Travel agents are crucial to the success of Qantas, with more than 90% of bookings coming through the trade, according to the airline’s UK chief.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at a Qantas Spirit of Australia event for trade partners in London, Eric Jelinek, regional general manager for the UK and Ireland, said supporting the trade was top of Qantas’s agenda.
“Travel agents are key to our business and we are mindful of that so we offer extensive training, competitive financial benefits and generous incentives so they can sell Qantas with confidence,” he said.
“The vast majority of our sales, more than 90%, come through agents, so we want to ensure they are looked after properly.”
The airline has already made some changes to its economy-class dining, introducing a ‘no tray’ policy before Christmas.
“Most of our customers travel in economy and we wanted to ensure they were happy with our food,” said Jelinek.
“A survey found that customers waited too long for food, the carts were in the aisles for too long and the amount served was insubstantial.”
To combat this, the airline introduced new plates that allow the crew to serve and clear away in 30 minutes, spending less time in the aisles.
A new menu has increased the choice from two to four dishes with a healthy option, comfort food and a destination-inspired meal.
The airline operates in partnership with Emirates, so all Qantas flights to Australia stop over in Dubai.
Jelinek said the new dedicated A380 terminal at UAE airport, with its new shops and lounges, had proved a hit with customers.
He also revealed the airline is to retime its services from Melbourne to Auckland so passengers from London can connect directly, having seen a rise in demand for New Zealand from the UK market.
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