Compensation Clinic: Qantas Seat Issue & Out Of Champagne

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A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us his Compensation Clinic-case from a Qantas flight that run out of the champagne midway, and there was an issue with the seat too.

Qantas

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I was flying in a Business Classic Award seat, my partner had paid to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business.

Unfortunately approximately 6 hours into the QF11 SYD – LAX leg of our flight we ran out of champagne. As I’m sure you can understand, when choosing to fly Business class and selecting Qantas as the airline to fly with, it is an expectation that F&B amenities, like champagne, do not run out – especially when you are not even half way through the flight.

Additionally, there were issues with the functionality of my skybed with the IFE not popping out, or not retracting once finally pried out, as well as the recline buttons failing to function on the inside shell. I understand that we had a late aircraft change which meant we were switched to an older, non-refurbished A380, but this is not an excuse to provide a sub-par product.

I did discuss these issues with the Customer Service Manager on-board the flight who said he would make sure that this was detailed in his report, and that he could only offer a token gesture of 5,000 QFF points. The CSM recommended that for such a significant service failure like this, that I formalise my complaint so that the points paid for the flights in my instance, and the upgrade cost can be refunded and that a make-good, in the form of an upgrade on our return flight from SFO – SYD can be applied.

Below is the response I received from Qantas:

We understand that flying Business Class is an experience, and that Champagne on board are a big part of this service, so we acknowledge your disappointment when this product was no longer available.

As you can appreciate we like to offer our passengers a selection of beverages, but we also need to balance this with the storage limitations onboard, and our commitment to environmental sustainability and waste reduction. Our catering teams estimate how many of each product we will need on each flight using preference information gathered over the years.

I appreciate you highlighting your disappointment and I would like to assure you that your comments have been noted and forwarded to the relevant catering management team to be included in their future review

In regards to the control buttons, for clarity, the main Skybed seat controls are located on the armrest of the seat. When the Skybed is fully reclined, from a lying position, you can reach 2 buttons that are inside the “shell”, ( plastic moulding that surrounds the head end of the Skybed). These buttons are used to conveniently raise the bed back into the seated position. The crew have confirmed, these 2 buttons were not functioning. However the seat controls on the armrest were fully operational and you were able to recline the Skybed fully.

Nonetheless, as a gesture of goodwill, in recognition of your experience 10,000 Qantas Frequent Flyer points have been credited to your individual account

Overall, I am a little surprised though that the Qantas response seems more to provide excuses, rather than address and apologise for the service failure. At the end of the day Qantas failed to provide a full Business Class service on this flight, this was recognised and acknowledged by the CSM onboard, and this is not acceptable and needs to be rectified.

Offering a “goodwill gesture” not only down plays the failure, but indicates that Qantas does not accept or acknowledge that this is a failure on their behalf. Additionally a 10k point refund is not proportionate to the significance of the service failure; again this is something that the CSM acknowledged.

Conclusion

This is an inadequate offer for F&B and seat issues. I would say that the seat is the most important one and the champagne issue secondary,

I would say that a fair compensation would have been somewhere around 30,000 to 50,000 Qantas points.

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