Qantas has announced that it will close its service and sales desks at airports and lounges and will direct people to automated kiosks instead where they can self service their matter.
Qantas has been especially hard hit by the restrictions implemented by the Australian government both with their international but also domestic connections as they have implemented the most restrictive travel regime worldwide.
The carrier hasn’t moved much for the last six months while their North American and European competitors were able to pick up at least some business again.
As ABC News reports reason for doing away with airport service counters is that customers are increasingly going online to purchase tickets and extra baggage.
Qantas has announced it will close its service and sales desks at airports and lounges around the country as passengers increasingly turn online to manage their bookings.
Check-in counters will remain but there will be fewer staff operating lost-baggage counters, which will also have its opening hours reduced.
Qantas says the desk closures will cost 100 jobs — the first of 6,000 redundancies the airline announced earlier this year.
A Qantas spokesperson said the cuts would not affect the check-in desks, just the service and sales desks where customers can buy tickets and extra baggage allowances on domestic flights.
Qantas executive manager Phil Capps said the desk closures had been made in response to more customers moving online to check into their flight and manage their booking. …
“Given that shift, we can’t ignore the efficiencies that come with removing the traditional sales desks, particularly in the current environment,” Mr Capps said.
A Qantas spokesperson said about 80 per cent of inquiries at its service desks were from customers wanting to change seats or flights. …
Next year, sales and service desks will be phased out and some employees will move from behind desks to the check-in area and will have mobile payment devices to process sales. …
Airlines that have moved all their services to an electronic solution have not fared well with this initially but eventually over a longer period of time passengers will get used to it and ease in.
They will always need one person on the shift who can trouble shoot things that can’t be done online or through a machine. There are elderly passengers who aren’t very tech savvy and some who don’t speak English. Time will tell if this is a wise move, especially removing the services counter at the Qantas Clubs where people pay a rather high membership fee.
This cutting back in services will be seen across the airline industry as carriers are under lots of pressure to reduce costs in order to avoid going under. Even more reason to try and try and gain elite status or travel premium class whenever possible. How much more miserable can air travel get?
I’m not a fan of removing every little service contact where a passenger can go and utilize support other than a simple check-in. There are a few times every year where I visit a physical ticket counter for the one or other reason, mostly when something went wrong and I’m affected by a long delay or cancellation.
I like to be able to have an agent in front of me and stay there until the matter if taken care of. If you’re forced to exclusively deal with the airline on the phone they can just hang up when they have enough of you and choose to ignore your problem.
I still miss the good old City Ticket Offices (CTO) that the big airlines had in the major cities. Some still do but mostly in Asia.