Start Up Blog

Brand in decline – Qantas

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 5, 2012

I’ve been loyal to Qantas for a very long time. Initially because it was superior (certainly in the post Ansett environment) more recently because of irrational reasons and lack of choice. These days are now officially over. But rather than bore you with the number of brand fails I have had to endure, I’ll share with you the catalyst event which has now resulted in my decision.

Qantas regards itself as a full service airline. For these reasons I have been a loyal brand user – to the point where I have become a Gold Frequent Flyer. The bundle of benefits included features like high frequency of flights, safety record (although that is questionable now), lounge access at airports, on board service, on board entertainment, a global alliance flying scheme to name a few things.

When traveling on business I really like knowing I will get a meal when leaving directly from work, time is limited and it is one less thing I need to think about. It was good to know my 7pm flight two days ago included ‘Dinner‘ pre-flight as can be seen below. So there can be no disputing, what Qantas believe they are providing.

Unfortunately when dinner arrived – it didn’t quite meet my expectations.

In fact, I feel insulted by Qantas that they call this dinner. It’s plan rude. If you asked someone out for dinner – would you buy themĀ a sandwich? If you had people over for dinner, would you give them a sandwich?

When you insult customers they eventually take their business elsewhere.

This decision to save less than $5 on a hot dinner has resulted in Qantas losing my $25,000 I spend on air tickets per year. As now I will fly Virgin Australia domestically (now full service with decent lounges) and Singapore Airlines when going overseas (who are now linked to Virgin in Frequent Flyer schemes).

Yes, by trying to save $5, Qantas have just lost $25,000 from a Gold frequent Flyer.

For me it comes down to brand promise. It isn’t that I want too much, but what I do want what the brand promises me. And when the brand attempts to deceive, or save cost against their promise – that is when I look to other providers.


10 Responses

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  1. Sam Sabey said, on March 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

    You’ve taken a while to fetch on samma!
    Quantarse failed in late 1998′ and just think how much moar Jet-A1 they can buy when they serve you that sandwich.
    Besides, how much do you REALLY need to fly?
    @samotage – energyaware

    • Steve Sammartino said, on March 5, 2012 at 11:08 am

      True – we should fly less. And although I enjoy being in skies… thankfully we can do more and more via the intertubes these days….

      … also, I’m a slow learner ;-)

  2. lukemccormack said, on March 5, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    For a while there Virgin were matching frequent flyer programs point-for-point. So as a Gold frequent flyer with Qantas you could wander over to Virgin and become a Gold frequent flyer on their books too. Closed now, but I’m sure they’ll run it again at some point.

  3. Ryan said, on March 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    As Bob Marley sang, “a hungry man is an angry man.”

  4. Jason Schoolmeester said, on March 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I will be interested in knowing how well Virgin compares. My experiences with Virgin has been less than stellar.

    PS don’t forget to use all you points!!

  5. Rob said, on March 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Hear hear! Couldn’t agree more. Accountants have taken over control from smart managers at Qantas. A once-great brand now in rapid decline due to silly decisions like this. On a trip back from Perth last year I got charged $150 excess baggage on the same surfboard that I had taken to Perth without charge. Yes, I was a few kg over the baggage limit but the ill will that this $150 created cost them far more than the $150 they got for it. And yes, I shared a scan of the charge slip and the $150 bill with their logo on it on surf report site seen by 150,000 surfers!

    That ‘dinner’ is pathetic. Shame on you Qantas.

    • Steve Sammartino said, on March 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

      The worst thing is – they blamed the ‘heating up’ time as the reason for serving a sandwich via twitter. To which I replied – what about a ‘cold meal’ – of course they had no answer to this.


  6. Mike said, on March 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Air New Zealand – the way to go. They really are leap years ahead.

  7. Peter Whyntie said, on April 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Now they have sent an invitation to enter a Frequent Flyer survey to win free flights. Their email to me had all my correct account details. Note – THEY SENT IT TO MY FREQUENT FLYER EMAIL ADDRESS. Guess what happens when you hit the ENTER button? A nice message that says “Sorry, we cant match your frequent flyer details”. THEY SENT IT TO ME FROM MY ACCOUNT! How incredibly dumb is this. And why would I believe they can safely service an aircraft if they can’t even master this technology!!!!!

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