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Qantas Gaslights Passengers Over Hours Long Call Wait Times and Long Queues at Sydney Airport

Qantas Gaslights Passengers Over Hours Long Call Wait Times and Long Queues at Sydney Airport

Qantas boss Alan Joyce attempted to walk back critical remarks he made about his own customers who have faced eight hour long call wait times and snaking queues at Sydney airport on Friday after he said passengers were the cause of major delays because they weren’t “match fit”.

Joyce suggested that passengers had forgotten many of the basics of flying after two years of travel restrictions and lockdowns, and that inexperience was the cause of many of the delays.

Passengers have shared images and video of long and chaotic queues snaking around and out the door of terminal buildings at Sydney Airport.  Some passengers have missed their flights as a result of the delays and more disruption is expected over the weekend and throughout the Easter period.

Joyce said the delays were down to passengers forgetting to remove their laptops and aerosols from their bags when going through airport security.  Sydney Airport backed up Joyce’s criticism, tweeting:

“We’re facing a perfect storm at the moment. Traffic numbers are picking up, travellers are inexperienced after two years of not traveling, and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience.”

Qantas has responded to mounting criticism over long call centre wait times by also blaming passengers, saying that 60 per cent of calls could have been sorted via the Qantas website.

Qantas says call volumes have nearly doubled compared to before the pandemic and that average call times have increased by around 50 per cent due to the complexity of COVID-related travel enquiries.

And while the airline acknowledges call wait times are “not acceptable”, a Qantas spokesperson said it “will take some time for call wait times to normalise”.

The Transportation Workers Union (TWU) has laid the blame at Joyce’s door, saying much of the disruption was down to his decision to axe thousands of jobs during the pandemic and outsource many others to third parties.

“There are 2,000 Qantas ground crew sitting at home waiting to be reinstated, after being illegally sacked so Qantas could rehire them on cheaper pay and worse conditions,” slammed TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

“Qantas pocketed A$865 million in JobKeeper and at the same time illegally outsourced its entire ground operations.  Now the airline doesn’t have enough customer service workers, baggage handlers or ground staff to respond to surging demand.”

View Comments (3)
  • Airlines don’t want to speak to their Customers anymore because they are frightened that they might have to answer some difficult questions. This is an Industry in complete contempt for their Customers.

  • Airports and airlines around the world, that took hundreds of millions in loans, grants and bailouts, “it’s YOUR fault as paying customers for flying you bigots!”🙄

    The excuse of lack staff is of their own making and it was also them calling on their Govs demanding air travel was restored and restrictions lifted. It’s not like Govs woke up one morning and said “hey let’s just remove everything and go back to like beforehand”. There was, generally, plenty of notice and that’s to the public. The operators would’ve been given even more advanced notice but they chose to keep people laid off instead of bringing them back in to get them compliant again or to have trained up new intakes.

  • The problem with checking the website for up to date information is that every single staff member at the airport can override anything the website says. And if you show them their own damn website using your phone you risk not flying at all.

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