Qantas is among the winners of the latest Shonky Awards as rated by consumer advocacy group Choice. It revealed Australia’s shocking products and services.
The Shonky Awards recognises and shames the products and services that have added distress, disappointment and difficulty to Australians.
Choice has stated that the airline won this because of their hard work in delayed flight and lost baggage highlighting they “earned the title of spirit of disappointment.”
The awards stated that the national carrier of over 100 years, “has been a disappointment to customers since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.
Choice money and travel expert, Jodi Bird outlined how the company earned its spot in the Shonky Awards. “Qantas has always sold itself as the premium Australian domestic airline, and Australians have been very proud of Qantas as a premium airline. But what we’ve seen recently is Qantas taken down to the level of a budget airline,” she says.
“They had the worst rates for flight delays, and their baggage handling has really been poor in the last year. People are still paying premium prices, but not getting premium service.”
But has Qantas changed for the better?
Qantas has fought back in response to this, “[We’ve] 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,” says a Qantas spokesperson.
“Our call wait times are less than half what Choice is claiming. “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.”
However, Choice CEO, Alan Kirkland has said otherwise stating that “2022 has been a difficult year, with Australians living through a pandemic, a slew of natural disasters, and a cost of living crisis. The last thing people need is businesses that add more distress, difficulty and disappointment to their lives – but unfortunately that’s exactly what we’ve seen in this year’s Shonky Awards.”
One of the main reasons for Qantas winning the award outlined by Choice was because of the company holding $1.4 billion in travel credits. Choice stated that in April this year, Qantas and Jetstar combined were sitting on $1.4 billion in unused flight credits and future bookings – customers furious because the system would not let them book lower cost flights.
Choice also stated that customers have reported that the flights are costing more when paid with a voucher compared with other payment types.
Bird says “Qantas didn’t state upfront that customers may be entitled to refunds.”