Advantages Cheaper than other airlines
Disadvantages Poor customer service
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*Why Qantas?*As many of my friends on here know, I've just returned from a beautiful two week holiday with my dad in Singapore. Normally, my usual choice of airline is Singapore Airlines but as I was booking late (and found this option to be over £400 cheaper!); I decided to use Qantas for my journey provider. I was optimistic about the journey as I'd heard good things from them (through members from Ciao! amongst others), and thought that considering they were used to long haul flights, the kangaroo should be an expert when it came to flying.
*What happened?*I don't really like writing negative things, but my flight experience was actually miserable. Let me talk you through exactly what happened….. Houston, we have some problems!
1) Grounding control -Yup, problems from the word go - my ticket wasn't issued in the correct name and so I had to endure a long hour wait at customer services to get it sorted as well as paying at £25 correction fee. The actual problem was that Dial-A-Flight (the travel operator) had misspelled a letter in my name, and due to enhanced security measures, this had to be corrected. They then contacted Qantas who said that they'd accept the name misspelled as long as a copy of the passport was attached, so they could make the provision for it before I travelled. This just wasn't the case - poor customer service and unfounded organisational links were the primary cause of failure, which I didn't appreciate as I had already been told it would be fine before I went.
2) Poor take off -Now, I'm not really that hard to please, but given that I was about to fly for say 13 hours, I find the excuse that they can't fly due to rain (yes, rain!) just rubbish. I mean, it rains practically every day in the UK! Ok, so this might not totally be the fault of Qantas, but it added to my bad experience of flying as it increased my journey by two hours! The way back was also as bad on the UK side where they kept us on the tarmac for half an hour whilst they were waiting for another plane to take off. Please do sort it out Qantas - you're lovely staff don't stay so lovely after the 40th person has complained… And really, who can blame them?
3) In flight problems -Already upset by the longer flight time, I did manage to pass sometime by sleeping. Admittedly this is a little hard given the somewhat compromised space of Economy, but at least it's a timewaster. However, whilst awake I had to find something to do, and after watching Nicole Kidman's 'The Interpreter' for the fourth time, I decided to play some games on my in-flight system. Luck again was not on my side and I found the left and right directional buttons to fail me. I didn't think this would be a problem, but Tetris, chess, chequers, magma madness and crazy golf were all unplayable. I did ask the flight attendant if there was anything she can do, and so she suggested resetting the system. This didn't solve the problem though - another thing that could have gone better. The way back was really none the better, this time I did have directional buttons, but I also had a fuzzy line which would run up and down the screen. This does give you a headache after a while - although I did manage to put up with it through the whole of 'The sisterhood of the travelling pants'. It's a funny film.
4) Missing Items -On the way there I also experienced another problem of missing luggage. You see, because of the problems with my ticket, they hadn't put my bag on the plane and so even though I was in Singapore, my jeans, pj's and toothbrush weren't. After a long flight with two overactive youngsters (my sister and cousin), I just wasn't up for causing a scene so like a passive customer, I filled out my Dad's details on a card and left the airport with the reassurance that they'd deliver my luggage after the next UK plane arrived… I got my luggage the next day which was inconvenient given that I was on medication and had left them in my suitcase. For me, three strikes and you're out is a good motto to live by. Qantas, you've had four.
Well, apart from the stated disagreements, the flight attendants were actually lovely. The service was very quick, they were very friendly and more importantly; they tried to keep us as best informed during all times. I appreciate their hard work and so praise go where praise is due, they were fantastic. The highlight I think for my cousin was receiving a kid's travel pack (he loves to draw) and for my sister, a food bag which I think consisted of water, hula hoops, chocolate and fruit. Every passenger was given this and I thought it was a good idea as people may like to pick between each meal.
*Oh dear, was it all that bad?*
The food itself was good, or so I was given to understand. Suffering from extreme motion sickness, I've never eaten (and rarely drink) anything on flight; except this time were I managed to put down half a pack of crisps. I do however always order one thing of the menu and give it to my sister so she can have both (she likes it, I don't know why). To me, I think plane food has got much better over the years; it didn't look so much like reconstructed plastic, but lamb, potatoes, veg and gravy; or aubergine pasta; or fish with mash potato. She ate it all and said it was good, and I trust her on issues such as this so a big thumbs up in that department.Also, the choice of movies was pretty good. I had a bit of a problem with Singapore Airlines last year as they chose to play 'The Passion of the Christ' on the plane which I found very unsuitable for anyone under 18. Considering that there is no sort of block on such viewing, this could have been quite traumatising for young children if they got to watch it; either by selecting it, or just mucking around and accidentally flicking it on. Films this year were much more appropriate by having things such as 'Mr and Mrs Smith', 'Madagascar' and Jet Li's new film, 'Unleashed'. This I thought appealed to an extended audience and probably couldn't cause much offence if viewed by the wrong audience. The TV shows were also good, having a fantastic 2 hour documentary on the 1880 Krakatoa explosion (largest one ever don't ya know!) as well as the Simpson's, the sketch show and travel shows.
*So, all in all, would you travel with them again?*Chances are I probably would. I have experienced similar problems with the in flight system on other airlines, my plane ticket also fell under bad times with another operator and I have been on one too many flights that have been grounded for whatever reason. I just think that it was pretty unfortunate for it all to happen at once - especially since flying isn't exactly my forte. For the price, it's worth it.
I leave you dear reader with a memorable quote from the 1988 movie 'Rain Man' :
Charlie: Ray, all airlines have crashed at one time or another, that doesn't mean that they are not safe.
Raymond: QANTAS. QANTAS never crashed.
Raymond: Never crashed.
Charlie: Oh that's gonna do me a lot of good because QANTAS doesn't fly to Los Angeles out of Cincinnati, you have to get to Melbourne! Melbourne, Australia in order to get the plane that flies to Los Angeles!
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