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Qantas averaged almost 100 days to address complaints in 2023

written by Jake Nelson | July 10, 2024

Victor Pody shot this Qantas A330-200, VH-EBK, at Melbourne Airport.

Qantas took the longest of Australia’s four largest airlines to address customer concerns in 2023, the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA) has revealed.

On average, the Flying Kangaroo took 97 days to finalise a customer complaint last year, compared to 19 for Rex, 18 for Jetstar and 16 for Virgin Australia. Qantas says it has since improved its time to 15 days in the second half of last year and 11 days in the first half of 2024.

The industry-funded advocate received 1408 eligible complaints across the four participating airlines (Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex) last year, of which only 37 per cent were resolved, down from 43 per cent in 2022. Refund requests were the largest category of eligible complaints at 38 per cent, followed by flight delays or cancellations at 35 per cent.

Qantas Group chief customer officer Catriona Larritt said the airline is “listening to our customers and working hard to act on their feedback”.

“The progress we made over the course of 2023 was a step in the right direction, but we know that where we started wasn’t acceptable. We’ve made a commitment to be easier to deal with and I apologise to our customers who didn’t have that experience,” she said.

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“While we know that the job isn’t done and that customers still want to see more from us, we’re continuing to see an improvement from our customer initiatives.

“Our net promoter score – the main measurement of customer satisfaction – continues to trend up and we continue to improve our punctuality which is now closing in on the levels we had before the pandemic.”

Qantas says it has seen fewer eligible complaints to the ACA in 2024 than it did last year.

“As at March 2024, we had cleared the backlog of existing customer complaints with Qantas and, so far this year, we’ve finalised complaints through the Airline Customer Advocate in an average of 11 calendar days and resolved more than 82 per cent of the escalated complaints,” said Larritt.

“With more than a hundred new aircraft set to join our fleet, a major overhaul of our digital experience underway and continued investment in the customer experience, our focus on our customers has never been stronger.”

While it recorded the quickest finalisation time for complaints, Virgin Australia also recorded the most complaints per 1000 passengers for cancellations and flight delays, refunds, and loyalty program, with Jetstar receiving the most complaints on fees and charges.

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia said it is “always looking for ways to improve the customer experience”.

“Our operational performance has significantly improved since 2023, with current on-time performance and completion rates near or above pre-COVID levels.

“We resolved customer complaints through the ACA within 16 days on average in 2023, which is faster than any other airline and six times faster than our major competitor.

“Earlier this year we expanded our Australian-first baggage tracking functionality in the Virgin Australia app across our domestic and international network, which followed the launch of our self-service disruption management tool, Rapid Rebook, in 2023.”

A complaint is considered “finalised” when it is actioned and closed, and “resolved” when the customer accepts the outcome.

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