All that gold coin in the pouch must be weighing down our Flying Kangaroo

Australians today have 35 million reasons to shake their head in dismay at Qantas.

From the proud reputation of being World’s Best, in a decade or so Qantas has become “the poor man’s cousin” of Asian airlines for service and satisfaction. The class division between First and Economy has become staggeringly stark.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s egregiously disproportionate $24.6 million pay in 2017, and $10.9 million in 2018, could’ve been used to ease the strain on the airline’s cabin staff (they, not the execs, bring the customers back), or on a strategy to reduce fares, or maybe even serve warm food in economy class – there’s an idea.

Qantas’s talented publicists must be working faster than a Rolls-Royce Trent jet engine, to counter-spin the bad media attention. The latest: members of Rock group The Veronicas are talking of suing Qantas after being evicted from a flight over a carry-on luggage dispute.

During the Global Financial Crisis, Qantas’ Joyce and John Borghetti must have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on First Class lounges with Italian marble opulence etc. In a Global Financial Crisis? Is that smart management? No wonder the “fare war” with Virgin, and fuel cost spikes, hit Qantas so severely.

Consequently, Joyce took Qantas to a situation where our proud National Carrier did not have to pay corporate tax. The Qantas Board’s reward to the CEO: $24.6 million pay/bonus one year, $10.9 million the next. What do Qantas-travelling taxpayers think about that?     

I’ve flown on many airlines, and, in my opinion, Qantas now sadly trails behind its Asian competitors. Qantas economy fares are overpriced and with a lacklustre service (though I saw cabin staff trying very hard). Passengers’ complaints about in-flight food arriving cold – or running out, especially on long-haul flights when it’s most relied on – have become all too common.

Qantas was ranked the worst major airline for fuel efficiency and carbon emissions when flying across the Pacific in 2016 (source: ABC news). For evidence of the decline over the past two decades, look at passenger comments posted on http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/qantas To be fair, people are more likely to post negative than positive comments, but it’s a good snapshot of passenger sentiment.

I will keep flying with Qantas. My parents and their generation helped build Qantas with their loyalty back when air travel was a much more costly endeavour.

We should be proud of the Flying Kangaroo, and the hard working check-in and cabin staff – including in economy class, the paying passengers who are the “bread and butter” that keep an airline healthy. We shouldn’t be red faced and shaking our fists in anger at the stomach churning excess of CEO salaries, and the arrogant segregation of paying passengers.

 

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