Friday, February 13, 2009

Seat Review - Qantas international economy class

Recently I flew economy class on Qantas from Sydney to Singapore and back. It was the first time I had flown long haul economy in about 5 years. I was nervous but by keeping the flights to single legs and flying during the day I found it manageable. The Qantas economy experience was better than I expected with some pleasant surprises but still some disappointments in service delivery and entertainment. The service elements drags down an otherwise great experience.

The BOOT rating for Qantas International Economy is a 3.5 out of six or "Good". Here is the detailed review (Details and scoring system for airline seat reviews)

Getting on Board

Score 0.5

It is hard to give a fair measure of the economy class boarding experience as my Qantas frequent flyer platinum status means I can check-in via the first class window and board early. That said the people around me appeared to flow quickly. Sure we took off late - but that is now a given at Sydney airport

The Seat

Score 0.5

Snaps to QF for giving me the best economy seat they could (exit, aisle, left hand side). The seat itself is comfortable (standard 31'' pitch). The recline is standard economy with the adjustable headrest being a real bonus. The controls for the video system are in an odd spot. They are at knee height meaning each time I moved while watching a movie I bumped the control and interrupted the film. Eventually I needed to take it out of the holder and hung it over the side of the seat.

The Service

Score 0

Qantas runs a process culture at present. Meaning that staff are well versed in processing a customer through the stages of each flight. But they are missing the important part of customer service - meeting the unexpected needs of the consumer. Great customer service comes with a customer is surprised by how quickly their needs are anticipated and met. During the flight I made a number of requests that were ignored or took too long to fulfil such as request for drinks outside of food service and requests for another pillow. Am hoping to find out more about planned improvements here soon.

The Food

Score 1.0

Food is one of Qantas' consistent strong points. The meals were tasty with fun touches in desert and snacks

The Entertainment

Score 0.5

I come to any review of Qantas inflight entertainment with a bias drawn from continued system failure and apparent ambivalence from Qantas (previous stories here). On this occasion the entertainment system worked and there was a fine selection of movies but there were sill three annoying features:

1 The placement of the control (see above);

2. The time to activation. Qantas seem to delight in waiting as long as possible before turning on the service and playing compulsory videos to further delay the time before I can press play and zone out. Competitors in this space make videos available as soon as the seatbelt sign is off. On QF it can take as much as 20 mins past that point; and

3 Limited TV shows. Competitors such as Cathay and Virgin Atlantic are offering whole seasons of shows (watched a whole season of '24' on a recent CX flight). These are missing from Qantas.

But it was working so can't complain (too much)

The BOOT factor

Score 1.0

Two things pleasantly surprised me about the flight

1. A trolley service after the main meal with hot chocolate and peppermint tea came as a complete and very pleasant surprise. I would not have thought to ask for peppermint tea but it hit the spot on refreshment mid flight

2. A trip planner leaflet was handed out listing when during the flight things would occur such as meal service. This little thing (which I've not seen before) made the flight more enjoyable as it took out guess work from the flight

Final Score

3.5 - Good Seat

Details and scoring system for airline seat reviews

thanks to fboosman on flickr for the photo


Anonymous said...

I believe your rating system would make more sense if:
1) It was out of 10, or 100% (e.g. <25% absolutely terrible, 25% = bad, 50% = acceptable, 75% good. >75% = great)
2) Each of ur criteria should have its own rating out of the total, with the final score being an average of each of the individual ratings.

Just my 2c

Anonymous said...

i'll double these two cents - here's hoping that the next review will have a more transparent rating...

i'll give the review 4.5 out of 5 with a 0.5 deduction for the scoring system ;)

Sam I Am said...

Hmm, I might have to use your rating system to follow up on my post about flying with Air NZ to LA ( It would end up high, regardless of rating system :)

Chaoley said...

Service is the biggest problem when flying Quantas. It just doesn't compare with other airlines of similar quality.

My impression is that this is because the cabin staff are mainly old unionists, they act more like public service employees than regular service industry staff.

Anonymous said...

is it just me or do these look like 1970's porno actors ?

samheffernan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hank Freid said...

Though there is less facilities but there is huge difference in the price as well. So it is also a better option to save your amount as well