Dear Qantas

Dear Qantas,

The romance is over. We’ve had a lifelong love affair, from my first few flights as an Aussie child to the first time I flew abroad to see the world, and then on to my proud career which has seen me travel to many corners of the globe. I always loved stepping aboard the flying kangaroo. No matter what far-flung place I’d just traversed, as soon as I heard the familiar accent of the flight attendants, I was already home.

But you killed it.

For all the miles, all my loyalty, all the years I’d spent being a comforted passenger, you tear it apart. I joined your loyalty program long ago. Why wouldn’t I? I was loyal.

But not you. You’ve mistreated me like a footballer’s wife. Sure, like the WAG, I hung on. I told myself it would get better – go back to the way it was. But you chipped away at my resolve until, today, I have awoken and will endure this relationship no more.

That’s the emotional parable. Now let’s talk business.

I’m in advertising. And I’m pretty sure I’m good at what I do. I understand brand dynamics and the business metrics. I’m all over the strategic intelligence behind marketing for acquisition and retention, the ROI of it all balanced against the imperative to build and maintain a brand.

Your ads sing the song. Your leverage the national heritage you have. You evolve with the landscape of the airline industry.

But you’re also scamming the very people you want to love you.

All the points I’ve racked up aren’t worth spit. No longer can a loyal flyer just convert those points into a well-earned seat. The limits on your ‘rewards seats’ are tight. You now fly through Dubai instead of Singapore, which has changed the entire dynamic of your market. It now means that no matter where a passenger flies from, the flight will be full on one of those legs (most often the Dubai to Sydney flight). Which means, there’ll never be a ‘rewards seat’ available.

How do I know?

One of your check-in staff at Heathrow International just told me. I’d always wondered why I couldn’t get a ‘rewards seat’, nor could I get an upgrade on any class seat I’d purchased. But when your staff member told me that the DUB-SYD leg is “always full” and that he’d “never seen an upgrade”, the penny dropped.

So my points are useless. But what about my member’s card? “To the lounge!”

Nope. That won’t get me in. Even the spare “With Compliments” card I have was rebuffed because it’s not valid at any One World lounge – only Qantas-branded lounges. But there isn’t one at Heathrow, one of the world’s largest and busiest airports. I wonder if there are any Qantas-branded lounges anywhere but in Australia?

So I write this in the British Airways lounge.

That’s right. I have a BA members card too. I guess I wasn’t the doting loyal romantic you thought. I kept a little affair on the side, just in case we didn’t work out.

And even though I’ve not flown anywhere near the number of miles on British Airways’ planes, and only been a member for 3 years (compared to the 20 years with you), they smiled and waved me in. I’m not even flying on a BA flight today. And I’m writing this on BA’s wifi as I sip BA’s gin.

This is where you’ve led me Qantas. You did this.

You drove me into the wings of another.

Sincerely,

Matt

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