had no change and began yelling out behind the counter if someone had $5. After a short while, a fellow check-in operator proffered the $5 change and that was that. Oh dear, how professional was that transaction!

I will head back to Sydney hoping that my QANTAS experience improves. I will certainly be writing a letter of complaint to QANTAS about the whole check-in fiasco. The response from QANTAS will have a major bearing on whether I choose to fly QANTAS again. I am sure V Australia will be more than happy to get me to the US – they really understand the importance of customer experience and do their best for the customer at all times.

Customer experience – try and understand what that means QANTAS.

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3 responses to “QANTAS customer experience in nose-dive

  1. And now you know Brad why I travel Emirates – I gave up on Qantas a couple of years back. In-flight service had taken a downward spiral; everyone seemed to have attitude. And after an experience with them at the Qantas counter in Hong Kong, I avoid Qantas as much as I can. Spirit of Australia? what happened?

  2. Kim,

    Yes indeed. Airline companies have to realise that the check-in counter is the first direct human contact a customer will have with the airline. That customer service experience is critical for the success of the onward journey, no matter how nice the service of the flight crew onboard the aircraft later on. The damage has been done.

    The customer-airline interface needs much more care in my opinion, and some good ol’ fashioned common sense.

  3. Your experience brought this recent article to mind, from Richard Dawkins’ airport experience!

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2011/02/richard-dawkins-rule-following-heathrow-security/

    Good customer service from an airline still can’t erase the ridiculous, dehumanizing and insulting treatment from security at the airports. 😦

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