Qantas passengers left furious over hours-long call centre wait times

qantas

Qantas passengers are demanding the airline hire more staff amid reports of dire customer service, including call wait times of several hours.

One petition calling for the airline to hire more call centre staff in Australia has amassed more than 20,000 signatures — many of them in recent days.

“Qantas is exploiting COVID as a guise to prioritise poor customer service and capitalise on creating further disadvantage for regional Australia,” the petition’s creator Ingrid Miller wrote.

Although the petition was created in August, it only had about 2000 signatures until its numbers exploded over the Easter long weekend.

Ms Miller said she surveyed dozens of people and claims that the average wait time on hold with Qantas is as much as five-and-a-half hours.

Qantas did not respond to a request for clarification, but when The New Daily attempted to ring customer service at midday, the airline advised a wait time of one to two hours.

Australian Frequent Flyer editor Matt Graham agreed that Qantas passengers are “routinely left waiting” for upwards of six hours on hold.

Mr Graham recently compared the call centre wait times of four Australian airlines.

“Qantas is by far the worst. No question,” he told TND.

He gave up trying to reach the airline after waiting on hold for two hours.

Jetstar and Virgin Australia connected him to a real person almost immediately, while Rex also picked up the phone after a 17-minute wait.

Behind the scenes, Qantas call centre staff have told of being inundated by abusive phone calls.

“It’s just relentless, it’s unforgiving,” one anonymous worker told Nine News.

Mr Graham said many of these jobs have been outsourced, and that’s part of the problem.

“Once you do get through, if you are lucky enough to be connected to somebody in Hobart or Auckland, the service is usually very good,” he said.

“But most people are being transferred to one of the outsourced call centres in Cape Town or Suva which are operated by a company called Mindpearl.

“The Mindpearl staff are not nearly as well trained, don’t have access to the same reservations systems as actual Qantas staff, often give incorrect information and don’t seem to have any authority to take ownership of customers’ problems. These staff often place customers on hold for long periods, with the call then disconnecting.”

In March, Qantas released a statement saying the number of daily calls had jumped from 7500 to 14,000.

“The recent call wait times that our customers have been experiencing are not acceptable,” a spokesperson said.

“We sincerely apologise to customers who have had to spend so long to speak to someone and we thank them for their patience.

“No airline’s contact centres were designed to be able to manage the record number of calls and complexity of queries for COVID-era travel, particularly when international travel is involved.”

The airline instead pointed passengers to resolve their issues via the website or online app, if possible.

“Many of the things Alan Joyce thinks can theoretically be done online actually can’t, because the website is has so many bugs and flaws,” Mr Graham said.

In her petition, Ms Miller also complained that “the website doesn’t even work for half the functions customers actually need”.

Qantas, meanwhile, may have already heeded the message.

Users of the Australian Frequent Flyer forum have been keeping track of hold times since 2019.

Some users have noticed a dramatic improvement in recent days.

“Called at 9.30 this morning,” one user wrote on Tuesday.

“No queue, was answered instantly.”

Another replied: “Called at 1pm yesterday — straight through.”

This article was first published by The New Daily.

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max
max
26 days ago

QANTAS HAS A HUGE-but fixable-PROBLEM-Worldwide and not just in Australia.
·       My first ever letter to an Airline since I started in 1978 !
DATE APRIL 2022
Past facts: COVID 2 year suspension of most flights. Travel industry has a Loss of staff. Loss of facilities. Loss of services. Loss of talent. Loss of intelligent thinking. QF has a Loss of not accepting professional travel agents’ assistance and advice.
Current drama : Federal Govt. hands out money to QF to keep staff and Pilots but forgets that Travel Agents deliver over 77% of revenue to QF to allow International travel to take place yet are not even considered as important in the Federal Government to Qantas handouts to allow Travel agents also to keep important staff !! GO figure!
QF invests $$ over TV, Radio and press Media and self-convincing emails to Travel Agents but  also alienates travel agents suggesting that we are “ your partner” then offering no financial incentive to be that partner and in the same breath – pushing passengers to book direct . The outcome becomes in April 2022 onwards unimaginable inferior customer servicing levels never seen before in our travel industry, even surpassing the QF servicing delays encountered during the Pilots strike, QF Alan Joyce groundings, Sept 11, Iraq War and Volcanic Ash hinderances!
Unintelligent strategies by QF management, marketing and Tield Management departments that lack future proofing relations with Travel Agents and also alienating consumers to consider booking with others.
Below  is a real-life, recorded and unfortunate example: one of many thousands.
FLIGHT FACT: QF changes flights for 4 Business/Economy Platinum level QF pax to return home from CNS to ADL but pax must now overnight in BNE on way home at own expense. This is called an involuntary change which all Airlines have the legal right to do which is respected by Airlines and Travel Agents worldwide as many external issues may require this.
Travel Agent-who made original FF booking with QF wishes to maintain client loyalty to both themselves and also QF and intervenes to resolve this issue into a more logical and acceptable flight pattern, which is no fault of the pax or the agency. Travel Agency researches best options and disputes this QF suggested and illogical new Itinerary and checks their travel agency computer system (SABRE) to locate if there are better available seats on better replacement flight connections to ADL without need to stopover in BNE.
Upon consultation with pax, who has been loyal to QF  noted that the QF suggested replacement flight is totally unacceptable. Travel Agent speaks with QF staff -via long “on-hold”phone calls, who still insists that pax should accept this new overnight in BNE Itinerary. This is stated by QF because “it is a QF FF booking” with no revenue to QF and pax cannot amend flights without QF FF Department approval. Travel Agent requests call to be raised to Supervisor or team Leader level. This takes an extra hour on phone-hold.
WED 06th  APR 2022PH CALL DURATION 35 mins: QF rep advises Travel Agent thatprevious QF staffer saved the newly booked PNR as a normal booking instead of an INVOL Changed booking, hence E tkts not issued., Sorry “ New QF rep promises to rectify it al within 24 hrs.l and have E Tickets sent to Agency email address to verify all OK
COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY :ZERO.QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
THU 07th  APR 2022:  PH CALL DURATION 35 mins :Travel Agent initiates second  phone call to special QF allocated number 1800 957 333,  again reiterating -for the second time – that the SABRE noticed flights with no overnight and Business Class seats are better suited and best suitable to pax. After 35 minutes to QF, and elevating this concern/request to “Supervisor level” QF then concedes to do as Travel Agent suggests and “new E tkts will be issued.” At this stage the professional assistance, intervention, advice, and Itinerary seems to be acceptable by QF rep who again promises E Ticket delivery within 24 hrs.
COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
FRI 08 APR 2022 : 09.16am : Email received from QF Customer Services (Payments @ QF) by Travel Agent that QF was “having difficulty with your payment” and “if payment isn’t received, your flight booking will be cancelled” notation. on a booking made and paid in NOV 2021. Travel Agent knew this was incorrect and at 09.21am (within 5 mins of Email receipt) they phone QF on number allocated .
COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
FRI 08 APR 2022 : 09.21am PH CALL DURATION 53 mins : Return call to QF made to ensure that new flights as we suggested were booked to replace the involuntary QF suggested flights. QF rep assures us (The Travel Agent) that new E tkts will be sent to our email “within 24 hrs” . I insist that a new Itinerary is sent to us asap to show pax of our new flights suggested and acceptable by QF.
COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
FRI 08 APR 2022 : 09.27am: Emails from QF with new Itinerary secured and correct but zero E tickets attached. Travel Agent is aware that a QF Itinerary is no proof of travel nor valid as an e Ticket by Airport staff. The entire contacting QF again is again required to resolve this very simple request!
SAT 09 APR:PM : PH CALL DURATION : 5 hrs 22 mins 41 secs: PHONE Call made to QF as no email with new E tkts recD. QF looks at both BKgs and notes that QWF staff did not complete the FOP (Form \OF Payment) section correctly and QF are demanding monies. New staff agrees a QF error and will issue new E Tkts ASAP ‘sent to you within 24 hrs”
Emails also sent from Travel Agent to QF(Payments @ QF) noting they made errors, tickets previously paid and to please release E tkts as a backup, of what we have been attempting t to via Phone!
(NOTE Travel Agents doi not have a priority Freq Flyer email or Phone number to call, that should be handled by experienced QF staff who can talk travel agency lingo, resolve issues, and pacify both the Agent and the pax in a more effective, efficient and customer focused way. This is a small area that QF should invest in,  I as the word “partner’ suggests!
A/HRS AGENCY ASSIST COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO  QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
SUN 10th APR: 3.15pm: Another call from Travel Agent to QF, PH CALL DURATION : 4 hrs 20mins but disconnected upon answering !! (Accidental or deliberate !?
A/HRS AGENCY ASSIST COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO  QF COMPENSATION to travel agency for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES RENDERRED-= ZERO
MON 11th APR: 09:26am Another QF Email received, exact same wording as sent by QF on FRI 08 APR stating booking will be cancelled if payment not received.
MON 11th APR : 09:40am PH CALL DURATION : 4 hrs 47 mins 25 secs. Another PH call to QF by Travel Agent to complain that after 2 promises, no E Tkts received at all. This time speaking to FIJI QF RES. She now informs me that the pax Freq Flyer number was not allocated to travel booking hence no E mail of E tickets could be sent out. I dispute this as the 4 seats were all allocated via his Freq Flyer number as a FF Booking and hence you (QF) must have his Freq Flyer number as that is exactly how original flight bkgs were issued!! The QF REP (again) then elevates this , whilst Travel Agent is on hold, to Supervisor level to see if E tkts can be issued now. After nearly 5 hours, Travel Agent insists to take Agency mobile number -in case of dropout- and NOT to cease phone conversation until INBOX has E tickets in it and the PODF is opened and verified by same Travel Agent to ensure correct E tkts are issued . This becomes the ONLY QF staff to actually do what was very simply required to initially do ! This is accomplished ,
COST TO PAX LEVIED BY TRAVEL AGENCY : ZERO
AGENCY VERDICT :We eventually satisfied our valued client ,after investing over 16 hours on the PHONE plus over 7 totally ignored and unresponded emails sent to QF .We had to satisfy pax, who was never at fault and should not be levied costs , as part of our professional ongoing Travel Agency services .
·       Can we send an ADM to QF ? Can we request a CREDIT NOTE from IATA ? Who pays for this lost time ?
 
This has been a total waste of a professional Travel Agents time that could be better allocated towards another needing pax and travel industry issues rather than this far below substandard customer service platform that QF knew would eventuate and had done nothing about, but rather pay certain executives’ bonuses, slash jobs and throw money into consumer advertising campaigns. Add to this their contradictory verbal diarrhea of having Travel; Agents as their “:partners” with zero financial incentive to be their partners ! Many quality personnel exist within QF and know the worth of the most potent conduit between a traveler an AIRLINE,  is a professional Trravel Agent who delivers rvenue to QF.Unfortunately many others within QF rely upon their take home salary only, delivering lip-service to consumers , the media and travel agents , yet Travel Agents pay $$ towards  QF salaries and their other expenses.
THE SOLUTION:
1.     Pay a suitable Marketing, Consultation fee towards travel Agents to take the pressure and responsibility away from many flight/ticketing areas that Travel Agent can do far more efficiently and seamlessly as proven during COVID by the services, negotiations, refunds, credits, exchange tickets, Intranational and Domestic Government and Health rulings deciphered and deliver by Agents to clients. DFAT, Health, State and Federal Governments of Australia have commended the assistances and services that Travel agents provided to save their time, human resources and After Hours servicing costs.
2.     Establish direct privy email and PH numbers for travel agents to access and contact QF who speak our lingo and work with us- not against us., saving QF staff time, inventing extra Departments and extra workloads. Travel Agents know their pax far better than QF ever will and many VIP clients do not wish to make contact with QF direct or waste their time “on-hold” or receive substandard advice.
3.     Drop the EGO’s without backtracking: The common-sense approach is that an Airlines should not consider paying Commissions as an expense but in their financial ledgers it should be considered as a Marketing or Advertising or Partners’ investment. To not deflate the ego of many QF MGT and their ACCOUNTANTS by reversing their decisions not to compensate travel agents , maybe consider offering a varied commentary by not retreating from what has already been publicized of  “not paying commissions” with newly adopted words like “we will pay ADVERTISING or MARKETING expenses out to viable IATA/ Travel Agents, members of AFTA-ASTA-ASBTA-TAANBZX-ASATA etc etc “ . Free Movie Nights or QF Agencyy Hub websites or NDC concepts are not the answer to secure sincere  business support.
4.     Setup a dedicated Freq Flyer Email and Phone contact base, supported by experienced QF staff. Remember that Chairmans, Plat plus, Plat etc FF are usually time-poor and if they themselves or via their PA need to be serviced  they prefer not waste time on emails and phone calls. Giving selected Travel Agents the right to assist with FF bookings to take these points off of QF audited Statements each year that the ATO levies taxes against as they remain on your QF ledgers makes sense. Do not hide behind the veil of “Privacy Law “issues as most VIP pax give us the rights to their FF numbers, PIN data, email addresses , passports , Credit Card data etc .As a security protocol QF can authenticate this with prior written Pax approvals followed by 2 -level automated email of phone or text authentication codes as Banks do with Travel Agents being legally liable. I mentioned this scenario over 15 years ago in articles written  and also when I was on the QF Travel Agency FF Advisory board in the 1990’s. The many QF FF MGT changes has no doubt affected this idea , which has never been  implemented (and that was before 2-level authentication was around!!)>
It is best practice to have in place,  solid MGT levels of support and responses in place BEFORE you market to the consumer and not to market or advertise what you cannot deliver properly!It is also best to support your business partners and not alienate them with direct marketing techniques and offers that maybe should be scrutinized in the future by ACCC or ASIC as possible breaches of attempting to control market share.
( YES dear reader- Names of QF staff and times/dates./wasted time have all been recorded by QF with emails and Phone data times/dates noted.
·       VERBATIM email from QF to Travel Agent
 
·       We’re having difficulty processing your recent payment and need you to contact us to finalise your booking.  If payment isn’t received, your flight booking will be cancelled.
·       What to do next   ·       1. Enusre you have your booking reference: 5RXNHZ
·       2. Call us within the next 24 hours on 1800 957 333 within Australia or outside of Australia contact your local Qantas office, to pay and confirm your booking.
·       3. Once payment has been received and processed, your ticket will be issued and you’ll receive an email with your itinerary and eticket.

Hussein
Hussein
26 days ago

What’s new 🤔 QANTAS call centre the worse ever service , I stuck overseas few years before COVID & after wait more than two hours I couldn’t get to a customer support
Horrible service & been avoiding flying with QANTAS international since then

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