Powered by MOMENTUM MEDIA
australian aviation logo

Exclusive: 17k sign petition for Qantas to cut call wait times

written by Hannah Dowling | April 19, 2022

Quantas VH-OQA
File image of Qantas Airbus A380 VH-OQA. (David Soda)

A petition calling for Qantas to improve its customer service has gained 17,000 new signatures in the last three weeks alone, as customers grow increasingly frustrated with tied-up phone lines and broken online systems.

The change.org petition boasted just 463 signatures as of 29 March, however as of Tuesday, 19 April, this number had soared to over 17,400.

The petition calls for a “better customer service response from Qantas”, after customers have been forced to spend hours on hold with the airline’s customer service line, with no response.

The petition requests that the national carrier employ more people to man both its phone lines and its social media, to reduce the amount of time that stressed customers need to wait before having their query addressed, and also implores Qantas to improve the function of its website, in order to allow more customers to avoid requiring additional assistance all together.

It comes after Qantas admitted that its current call wait times are “not acceptable”, in light of an incident that hit global headlines, where a passenger was placed on hold for eight hours waiting for assistance. The airline claims to have hired another 750 staff to rectify the issue.

Many other customers have since taken to social media to share their frustrations over increasingly long hold times.

Ingrid Miller, the creator of the change.org petition, said she took a random sample of 50 people who had complained on social media about Qantas’ customer service, and found that on average, customers were waiting five hours and 36 minutes for someone to pick up.

PROMOTED CONTENT

However, in the last three weeks, this number is likely to have blown out even more, due to the busy Easter rush that has sent airports and airlines alike, erupt into chaos.

“Qantas is exploiting COVID as a guise to prioritise poor customer service and capitalise on creating further disadvantage for regional Australia,” Miller said.

“Far and wide, people are losing their hard-earned money. All the while, Qantas continues to hide behind COVID as an excuse to cut jobs and do people out of their cash.”

Miller highlighted that customers are often directed to Qantas’ website in order to manage their bookings, however, the website fails to offer all the functions that are most often required, resulting in “repetitive error messages”, which ultimately forces them onto the phone lines.

“Qantas needs people to fly on their airline in order to get the business going again during and post-COVID,” Miller added.

“If Qantas wants this to happen, then they have to start treating customers like they actually want them to fly.”

Meanwhile, a recent Melbourne-based supporter of the petition said, “Qantas should be ashamed, [I] can’t book on website as they [there] are so many errors so [I] am forced to call. On hold for 2.5 hours and hung up on!

“Not to mention my flight they cancelled last year and no sign of credits, I’m too scared to call because of the stress it will cause. Without customers, there is no Qantas!”

Another supporter, from Sydney, said, “I couldn’t contact Qantas for days even though I’m a gold member and spent around 10 hours collectively waiting on the phone over a few days.”

It comes as Qantas also faces heavy criticism for its flight credit policies, which has seen Australia’s consumer watchdog on high alert after numerous customers reported that Qantas was raising the cost of fares for customers paying with flight credits.

Reports of alleged price gouging were shortly followed by a formal ACCC complaint filed by consumer advocacy group Choice, after its independent consumer surveys highlighted the “many obstacles” faced by Qantas customers seeking to cash in their flight credits.

Choice said its ACCC complaint calls out the “potentially misleading and deceptive conduct” in Qantas’ flight credit redemption policy.

Choice said it ran a survey in January this year, which found that nearly a third of people trying to use flight credits to purchase new flights were forced to pay more than the cost of the original flight, and many also reported that paying with flight credit would cost them more than buying a new ticket on that same flight.

One customer said, “I was able to get a flight credit, but the flight ended up costing me about $200 more than if I had booked it outright. Very disappointing.

“How can Qantas get away with that?”

According to Choice, many customers have also faced difficulties obtaining or using their flight credits due to an ongoing issue in Qantas’ customer service phone lines.

Many frustrated customers claimed it was near impossible to speak to anyone from Qantas due to these tied-up phone lines.

“Qantas makes it so hard to access support that people just give up,” one customer said. “I believe this to be deliberate.”

Comments (16)

  • Janine

    says:

    People must think that the job in a QANTAS call centre takes a very short time to learn, so that there’ll be 100’s to take their calls’.

    Wrong! It’s minimum of six weeks’ training, then there’s ‘on the job’ training, as well, with a training officer seated with each ‘trainee’, for some time.

    So the problem won’t be solved ‘overnight’, it’ll take months’, so patience is required on the part of the callers’.

    • How about normal business forward planning – reason unacceptable

    • lee

      says:

      I think you’ve missed the point. if Qantas provided a good service there would not be a demand on their staff to take so many calls

  • ZP

    says:

    And don’t think about going to an airport for assistance with your problem. All airport reservations and ticketing counters are closed with virtually no one trained in how to assist with your problem. If you go to the airport with a issue you’ll be advised to call the contact centre. It’s like Qantas just isn’t interested in doing business

    • MS

      says:

      We experienced this exact scenario. Without the opportunity to purchase a ticket at the counter, we missed a flight out of remote Australia which impacted follow-on international travel. Bring back the in-terminal service and I pretty much assure fewer phone calls would be needed.

  • David Heath

    says:

    I know you’ve used that image a number of times, but where is it? I can’t think of anywhere that Qantas has flown the A380 where there would be snow-capped mountains nearby.

    • Hannah Dowling

      says:

      Hi David, I believe this one was actually captured in Hong Kong!

  • Zlarin

    says:

    Qantas only has to use Jetstar’s systems to improve. I was able to book using their credit voucher online seamlessly. However, I was insulted that instead of refunding me my purchase price less the cancellation fee, Qantas instead issued me a time limited credit voucher which took about 5 hrs on the phone to get a credit applied as should have been done, and then was told it would take 2-3 weeks for the credit to be applied. Qantas lost me for good after using them for nearly half a century.

  • RENE BIBER

    says:

    Why fly Qantas if you are not satisfied with their service ? Stop complaining and fly with someone else, there are plenty of other choices, just a little flexible. I ditched Qantas long ago for similar reasons and have not regretted. Qantas were a good choice in the 70ies to early 90ies but no longer.

    • Michelle Sawyer

      says:

      In many cases, there is no other carrier to fly. We live in Alice Springs. We are virtually slaves to Qantas….

  • Allan Gray

    says:

    I agree that the Qantas call times are outrageous. In March this year my wife and I were off on a round the World trip (UK, USA then home). We had just ordered a taxi to go to Adelaide airport and then received an SMS from Qantas stating the overseas leg from Darwin had been cancelled and to go to Manage Booking to review the options including refunds. One hour 45 minutes on hold and we were then placed on a different carrier and told that we were now going from Perth. Got there eventually but very stressful with poor communication.

  • Wayne

    says:

    On a trip last year, I had bookings on QANTAS, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Air and Air India that I needed to change due to COVID-19.
    Call wait times:
    Cathay Pacific 3 minutes
    Singapore 90 seconds
    Air India 2.5 minutes
    QANTAS 2.5 hours wait then call dropped out, 3 hours wait call dropped out, 3.5 hours wait call answered!!

    On board customer service in Business Class with the Asian Airlines make me feel like a valued customer. On board customer service in Business Class with QANTAS makes me feel like they are doing me a favour to allow me on board! (except when I get a NZ based QANTAS crew).

  • Greg Soper

    says:

    Race 2 at Rosehill on Saturday.. Race caller was getting heaps of calls from the start staff. Horses playing up.. Says ‘Here is the phone again, obviously not Qantas calling..

  • IAN

    says:

    why do people insist on phoning ? Many calls about trivia. Email is the answer. Keep it short & sweet & get to the point. They don’t want to hear your life story. Tell them what you want.

    Maybe qantas should have a form.

    & don’t simply email saying call me.

    BTW-if you book with a real living travel agent, they can answer the phone in seconds & probably answer your question just as fast as anyone at qantas.

    • Mike

      says:

      After multiple phone calls to get the flight travel pass credited to my account, so I can book flights before it’s time limit, I demanded an email address which has been sent many emails with all the details and attachments in support, But no responses after 4 months. I have also completed the online complaint forms a number of times, get an automated response they will respond, but nothing eventuated.
      Now made formal complaints to ACCC.
      The other issue is they promise to return the calls and have my number, but nothing happens.
      I’ve also recorded most of the recent calls (for training purposes) where they admit I have credit and will look into it.

  • David mcintosn

    says:

    Looks to me like they are getting the QF call centre staff to rebut criticism without context nor the all too familiar customer empathy of an off-shore call centre….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Each day, our subscribers are more informed with the right information.

SIGN UP to the Australian Aviation magazine for high-quality news and features for just $99.95 per year

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.