Virgin poaches Qantas frequent flyer after viral post slams the Flying Kangaroo for complacency

Melbourne Australia- March 14, 2014: Qantas airplanes wait for departure at Melbourne Airport

A Qantas Frequent Flyer whose LinkedIn post has gone viral with more than 225,000 impressions and hundreds of comments says he thinks complacency is behind the Flying Kangaroo’s poor customer service.

Pete Murray has flown with Qantas for around two decades and has held a gold status as a frequent flyer for over 15 years.

On a recent work trip to Melbourne, he had booked a flight on points with Virgin and went to book the return flight on the Qantas app.

When logging in, he was greeted with the news that he’d been demoted – without notification – to Silver status.

“I’ve been a loyal Qantas flyer for more than two decades and the first I knew of it was when I opened the app,” he said.

Murray’s Virgin Australia flight then had an electrical issue that forced everyone to disembark. However, the airline was able to secure a new plane and have passengers on their way to Melbourne within the hour.

“On the flight I thought ‘jeez that’s interesting’,” Pete Murray told Travel Weekly. “One on hand, I am having a bad experience that ended up really, really good and on the other hand I had a bad experience that ended up bad.”

On the flight to Melbourne, Murray drafted a LinkedIn post. After conferring with business colleagues throughout the day, he then decided to post it.

The LinkedIn post then caught the attention of the aviation world with more than 2,200 likes and 376 comments. What’s interesting, Murray tells us, is that small amount of support for Qantas in the comments.

The opening of Pete Murray’s LinkedIn post which has now had more than 225,00 engagements. Source: LinkedIn.

Other carriers reach out, but no word from the Flying Roo

Pete Murray has twice achieved Platinum status with Qantas and it two-thirds of the way to lifetime Gold status, but this year his Gold points lapsed, just.

Qantas was his default carrier and one would have thought he had earned a bit of kudos with the Flying Kangaroo for his ongoing support. Off the back of the post, Murray was then contacted by rival airlines offering their own loyalty services.

Virgin Australia has now upgraded him to Platinum status and offered the same deal to the first 3,000 people using a link Murray has shared.

Singapore Airlines has also reached out offering empathy. “It’s great to see our friends at VA are looking after you,” they told him.

Qantas alliance airline Emirates also apologised on behalf of Qantas for its lack of customer care and hoped the experience didn’t tarnish Murray’s opinion of the airlines.

What’s behind the poor service? 

Asked what he puts the lack of customer care down to, Murray said it was simple: Complacency.

“Qantas are big and large, they have lots of flights with lots of people on them,” he said. “They’re probably making their seat density counts and their revenue counts and maybe they just don’t care as much as they used to.

“I don’t know because no one from Qantas has reached out to me but I would put it down to complacency or a genuine lack of customer care for loyal customers.”

Qantas response 

“We understand how frustrating it is when a member falls short of retaining their frequent flyer status,” A spokesperson for Qantas told Travel Weekly. 

“We have supported thousands of members in the last three months with status holds and extensions, as part of our member support program.

“The loyalty of our customers is very important to us and we have worked hard to build a program that rewards them in a variety of ways both through flying and on the ground.”

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