Sunday, 21 August 2011

Qantas hoohaa

The press has been filled with Alan Joyce's announcement of what he will do for the ailing international arm of the airline. Nothing really new here - most had been leaked weeks prior, and even the loss of 1,000 jobs - which (although denied) of course will be picked up overseas as part of the new Asian based subsidiaries.

The unions reaction is also predictable. Who wants their membership reduced, and downward pressure on their salaries?  Unfortunately the international reality is that while demand for pilots and flight attendants has increased, the amount they earn has steadily decreased.

My surprise is the reaction of some of the Australian public, who still think of Qantas as an Australian Icon. It's a shock to me that the Australian public thinks that 'I still call Australia home' is anything more than a marketing ploy. (Australian media education is still obviously in a parlous state - despite shows like the Gruen Transfer)

In the 70's and 80's I remember giving my loyalty to TAA and Qantas because they were government owned, and so any profits went back into the commonwealth.  Well that hasn't been true for a long time.

Now, I tend to spend my international travel $'s with Asian airlines - for a couple of reasons:
  • They tend to be cheaper
  • they have better service
  • their Frequent Flyer schemes are as good if not better for redeeming flights
  • they treat economy passengers better

Domestically - I still spend with Qantas. My reasons are
  • travelling Jetstar is both uncomfortable, not that much cheaper, and a service free zone
  • Virgin - are not that cheaper, their service is about the same, but I have to pay for the extra's
  • Tiger - no comment
  • I payed up front for a few years of Qantas Club membership - so until that runs out, I will remain faithful
But the whole industry appears to be in a bit of flux. After a recent experience travelling to the USA on the incredibly well thought out and delivered service of V Australia Business Class, and using the Virgin Australia lounge in Canberra, and being impressed with the service - maybe Virgin Australia will become my new preferred airline - both domestically and  internationally.

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