Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Am I too tough on Qantas?

Am travelling to Perth tomorrow for work. My first time to Perth and my first long haul Qantas flight in economy for a very long time. Was talking through this with a friend last night from a travel start-up that I am helping with fund raising when he commented on his own experiences with Qantas economy long haul. As a reader of my blog he was aware of my almost non-stop barrage of negative commentary on Qantas, especially around its customer service and VOD system. His summary -
"The VOD was working perfectly, the seat was great, the product is not that bad"
It turned me to thinking about why I am so tough on Qantas and a realised the answer. It is not because I do not want to fly them. In fact the contrary is true. I have previously and would again rank them as my number 4 preferred long haul carrier (though I have not flown Emirates or Virgin Atlantic). They have a very good product. The seats good, the food among the best in the sky and the lounges great (especially the showers). My problem is not, "do they have a good product", it is "the product is not as good as they say it is". Service industries are about delivering to the expectations you set. I am annoyed and angry with Qantas because they say that their seat is the biggest in its class, the VOD system the best, the service the friendliest, the pillows the fluffiest, that devaluations of frequent flyer miles are in my best interest and that their focus is purely on its customers when the truth is that Cathay, Singapore and BA beat them on all those functional fronts and that cost cutting and efficiency are the number one thing on their mind not service.

So maybe I am being tough on them because they do offer a great product and I will continue to consume it but I re-issue my warning to them (and any potential new owners) that when/if they lose the duopoly on the Pacific Route or the anti-competitive deal with BA on the Kangaroo route their will be a flood of high end customers like me for whom a "great product" will not be enough to retain our custom.

Will let you know how I go with them to Perth.

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