Qantas was recently embarrassed by leading Australian consumer advocacy group Choice, after being awarded one of their Shonky Awards. Qantas, however, has now responded, saying Choice’s ‘shonky’ airline award in itself shonky, claiming “these awards are clearly out of date and the data Choice is using is itself a bit shonky.”
Ah, the smell of controversy in the morning. Qantas has hit back at its embarrassing Shonky Award, which has sparked headlines like “what do Qantas and chicken nuggets have in common?” and which Choice says it earned by being “the Spirit of Disappointment.”
Before we get into Qantas’ response, here’s why Choice named and shamed it.
“If there were ever a company that appeared deliberately to be going out of its way to win a Shonky Award, it’s Qantas,” Choice says. “The so-called Spirit of Australia, which has been a part of the national fabric for more than 100 years, has been a disappointment to customers since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.”
“Qantas has always sold itself as the premium Australian domestic airline, and Australians have been very proud of Qantas as a premium airline,” CHOICE money and travel expert Jodi Bird added. “But what we’ve seen recently is Qantas taken down to the level of a budget airline.”
According to Choice, “delayed flights, tales of lost baggage and chaos at airports, and customer difficulties in using credits accumulated from travel cancellations during COVID lockdowns and restrictions, have all contributed to the disappointing performance of Australia’s formerly favourite airline.”
“Add to that call wait times stretching to up 50 minutes when you actually try to contact them, and it’s no wonder that Qantas was the most complained-about company to CHOICE by readers and members in 2022.”
But just wait for the riposte. Qantas has released a press release, claiming a lot of Choice’s facts are bogus. Qantas said: “We had several months of poor performance earlier in the year, but it’s improved significantly since August and we’re back to our pre-COVID level of service.”
“We’ve been very transparent with our performance figures, both good and bad, but Choice is using figures that are just wrong.”
“We’ve beaten Virgin for on-time flights eight out of the past 12 months, and in some months that’s been by a significant margin.”
Qantas also says “our call wait times are less than half what Choice is claiming” and “our customers have redeemed more than $1 billion in COVID-related flight credits” adding “the conditions for these are the same or better than they were pre-COVID and we’re actively encouraging our customers to use them.”
“No one is disputing the fact we had issues earlier this year, and we apologised for that, but it’s disappointing that Choice failed to acknowledge the impact that COVID and border closures have had on the entire aviation industry.”
Further to this, Qantas cleared up a few more of what it calls “claims from Choice that are not correct or misleading” which can be seen below.
- Call wait times have averaged around seven minutes since June, less than half our pre-COVID average. (Choice claimed call wait times were on average 21 minutes.)
- Our latest operation performance figures can be found here. Our on time performance has improved by 30 per cent since July and flight cancellation rates are back at pre-COVID levels. (Choice claimed that Qantas seems to be dealing with it the worst out of all the domestic airlines.)
- Information on using flight credits is on our website and customers can use them when booking online. Flight credit conditions are the same or better than they were pre-COVID. (Choice claimed that it is difficult and confusing for customers to use flight credits and they’re unable to be used online.)
There you have it.
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