Qantas Has Become The Pure Embodiment Of Privatization, Greed And Intentional System Failure
That month, in April, the Spirit of Australia would stand out for posting the worst airline industry performance statistics since recording began in 2003. Just 58.7 per cent of Qantas flights arrived on time, beaten even by its budget subsidiary Jetstar on 59.2 per cent. Virgin Australia recorded 65.6 per cent of flights reaching their destination on time. Regionally, QantasLink performed the worst, behind Virgin and Rex Airlines. The situation was scarcely better when measuring planes that departed on time. Here, the national carrier pipped Jetstar but was still five points behind Virgin, an airline that collapsed during Covid-19 shutdowns and has been somewhat rebuilt by private equity ownership.
After divesting the entirety of its below the wing ground handling business with some 2000 workers at 10 airports and using the pandemic to offshore hundreds more call centre staff, and to stand down 20,000 workers while claiming $855 million in JobKeeper, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce blamed passengers for mayhem at airports in April. I went through the airports on Wednesday and people forget they need to take out their laptops, they have to take out their aerosols So that is taking longer to get through the [security] queue, he said at the time. Our customers are not match fit.
One Qantas traveller, emblematic of many, spent more than $500 to replace items needed for a business trip, after an inbound flight was delayed by more than six hours. On Thursday, philosophy PhD candidate Eleanor Gordon-Smith tweeted that QF8 was cancelled without warning at 2am at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. There were no hotels or transport available. Indeed, there were no Qantas staff at all. A planeload of people is at checkin with nowhere to go and no guidance, she said. The Qantas desk isnt just unmanned it has become a Lufthansa desk No texts, phone calls, no updates on Google. The flight has disappeared from the internet. Ive flown Qantas exclusively for 20 years and loved them but you leave 300 people in an airport at 2am where theres no food on site, no hotel vouchers and not one staff member turns up at the time you said to board? Fuck Qantas.
During the chaos of the past three months, Qantas has been forced to ask administrative staff and senior executives to volunteer to head into the airport to personally help short-staffed customer service teams deal with irate passengers. As lost baggage rooms at major airports overflowed, these managers some on $200,000 a year were given the job of arranging overflowing bags in alphabetical order in the arrival halls. Qantas has had to cancel entire flights because they could not get enough pilots to fly them. At one point, the airline had to fly a jet filled with lost baggage and no paying passengers interstate, just so the bags could be reunited with customers. Call centre wait times have swelled to eight hours in some cases, after Qantas sent about 900 of its 1000 call centre jobs overseas to South Africa and Fiji. Those offshore workers do not have access to the reservation system used by the 100 or so call centre workers in Hobart. Frantic calls for help are often re-routed, leading to those extreme wait times. Unless, of course, a caller is a gold frequent flyer or higher; they get sent straight to the Hobart team.