Qantas change a ‘nightmare for passengers’
Qantas passengers will no longer have access to last-minute assistance at the airport to deal with cancellations or flight changes after the airline said it would cut sales and service desks.
Customers will still be able to speak with staff at check-in desks but will be forced to deal with other booking changes online or through a call centre.
The industry union said the change would be a "nightmare for passengers" once it comes into effect in about a year.
Qantas confirmed to NCA NewsWire the cost-cutting strategy would result in 100 job losses and was part of the previously announced 6000 cuts.
"There are a few factors behind this change," executive manager Phil Capps said, insisting nearly all last-minute modifications are performed online already.
"The main driver is an increasing shift towards people using our app to check in and manage their own bookings, particularly as we expand what the app can do.
"This was happening before COVID, but it has accelerated significantly since.
"Given that shift, we can't ignore the efficiencies that come with removing the traditional sales desks, particularly in the current environment."
The Australian Services Union said "workers feel betrayed" by the move and the change would be felt by passengers who would be left "on your own".
"Travellers will be forced to do everything themselves online, even if there are cancellations or delays where previously people have been able to ask a person to help," assistant national
secretary Emeline Gaske said.
"The kicker is cutting lost baggage services - if your bag is missing there will be no one at the airport dedicated to help.
"If you're at the airport and your bag is missing you will have to call a contact centre in Hobart. By the time your bag is found, it could be on the other side of the country - if they find it at all.
"This is a huge problem for all passengers but especially for those needing a little extra help, such as infrequent travellers, older Australians and people with a disability."
Qantas said it expected all job losses to be voluntary redundancies.
Originally published as Qantas change a 'nightmare for passengers'