QANTAS/QATAR: Qantas staff stripped of discount business class upgrades on Qatar
It’s been known for some time that Akbar Al Bakar at Qatar Airways, and former CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, don’t see eye-to-eye. At times, that has been on public display. But what we didn’t know is that it could descend into tit-for-tat retribution for Qantas staff.
Content of this Post:
Qantas Staff discounts
AFR reports that Qatar Airways currently offers Qantas staff highly discounted business class fare upgrades. We are talking one 10th of the usual retail sticker price. This perk has been popular amongst Qantas staff, understandably, with many taking advantage of this on a regular basis. After all, Qatar Business Class – or ‘QSuites’ in its signature cabins, is regarded as one of, if not the best, business class in the air.
Qantas has just advised its staff that access to these seats at those deeply discounted prices has been rescinded. After 18 September, they will no longer be available. Qatar will then revert to its standard obligations under the Oneworld membership agreement. That’s not access to discounted business seats. That’s merely access to economy. See you in cattle class, sweeties!
If staff want Business Class, then they will be paying full-fee. And without that additional access to Australian air rights, those full-fee business class fares are going to remain high.
Reader Chase tells me
One of my blog readers has commented on the mechanics of how this is done. You can read his explanation down in the comments. Essentially, there are ‘ZED’ categories of fares for stand by within Y class (Economy) and J class (Business).
‘Depending on the ‘closeness’ of the carriers relationship, the ZED chart is further broken down into low, medium, and high brackets. So this is just QR rescinding QF employee access to ZED J rates but still allowing for interline travel in Y.’Chase
Chase notes that that such restrictions are not unusual.
Recently, Qantas has been known to covertly (at least) campaign against Qatar Airlines, to increase access to Australian skies. In the most recent controversy, Transport Minister Catherine King refused an additional 28 weekly flights by the carrier into Australia. The reasons given vary but have included the financial viability of Qantas, the security of Australian Airline jobs, the invasive searches of Australian female passengers after a baby was found abandoned at Doha Airport, and the ‘distortion’ of the Australian market.
Add to that a new partnership with Virgin Australia and CEO Jayne Hrdlicka’s request that the decision to refuse Qatar additional air rights be reopened, and you can see that Qatar has become a somewhat divisive organisation.
Looks like an unintended consequence of Qantas lobbying against additional flights by Qatar Airways into Australia is the loss by Qantas staff of a prized perk – the ability to upgrade to Qatar Business Class – often known as QSuites, at a vastly discounted rate. Many Qantas staff members will have to re-think their holiday plans now.
Might make a few staff re-think attending Alan Joyce’s reputed farewell at Sydney’s restaurant of the moment Clam Bar.