Shonky Awards: Qantas tops this year’s list of worst products and services

Qantas tops this year's list of worst products and services in the annual Choice Shonky Awards.

Qantas tops this year's list of worst products and services in the annual Choice Shonky Awards. Photos: TND, Getty

Qantas tops this year’s list of worst products and services in the annual Choice Shonky Awards.

This year’s ‘winners’ also include a finance product that targets distressed pet owners and a “self-cooking” smart pot that leaves food undercooked.

Qantas – The Spirit of Disappointment

Travelling with Qantas has become an increasingly frustrating experience for many travellers, with the airline’s dependability and credibility slipping.

Earlier in the year, Qantas fell out of the top five rankings for the world’s best airlines amid a massive wave of customer dissatisfaction.

In August, airline boss Alan Joyce apologised to customers and assured the public the national carrier was “working hard to get back to our best”.

Choice said Qantas had disappointed its customers on almost every front: Unusable flight credits, delayed flights, lost baggage and endless call wait times.

“If there was ever a company that appeared to deliberately be going out of its way to win a Shonky Award, it’s Qantas,” Choice travel expert Jodi Bird said.

Choice said that Qantas has made it difficult and confusing for its customers to use flight credits for cancelled travel.

In April, Choice revealed Qantas and Jetstar combined were sitting on $1.4 billion in unused consumer flight credits and future bookings.

“This includes forcing many people to spend extra money, putting limits on available flights, being unable to make bookings using credits online – the list goes on,” Mr Bird said.

And if you want to reach Qantas by phone, forget about it.

Research conducted by Choice showed customers were, on average, waiting on hold for 21 minutes before their calls were even answered, with some waiting on hold for up to 50 minutes.

Choice CEO Alan Kirkland said the laws that left travellers in cancellation chaos throughout 2020 must be overhauled.

“Businesses are allowed to write the rules, so anyone who has paid for travel that is then cancelled needs to wade through unclear terms and conditions, as thousands of Qantas customers have been left to do,” Mr Kirkland said.

“Choice has put forward a clear plan to governments about how to ensure that people are treated fairly in the travel market.

“We now need federal, state and territory governments and industry to work together to make travel easier and fairer.”

Qantas argued the awards are out of date. While the airline had several months of poor performance earlier in 2022, it has improved significantly since August, and it was back to a pre-COVID level of service, a spokesperson said.

“Our call wait times are less than half what CHOICE is claiming.

“Our customers have redeemed more than $1 billion in COVID-related flight credits.”

Other winners


VetPay is a quick-access loan product that targets pet owners struggling to pay their vet bills.

Choice’s analysis found that signing up for VetPay involves a yearly $49 fee to access the service, $2.50 every time you make a repayment, plus a significant annual interest rate of 18.4 per cent.

“VetPay says it has a sense of compassion for its customers, yet charges eye-watering interest rates of over 18 per cent and fees at every turn,” Mr Kirkland said.

Steggles chicken nuggets boosted with veggies

It’s a familiar battleground for many parents – dinner time rolls around and the kids won’t eat their vegetables.

Well if that’s you, Steggles chicken nuggets might sound like a pretty good option, with packaging proclaiming they’re “boosted with veggies”.

“Unfortunately, these nuggets are a highly processed food containing only meagre amounts of vegetables,” Choice editorial director Margaret Rafferty said.

Choice’s experts found that you would have to eat 26 nuggets, or more than one 400-gram pack, to get one serving of vegetables.

“We don’t recommend relying on this product if you’re looking to up your children’s veggie intake,” Ms Rafferty said.


Canadian-owned Bloomex calls itself ‘Australia’s official florist’, offering same-day delivery across the country.

The online florist’s motto is “Fresh, Fast and Fair” but Choice said it is  anything but, delivering dead flowers and accepting orders that it can’t fulfil.

Zega digital cookware

Zega’s expensive “self-cooking” smart pot is marketed towards time-poor people who want to reduce the effort and time spent on meal prep.

Choice experts put the Zega through its paces and discovered some serious issues.

“When we cooked chicken according to the Zega app recipe, the chicken was raw and the vegetables were undercooked. We had similar results with other recipes,” Ms Rafferty said.

“With a hefty price tag of $299, this product is not worth it – you’d be better off buying a digital slow cooker for a cheaper price that will actually cook your food.”

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.