Qantas leaves travel agent fuming after waiting four hours to speak to airline

Qantas leaves travel agent fuming after waiting four hours to speak to airline

A fed-up travel agent has expressed his horror at Qantas after claiming he spent four hours waiting to speak to an airline representative.

Travel agent David Van der Meer said he was trying to resolve an issue for a customer last week when he was faced with the long wait time. He claims dealing with the airline on their dedicated Qantas Agency Connect phone number has been the “curse” of his life.

Left: Travel agent David Van der Meer's selfie, and on the right, he shared an image on his phone with a hold time of 3 hours and 32 minutes.

Travel agent David Van der Meer shared the hold time in a conversation with Qantas. Source: Tiktok

The Perth travel agent’s displeasure comes after the company recently pledged $80 million to improve customer service. CEO Vanessa Hudson also recently revealed that she has a board above her desk showing customer wait times at call centers.

“I started using Qantas again because I saw the CEO on the news the other day saying how much their call waiting times had improved, but they had a big schedule change,” Van der Meer shared in a video posted on Tiktok, adding ” See how long I was on hold. The camera then moves to a phone with a dwell time of 3 hours and 32 minutes showing on the screen.

“I’m going to hang up, they can be stuffed,” Van der Meer says in the video, but admitted to Yahoo that it took another half hour before a representative finally answered the phone.

Yahoo understands the Agency Connect line was affected by pilot industrial action in Perth on the day Van der Meer called. It is understood Qantas answered at one point, but Van der Meer was on a different line – something the agent disputes. It is not clear how far into the call Qantas answered. When he finally got through, the query was resolved in five minutes.

Meanwhile, on Qantas’ customer helpline, waits to speak to a representative are understood to be up to half an hour, with an average hold time of two to three minutes.

The travel agent is afraid to call Qantas

Van der Meer, who has run Helloworld Travel South Perth agency since 2007, told Yahoo News Australia that dealing with the airline had been “terrible” over the past 10 years.

“Most of the time we can fix things online ourselves but sometimes when their system is down we have to call them but the minute we call them I get that dreaded feeling knowing I’m going to be on hold for hours after hours.

“I can call any other airline and they’ll pick up within 20 minutes.

“We know what to do to resolve things. When they picked you up, I had to explain her work and correct what she was telling me. This is a joke.”

Qantas’ customer service is ‘wrong’ as the airline makes $1 billion in profits

While Van der Meer was able to resolve the customer’s issue with Qantas, the experience left him frustrated.

“Being in the industry, that’s not right,” he said. “[Qantas] they need to understand the frustration of agents and customers. Customers are waiting to be contacted.”

Last month, Qantas revealed it had made a profit of $1.25 billion for the half-year under its new chief executive Vanessa Hudson, as the airline recommitted to putting customers at the center of attention.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson stands in the foreground with a Qantas aircraft behind her.

Qantas chief executive Vanessa Hudson has come under fire over the airline’s customer service record. Source: Getty

Hudson said Qantas continues to work on improving based on feedback the company has received from its customer base. “Airline prices have come down, but we are also investing in our customers. There is a lot of work to do to raise service levels and the early signs are really positive.

“Our customer satisfaction scores have risen strongly since December and we have more service and product improvements in the pipeline.”

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