View Full Version : Qantas and public perception

14th Sep 2008, 14:13
Just had an interesting talk 10 mins ago with a lady at the local servo. She said she wont fly Qantas anyomore with specific reference to overseas maintenance.

Ok, it was just one person, but the problem is, while we in the industry know all about the problems and the technical stuff etc, and know that QF aircraft are still safe, if not to the same standard as the past. But........when lay people start taking notice, and it does come up in social circles, you DO have a problem. remember perception is 90% of the law. Afterall, image is golden in business.

It would seem that Alan Joyce has his work cut out, firstly to fix the problems then to reassure the public.

Anecdotal evidence shows that the public believe Qantas was the safest airline in the world ..........until recently. Thats what QF leadership is up against.

Just thought I;d share it.

14th Sep 2008, 22:40
Did you mention to her that every other international airline also get their maintenance done overseas i.e. outside Australia

14th Sep 2008, 22:52
An old friend of mine from uni told me the other day he had changed his tickets for work travel to Air NZ because he thinks it's safer. I was surprised as he is a civil engineer and a pretty relaxed sort of guy, I thought he would have paid little attention to the newspapers but apparently not. That is what Qantas is up against, average jo off the street, intelligent and reasonable, is choosing to fly other carriers due to the perception that Qantas is not safe.
I just said "fair enough" because I couldn't be bothered explaining my opinion to him. The extent of the problem did surprise me though.

14th Sep 2008, 22:56
B Bandit
And that is exactly the problem.
In the past Qantas was seen as a cut above the rest because they had Australian maintenance.Some of that kudos was probably as a result of the large maint. establishment of the day. In Sydney at least, most people knew a lot of the employees.Now everyone in Sydney knows someone who is ex Qantas Engineering

Now Qantas is seen as no different to the rest so the pax go for the cheapest. Just like the fact that no one pays a premium for Chinese articles, the potential pax sees no reason to pay a premium for what they perceive is a downmarket product. It is a hard argument to counter when the customers continue to experience poor service and failures. In my case as a former shareholder and a former long serving empoyee, I will no longer fly internationally with them unless I have no choice. Being dumped in LAX and lied to about the problem on my way to JFK and told to go see American and sort it out myself, was the last straw. And before someone mentions Staff Travel, I was on a full fare.



14th Sep 2008, 23:12
Did you mention to her that every other international airline also get their maintenance done overseas i.e. outside Australia

That's the problem, in the end, it's perception. It doesn't really matter what the facts are. People are 99% informed through the media and will believe anything they are told. I'm sure everyone as tech crew here gets asked much more recently by friends and family members "what's going on with Qantas?" purely because of the increase in stories in the news about Qantas' safety/maintenance etc.

The reporter assigned to a story will report things to give their 2min slot the biggest oompf and then every other news team will jump on the bandwagon depending on how much hype the story generates. If you think about it, we're all victims of the media. How much of your day to day current events information (sport, weather, politics etc) do you hear from the tv, radio or internet and then talk to your friends about it?

People who know nothing about aviation are unlikely to question what they are told and whether it is any different to any other airline. Just the same as if we're told that a product or company is dodgy on ACA or Today Tonight. Do we really go out and do our own research after the story has aired to see if we're going to use that product again? If the public is told that Qantas is now unsafe, then unfortunately that perception then becomes the reality for most.

Capt Wally
14th Sep 2008, 23:17
I believe that Mr & Mrs 'Joe average whom once chose to fly QF 'cause of their safety record & being Ozzy owned had any idea how why when or where maint was doe on QF's A/C, any A/C for that matter but in recent times such issues (maint) have become more known to the general public thru bad publicity & obvioulsy some dubious maint practices all involving QF's A/C & hence they are starting to take notice.
You hop on board a public bus or train somewhere in the world nobody knows who looks after it maint wise nobody even gives it a second thought but am sure they would if they started to crash & it came out that 'maybe' such events where due maint issues.
Like all forms of transport humans travel in them time & time again 'till something happens like a crash. Then they might re-asses it all and after time we all forget enough to continue on our merry way!

For now though QF are in the fore front of the traveling publics mind re safety issues & will judge how they travel next time based on what they know from the only source they have, the at times useless media!.
It's all about choice, something that once upon a time in OZ we had little of!

14th Sep 2008, 23:46
Booooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring Get over it NEXT

A deadbeat at the servo reckons blah blah blah Remember no one else in the world can maintain an a/c better than Ozzies.:ugh:

15th Sep 2008, 00:01
LAMEs had a pyrrhic victory in securing their pay rise. Their widely publicised opinions about Qantas overseas maintenance has driven the customers away.:sad:

15th Sep 2008, 00:18
Tune Dog,

How on earth can you call the lady at the servo a deadbeat ???- She may well own it or be filling up the BMW on the way to picking her children up from the local private school. She may even own the local servo.

Fact is that it is these "deadbeats" who buy airline tickets in a very competitive market. If the PERCEPTION is that Q.F are no longer as safe as they were and these "deadbeats" stop using Q.F. then many Q.F staff may well find themselves behind the counter of the local servo themselves.

The safety factor has been a huge commercial winner for Q.F and now that factor is losing it's pulling power. This is a huge challenge for the incoming Q.F management.

15th Sep 2008, 00:44
I think there is still a belief that QF have very high standards of crew training and experience shows that when the layers of protection peel away, its downto the crew alone.

QF have for example had two incidents lately where reasonable chunks of automation went down and a/c were hand flown for reasonable periods etc, we all have read the stories, and these are cases where excellent crew make a big difference over some very ordinary crew training.

Its along shot to take but the 737 in Russia on the weekend with an engine fire may well have bruned the wing off, or could it have been an assymetric handling problem while hand flown at low level, low power descent and at 3000 a handfull of thrust on the good engine, and lost it! (having done it in a sim...its not something i would like to do for real:uhoh:)

So while we all trust the majors to have good standards of crew training, when the equipment they have is showing higher rates of failure, even if just a public perception, the feeling of safety from the greater public is is reduced.

Whether reduced safety at Q= is fact or fiction, QF do have a public image problem at the moment and that is a fact.


15th Sep 2008, 00:45
The organisation I work for use to mandate company travel on QF, the recent issues with reliability of services...especially to/from the US has actually reversed the company policy so that the internal travel desk will now only book QF if no other carrier is available.
We buy somewhere around 30,000 long haul business class sectors and around 100,000 domestic sectors a year and I'm pretty confident that we aren't the only large organisation that is considering changing it's travel policy.

There is a level of poor perception around the safety aspects of the engineering disruption, but the risks are still lower than coming a cropper in the taxi on the way to airport....the real killer for frequent travellers is punctuality and reliability of service.

15th Sep 2008, 01:29
Dixon will most likely leave with a Golden Handshake.He has done absolutley nothing to deserve any money at all.
Look at the mess in the states...large financial instituitons brought to their knees by incompetence and greed.The bastards walk away with millions.
Its obscene..Dixon is obscene.
It appears these swine are untouchable.
But Kharma gets them all in the end

15th Sep 2008, 01:46
It won't help public perception when your OTP is 62% (Jul) and cancellations go off the chart and have to be written in numbers on the side (6.6% Jun and 6.7% Jul). Jetstar and VB were not much different only faring slightly better on cancellations/OTP.

Was interesting that Q-link was not affected and did well during the period and tiger was the best all round.

If given the choice however I always fly QF now, prefer the extra room and free drink/snack, professional staff/crew, even if i get there an hour late. Don't get the choice much though so unfortunately have experienced all the others recently too.

15th Sep 2008, 02:29
Did you mention to her that every other international airline also get their maintenance done overseas i.e. outside Australia

Problem is that overseas MRO's don't operate like Sydney heavy did. And there are alot of so-called experts who make comment on this subject that have no experience.

LAMEs had a pyrrhic victory in securing their pay rise. Their widely publicised opinions about Qantas overseas maintenance has driven the customers away.http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/puppy_dog_eyes.gif

In Sydney heavy, there were many LAME's on the shop floor carrying out the maint on our aircraft. Our clunkers & 744's were in very good shape. We knew this because we saw customer aircraft come in and they were nothing on our aircraft. Alot of people never saw this.

What alot of people don't also see is the way other MRO's operate. At one particular overseas MRO that I visited, there was one LAME on our (Qantas's) aircraft from that MRO who was certifying/supervising. But he was also certifying/supervising 2 other aircraft in that hangar. This is a major difference. And the mechanics he was supervising, some had no qualifications behind them, not even a trade cert. This is where QF saves money. Sure QF have a couple of LAME's there too, but most of the time they are tied down with paperwork, contacting Qantas base & Boeing or logistics etc, etc. They are usually not there to certify.

Add to this the very tight schedules & budgets that these MRO's operate on which in turn leads them to cut corners, which have been proven. This is a big step backwards in major maint on Australian aircraft.

100% LAME, 100% safe.....

15th Sep 2008, 03:16
Someone mentioned the engineers pyrrhic victory in the eba.

The LAME EBA is not what is turning passengers away.

QF management has underestimated the importance and value of our safety record. They even put LAME's on "change management" courses where they were told that the travelling Australian public no longer considered safety as a high priority when choosing an airline to travel with. These people got it very wrong. It is the decisions being made by our management that are turning our passengers away.

15th Sep 2008, 04:14
What I find hillarious is you so called professionals are getting caught up in the media hype concerning Qantas. .

Haven't you clowns been cynical towards the media previously in the way they report incidents?

We all know Q is one of the best run in both terms of safety and profit. Alwasy has and always will.

The new Australian way. If you can't beat shoot em down.:=

Talking to old hags at a servo about te airline industry. Not cool. Did you have your uniform on? No students today?

15th Sep 2008, 05:15
Does anyone else think Cpttunedog sounds like a real grippa?

Green gorilla
15th Sep 2008, 05:24
Its not if the planes are unsafe its getting to your destination ontime.

15th Sep 2008, 05:46

So it's ok to call Jetstars pax bogans and deadbeats etc but not Q's? Are you people for real.

So let me get this right. Q has no pax that are deadbeats?

Double standards fellas. You guys love the band wagon.

Dare to be different:D

15th Sep 2008, 06:46
When you are talking about a service industry such as an airline it is all about perception.

Crew here know or rather think from a different perspective because they understand and are familiar with the technical side of the business.

it is a different mater though with the majority of the customers.They read new Idea,watch ACA or something similar and can only judge what is reported in the media.

If you as a consumer and have been told that a bank is shaky you will withdraw your funds from that bank.If you are looking for a new car and see in the media that a certain brand is giving problems and have no other information to make a judgement on you will buy another brand of car...because you don't want to spend your hard earned cash on a lemon that might spend more time in a workshop than on the road as well as it's resale value being less than you have borrowed to buy it or save for it.

That is bad enough but when it is about putting your life in someone's hands in a piece of equipment that is rumoured to be less than in optimum shape then you will probably look elsewhere for a ticket and if it's cheaper then so much the better...

captaintunedog777....I'm not sure why you think someone in petrol station might be a deadbeat (I'm sure you have been in a petrol station once or twice) but the average person in the street is the same person who is going to buy a ticket on your aircraft or is thinking about.
Whether it is the local petrol station or the beach or backyard BBQ the average joe is the one who is watching the media and talking with their wallet so I would think twice if I were you about who you call a dead beat.

In this business perception is everything and it has been taken for granted by the people at the top for too long...

15th Sep 2008, 06:58
It's a bit of a worry when we read about Qantas employees who do not seem to know about nitrogen and oxygen, and even change the fittings to allow them to stuff it up.
If this keeps gong on maybe we should send aircraft iverseas for maintenance.

15th Sep 2008, 07:49
This thread, as with others about Qantas maintenance always comes across with one main point.It is always the fault of someone else, either management, non Oz maintenance, the media etc.etc. Qantas maintenance always seem to think they are the only one's in the right. Perhaps they are the only one's believing their own war stories but surely they have a large contribution to make to the poor, perceived, reputation of the company.Some of the publicised maintenance issues don't appear to have anything to do with anyone except Qantas home maintenance but no one owns up to that, everything gets deflected to the argument that the others are doing something wrong.
If you want to save your company and your jobs it is time that you all started being positive about Qantas and getting this across to the public.The lack of trust and constant bickering eventually gets out to the punters.If you don't sort it the solution will be that you become a small niche company flying the Australian flag while all of the money is earned by non Australian airlines.
Don't assume that you are the best and deserve anything because you aren't(and don't).You are good but so are the other domestic competitors and the majority of your long haul competitors.
Their are credible alternatives and you will have to be competitive to get the business, this won't happen as long as you are queing up to do your own company down and causing disruptions that cost the company.After all the punters have to pay to recover these costs, they will only come to you if they think it is worth it.
Finally don't come back with the usual whinge that i must be management because i am saying these things, I ain't i'm happily retired and a regular flyer to Oz,. I don't fly Qantas longhaul at the moment cos your business fares are still a bit high (but are coming down relative to the competition), i will fly with you without hesitation if you become competitive.You have always been good before. Domestically i fly either the cheapest or most convenient cos all of your domestic airlines are basically the same..
Right that has cleared the air for me ,i'm off for my breakfast.....

15th Sep 2008, 08:29
f you want to save your company and your jobs it is time that you all started being positive about Qantas and getting this across to the public.

It is hard for employees to be positive when the CEO is always negative. Nice to see him go. I hope Alan Joyce is better.

15th Sep 2008, 08:52
If you want to save your company and your jobs it is time that you all started being positive about Qantas and getting this across to the public.
...I always thought that was what the CEO and the rest of the board and managers were for because if it is not then what on earth are they paid for?

1DC......Have you ever watched an interview with Darth?....Positive???....

15th Sep 2008, 08:55
Booooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring Get over it NEXT

A deadbeat at the servo reckons blah blah blah Remember no one else in the world can maintain an a/c better than Ozzies.

I suspect this attitude sums up why the airline industry seems to be perpetually in trouble. It hasn't got over the 1950's image of what flying was.

Airlines are now just a service industry just like Greyhound, the local hospital or a telecomunication business except you have more hurdles because of the risks involved, as perceived by your customers. You know the ones, those that pay the money for their tickets so the airline can pay it's wages each week.

Calling someone, you have never met, a 'deadbeat' is about the botttom of the intelligence barrel as far as I am concerned.:mad:

15th Sep 2008, 09:31
yes cynicism towards the media and the way things are reported.
Unfortunately the very real perception BY THE PUBLIC is led by the media.
Some issues are newsworthy ie hole in aircraft casa review, some are outright crap.
The public dont give a toss whether its a freak accident or not but when they hear ,see, read about emergency descents, holes , explosions grounded aircraft, cancellations galore,casa investigations,slipping standards , always late is it any wonder the petrol hags come to that conclusion?
With a 744 out of action for months and the 734's grounded for not knowing whats been acquitted to the pressure bulkhead & the casa audit I think the "petrol station hags" you condescendingly refer to have the right to believe standards have slipped.
Qantas always has had a great record but always will??
Your crystal ball is better than mine.

15th Sep 2008, 10:22
There has been a lot of talking down going on but it is on the back of tumultuous change in the industry and massive (no exageration) disenchantment with the way things are done in QE.
I've been around quite a while and been in a number of jobs.GA, other airlines OS work contract heavy, line etc
There is a certain arrogance by some who've never seen or been anywhere else.Its makes me cringe at times.
Qantas engineers do make stuff ups, thankfully mostly small or picked up by others or the engineer themselves but as an outsider I'll vouch for plenty I've worked with as being up there with the best.

Trying to talk up the positives is a good place to start.Being allowed the resources and being supported and listened to by some in the management area also very important. I cant believe some of the silly things they do and say to people and fail to accept the opinions of vastly experienced people who work for them.It is rare that any idea or initiative from below is acted upon.I find that very strange.
I also think some areas need to boost their productivity.

It is hard to be positive when you have bosses that talk down to you ignore you or constantly talk down the airline and its situation.

Being happy in the job is a complex thing.It feels like some in exec positions go out of their way to piss people off and make them uncomfortable.A happy workforce is a great advertisement, how we engender that is tough task.

I do believe qantas is still a very safe airline and tell people that but also air my reservations if questioned about certain things because I do get asked a lot about what is going on.

Thanks for your input as a customer.

15th Sep 2008, 13:01
Booooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring Get over it NEXT

A deadbeat

called tunedog

reckons blah blah blah

16th Sep 2008, 00:31
Its interesting to watch the amount of time and money world famous brands like Nike, Prada, Gucci, Addidas, Lacoste etc etc spend chasing fakes an immitations and counterfeit goods. its in the hundreds of millions each year collectively.

Why, its about protecting their reputation, protecting the brand that they have spent billions over the decades getting it into the psyche of the public.

Merceded Benz, who are the definition of a quality car (in the public eye.....that is rich people drive a Mercedes)recently had a reality check when they face a backlash from customers over a perceieved fall in product quality. They have spent billions to fix the problems and gain back customer confidence.

Airlines are no different in the marketplace.

16th Sep 2008, 13:15
A strap line that always acted as a reality check to me during my career was

"Management, at its risk, ignores the guy doing the job."

Perception is key. On the kanagroo route there are so many combinations of carriers from end to end all after the customers /$$$$.
Many customers no longer trust the airline blurb especially as they have the web to search on price and feedback.

James 1077
17th Sep 2008, 02:20
My work here in NZ has banned staff from flying Qantas unless no other carrier is available.

The ban is to be reviewed in March 2009.

17th Sep 2008, 11:28
This is part of an article I found on Bloomberg.

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Qantas Airways Ltd. (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=QAN%3AAU), Australia's largest airline, met with corporate clients and other customers after several incidents on its flights raised concerns that safety standards may be slipping.
Qantas started the briefings ``recently,'' it said in an e- mail reply to Bloomberg queries. The Sydney-based carrier was ordered by a government regulator this month to improve the maintenance of its planes.
``We are more than happy to brief our corporate and other clients on these programs and systems,'' the carrier said.
Qantas needs to convince its customers on safety to avert a risk of losing business passengers to rivals such as Singapore Airlines Ltd. Qantas, with a near spotless crash record, has this year announced job cuts and slashing of routes to cope with higher oil prices.
``Qantas has acknowledged that it was a concern and that they were getting feedback from their customers, business travelers and frequent fliers,'' said Peter Harbison (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Peter+Harbison&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), managing director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation. ``They have been seeking to reassure them to let them know that they are as safe as they ever were.''

Full story online at Bloomberg.com: Australia & New Zealand (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601081&sid=aLz1VsSiDNIs&refer=australia)

21st Sep 2008, 12:21
After the Blomberg article ,I noticed this on Yahoo Australia today.

Qantas management have been forced to defend allegations that they pressured an engineer to alter a report that said a crack in a plane had been painted over.
Management at the national carrier have been accused of covering up the fault, noted by an engineer and recorded in a safety report at Melbourne 's Avalon airport in May.
The original version of the engineer's report, which stated the crack in the Boeing 747-400's frame had been painted over, was later altered to remove the reference entirely.
The report had been changed because the Qantas worker had been pressured by "senior management to omit or alter information on the form", one engineer said in a complaint obtained by Fairfax newspapers.

Full story at : Qantas under fire over alleged cover-up - Yahoo!7 News (http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/5027923/qantas-alleged-coverup/)