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‘Can’t buy forgiveness’: Qantas apology voucher plan lashed

Unions have blasted Qantas's offer of $50 vouchers after months of delays and cancellations.

Unions have blasted Qantas's offer of $50 vouchers after months of delays and cancellations. Photo: AAP

Qantas’s $50 apology vouchers for months of delays, cancellations and mishandled baggage are due to begin landing in inboxes on Monday.

But the Transport Workers Union has lashed the plan, and urged chief executive Alan Joyce to resign.

Qantas is rolling out the vouchers and an array of frequent flyer perks, including lounge invitations and reward seat availability, as additional sweeteners to win back customers.

Qantas’s website and app reportedly crashed as the emailed offers started landing on Monday.

It came after Mr Joyce released a video message conceding the national carrier had been beset by recent “operational challenges” as customers queued for hours at airports around the country.

Watch Alan Joyce's message to frequent flyers

Source: YouTube/Qantas

In a message sent to millions of the company’s frequent flyers, he said the return to skies hadn’t all gone smoothly.

“Over the past few months, too many of you have had flights delayed, flights cancelled and bags misplaced. There are good reasons why, but when it comes to what you expect from Qantas, it’s not good enough,” he said.

“On behalf of the national carrier, I want to apologise and assure you that we’re working hard to get back to our best.”

The $50 bonus has been offered to frequent flyers in Australia and New Zealand as a promo code that can be used on a Qantas flight.

Platinum and Platinum One members will also be gifted Qantas points.

Other perks include a 12-month extension of frequent flyer membership status for Silver members and those tiered above.

The previously announced commitment for 50 per cent more reward seat availability has been extended for a year from June 30 for international, trans-Tasman and popular domestic routes.

Frequent flyers will also be able to invite another person to join them in the Qantas Lounge, Qantas Domestic Business Lounge, Qantas Club or an International Business Lounge depending on their membership status.

Mr Joyce said Qantas had been worked towards sustained customer improvement.

“We’re already seeing a sustained improvement in baggage handling and on-time performance, and while factors out of our control like weather can have an impact on our schedule, we expect things to keep improving each week,” he said.

In a bid to get back to pre-pandemic service, Qantas has hired an additional 1500 staff and adjusted flight schedules to help smooth the travel experience.

But TWU assistant national secretary Nick McIntosh criticised Qantas for outsourcing jobs and cutting workers’ hours and conditions:

“This is what’s led to part of the trashing of this once great airline,” he said.

“Qantas needs a reset and that’s got to start at the top.”

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said “you can’t buy off forgiveness”.

“What you’ve got is a company that has been smashing workers for years now, most recently when it outsourced nearly 2,000 workers during the pandemic,” he said.

“We could really have done with those 2,000 experienced workers when we were trying to get aviation back up and running.”

-with AAP

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