More than 1,700 people contacted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about Qantas during the previous financial year.
The number was up 68 per cent compared to the year prior and well ahead of Jetstar at 544 and Virgin at 359.
In 2022, Qantas faced a string of problems, including huge delays at Easter, hours-long call wait times, and even a revelation that the cabin crew of a Qantas A330 were made to sleep across seats in economy.
However, Australian Aviation reported in November how Qantas shifted from being the worst airline in the country for cancellations to being the best, a position it still maintains. The turnaround led to Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce declaring his airline is “back to its best” earlier this year.
Nonetheless, the revelation by the ACCC in its latest quarterly report for the first time reveals the sheer scale of passenger anger.
“The number of contacts involving Qantas was over a third higher than the second most reported company,” the report read.
“Key causes of the increased reports included issues around remedies for ﬂights cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and the high levels of cancelled or delayed ﬂights in mid-2022 that occurred during the post-pandemic surge in demand.”
The ACCC noted in the report that contacts do not necessarily reflect breaches of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) or Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA), as they include enquiries about consumers’ rights, complaints about conduct that would not breach those laws, complaints about situations outside the airlines’ control such as airport facilities and ATC, and unconfirmed or unverified allegations.
The report does, though, note that such a significant rise in contacts is “generally indicative of a high level of dissatisfaction with that company” and an inability to address customer complaints.
“Qantas’ customer service issues, in particular long call wait times, have been well reported in the media. As Australia’s largest airline, and an airline that generally charges a premium to ﬂy, consumers expect a better service.
“Qantas needs to do more to adequately invest in its systems, processes and people to dramatically improve its customer contact services and customer dispute resolution,” the watchdog said.