These 3 photos where taken at Melbourne airport on a Friday night.
This is of a quick check (self check in terminal)of which there are 22.
This is of the the bag check in staff of which there were 3 working. (They have spaces for 22 employees)
And the this photo is of the ensuing crowd and chaos.
(the crowd goes around the corner it’s at least 100 deep)
I asked the staff member if she’d like some help tonight – she seemed flustered with how busy she was. She said “of course, but it’s ‘cheaper’ this way”. Then I asked if she thought “quick check” was quicker. She said “definitely not”.
So here’s the thing – Qantas make money out of the quick check. The save on overheads. On the balance sheet it makes sense. But what is the ‘real cost’ of doing it?
What it does is, is actually diminish what they actually provide at a differentiated level. It reduces their product from “service” to “travel”. They further commodify themselves against their low cost airline competitors. They make us ask why we are actually flying qantas and paying a premium…
– Is it the food service? – Not likely, given the food is most often a gourmet cookie & juice.
– Is it the service in the air? – Not likely, given their staff are less polite than budget airlines.
– Is it the airplanes? – Not likely, given all domestic players use the exact same aircraft.
– Is the the baggage allowance? – Not likely, given the allownaces are the same 20kg’s to tohers.
– Is it the terminal ambience? – Not likey, given it’s shared with jetstar.
– Is it their safety record? – Not likey given recent scares & that no major aircraft has ever crashed in Australia.
– Is it the inflight entertainment? – Maybe, but it’s a stetch these days given we all have mobile entertainment devices in our pocket.
– Is it the Frequent Flyer points? Maybe, but it’s marginal at best.
– Is it the Qantas Club? yes – if you are preapred to pay the $775 per annum.
And it can’t be their ground service, given the example above on a Friday night.
Qantas need to ask themselves some hard questions about what they actually offer – as a long time loyal customer, it’s waining quickly. Their point of difference is in a massive state of decline.
Here’s what Qantas ought do if they want to avoid further decline:
- Offer Hot meals & drinks every flight. Not just at dinner time. If we are travelling we didn’t have time for dinner or lunch, regardless of when our flight was. We are just as hungry on 7pm flights as we are on 6pm flights. It’s not the food which costs the airline, it’s serving it up. So, if you are going to serve it. Make it worth the effort.
- Make the ground experience comfortable and convenient. A few more staff members on the cehckout is a nice start.
- Provide free wifi to anyone with a boarding pass.
- Have a ‘no tricks’ Frequent Flyer program where any seat on any flight is available, and not for ‘extra points’ – we’ve already paid a premium for our tickets – remember Mr Qantas?
- Have separate terminals for your Budget Airline (Jetstar) and your Premium Airline (Qantas).
- Sing out loud in your advertising about how different the Qantas experience is. Make us feel special.
- Charge the price needed to make it profitable. You’ll be surpirsed how many of us will be preapred to pay for it.
It’s about time Qantas started to focus on it’s customers and forgot about it’s competitors. Eventually we all morph into what we focus.
I’m sure Qantas will tell us this isn’t possible – but tell that to the person who pays twice the price for a Mac book pro versus a Toshiba with the same configurations.
Startups out there: “Beat your competitors – don’t be them!”