(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)
(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

Remember Easter, when pictures of the huge queues snaking out of Sydney airport’s domestic terminal were going viral? Well, brace yourself, because the winter holidays are here and we very much doubt things will be any different, given that the CEO of Australia’s national carrier is spending all of his time making excuses for Qantas’ shabby performance instead of actually addressing the problems.

As Bernard Keane wrote earlier this week, the return to the skies of Qantas, after spending the pandemic begging to begin operating again and lashing out at various premiers and health measures, has been an absolute disaster — with endless flight delays, cancelled flights, customer service nightmares and baggage consistently going astray or disappearing altogether. 

So what’s going on? Well, according to Joyce, passengers aren’t “match fit” anymore and kept forgetting to remove their laptops. Silly us! Then he went on to blame the airports for not having enough staff.

Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that Joyce sacked 6000 staff during the pandemic and hasn’t managed to replace them (you may remember them — the staff that check you in, deal with your bags, get you on the plan and deal with your calls and complaints). But where would he find the time? He’s been busy with a court case: the nearly 1700 ground handlers he sacked are, unsurprisingly, suing him for compensation after he illegally outsourced their jobs.

So, Alan, we’re going to give you one last chance. The winter holidays are upon us. Can you do better?

Here’s the deal: we passengers will get “match fit” and be travelling angels. All you have to do to uphold your end of the bargain is what it says on the packet: get us (and our luggage) from point A to point B within a reasonable amount of time. Simple. 

Crikey readers, here’s how we’ll hold Joyce to account together: follow the simple instructions below when you travel with Qantas. If the above expectations are not met, send us your story. How long was your delay? Did your flight get cancelled? Where on earth did your luggage end up? No need to wait until the holidays — if you’ve followed the rules and still had a shitty Qantas experience, let us know now by sending in your story and any photos to boss@crikey.com.au.

Getting ‘match fit’ for your winter Qantas travel

  1. Book your ticket (make sure you don’t need changes to it, because a lot of customer service staff have been sacked, so wait times on the phone will be long).
  2. Arrive at the airport an hour before your flight (or if you see images of giant airport queues on the news the night before, give it two hours).
  3. Check-in the night before or 24 hours early when they send an email reminder, knowing full well that if you leave it to the day of your flight there will be huge lines.
  4. Wait in the aforementioned huge lines anyway on the day if you have luggage to check-in.
  5. Go through security, remembering to take out your aerosols and laptops (just remember: a cute quirk of the system is that not every airport requires you to take out your laptop anymore and signage is rarely up to date, so you may in fact get told to put it back in your bag, thus wasting more of Joyce’s time).
  6. Don’t go to the first cafe past security — it’s always too busy, go a little bit farther.
  7. Get to your gate half an hour before your flight and wait for the text telling you your flight has been delayed or cancelled, and that your luggage has ended up in Denver.

Have you followed all these steps yet still had a shitty Qantas travel experience? Let us know what happened at boss@crikey.com.au. (Please include your full name in the email – stories may be published in future editions of Crikey, please note in your email if you do not want your story shared).