5 years of goodwill out the window??
I am a fan ( still at this stage ) of Qantas domestic... and after nearly 6 years of constant cross Australia travel it is unusual to experience anything but a minor annoyance from "The Spirit of Australia."
But QF489 Sydney to Melbourne last night April 19th, 2006 undid most of that.
I arrived at the airport 2 hours early... strange for me, and I was loaded down with luggage for my seminar program - 7 items, 2 for the cabin, and 5 for for the luggage hold. So you can imagine the sight of me struggling with the trolley to the check in counter.
After an unusually long wait to be called, as their were more counter staff than customers in the line, I handed my Frequent Flyer card to the check in lady. Now usually they swipe the card - why else give it up? - but this time I was asked what flight was I on to which I replied, it's late tonight to Melbourne. "Yes, but which flight??" rather surly she replied. "Not sure but late.."
Well, as I stood there, rightfully scolded, the card was swiped and my details confirmed. "There will a charge for excess luggage... $44 for 2 pieces" was my next exchange with the lady snarling back at me.
Now, having left Perth the evening before with more luggage but only being charges the similar amount of $44 for 2 extra pieces, I queried how that could be? Not to mention of course that earlier in the month Qantas DOUBLED the excess luggage rate!
"Well..." she retorted, "I will write to Perth and tell them that they should be consistent in charging... you are going to be charged for 2 pieces at $44. I can get my surpervisor if you want me to confirm that I am right."
I then suffered whilst it was made very clear that I wasn't entitled to be considered in the same place as this lady and there was even the suggestion from the guy at the next counter that they should weigh my carry on luggage. But I kept my cool, well for me I did, and trugged over to the counter to pay the $44...
My real gripe with the way Qantas do the excess luggage is that you can't pay at the check in counter but must go to the sales counter where everything is written up, in duplicate, then electronically charged, and then, because you are now a second class customer, they give you back your boarding pass.
When will Qantas trust their counter staff to take the money from their customers at point of the charging of the excess, as Virgin Blue do??
Well that's a good start to a quick 90 minute trip to Melbourne.
Part 2 to come...