Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aussie & Kiwi Adventures, Part 1

By Pascal Dennis

Just returned from three weeks in Oceania.

Splendid adventures in a beautiful part of the world - a business nomad's delight.

My Aussie & Kiwi colleagues were gracious, kind & understandably proud of their countries.

(Special thanks to my mates Matt Wall of Boeing Australia, and Mike Butler of Fonterra NZ. I hope I can reciprocate when you visit North America!)

Forgive me for leading off with the only negative part of my journey - another unhappy adventure in international air travel.

But there may be some useful lessons.

Qantas, Australia's national airline, managed to lose my bags - both going & coming home!

Other hassles too, which I'll not bother describing, and all on a business class ticket!

When I went to the Qantas home page to share my story - feedback which top-shelf companies would consider invaluable - I found it was impossible to do so.

Qantas makes it very difficult for customers to provide feedback (!?)

A few minutes of web research confirmed that many other travellers have had a similar experience - with no recourse.

Qantas' message appears to be, "Who cares?"

My misadventures surprised neither my Oceania colleagues, nor the various Lost Baggage attendees I spoke with.

"Qantas is the worst..." and "At least they're consistent!" were common refrains.

My Aussie chums questioned the capability of Qantas' CEO & management.

Labor relations are so bad that Qantas grounded its entire fleet in 2011 and early 2012!

How can a major company in a highly competitive market be so indifferent to the customer?

I welcome feedback, especially, that of our Oceania colleagues.

For my part, I was struck by the painfully obvious absence of:

  1. Standardized work, and
  2. Embedded OK/Not OK tests

At every Lost Baggage desk, Qantas staff seemed unsure of what to do - in the face of a common defect!

Nor did there appear to be easy ways of confirming a Good/No Good condition.

And thereby hangs a tale of importance for Australia's future.

More next time.


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