Qantas has been named as one of the world’s best airlines despite battling delays, cancellations, worker shortages and repeated calls for its CEO to step down.
The airline was announced the world’s fifth-best airline in the World Airline Awards hosted at the Langham Hotel in London on Friday night.
The award comes amid controversy over the airline’s handling of customer service issues and a decision to stop offering meat-free meal options on domestic flights.
Qantas has also copped criticism for the quality of its airport lounge, with customers taking to social media to slam the premium area as dirty, overpriced and a ‘rip-off’.
The carrier was also named the best catering in premium economy class and won four awards for the Asia-Pacific region, including best airline, best business class, best economy class and best cabin cleanliness.
Qantas has been named as one of the best airlines in the world despite battling delays, cancellations, worker shortages and repeated calls for its CEO to step down
Australia’s flagship airline was announced the world’s fifth-best airline in the World Airline Awards hosted at the Langham Hotel in London on Friday night
The world’s best airlines in 2022
1. Qatar Airways
2. Singapore Airlines
4. ANA All Nippon Airways
5. Qantas Airways
6. Japan Airlines
7. Turkish Airlines
8. Air France
9. Korean Air
10. Swiss Int’l Air Lines
11. British Airways
12. Etihad Airways
13. China Southern
14. Hainan Airlines
16. Cathay Pacific
18. EVA Air
19. Virgin Atlantic
The awards are based on customer satisfaction surveys conducted by company SkyTrax, an airline and airport review and ranking site.
Travellers from 100 countries participated in the survey, which featured 350 airlines, with Qatar Airways named the best airline in 2022 for a record seventh time.
Virgin Australia dropped from 34th place to 43rd this year, while Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas, dropped one spot from 56th to 57th.
Qantas’ place in the world’s top five airlines comes following several significant hits to the national carrier’s reputation, which currently sits at an all-time low.
Customers’ plans have been constantly interrupted by Qantas and Jetstar cancellations, flight delays, lost and damaged luggage, refund nightmares, and some have even been stranded at airports.
Travellers have taken to social media to air their complaints, with one passenger posting a photo of their seat with food crumbs and dirt underneath it.
‘Qantas cleanliness has really fallen off the cliff. Or has it always been like this?,’ the poster said in a note with the photo in the Sydney sub Reddit.
Flyers generally agreed Qantas planes are messier than they once were – although others said people expect too much on such a busy route.
‘Cleanliness has declined!’ a woman replied.
‘I used to fly only Qantas and quite regularly. But my last flight I found a half eaten sandwich and muffin in the seat.
‘And the seats were all sticky. Lucky I had antibacterial wipes but the next few hours my friend and I felt nasty sitting in those seats.’
Several cleaners chipped in, saying cost-cutting and fast-turnarounds on flights mean they don’t have enough time to do a thorough cabin clean.
One customer said of the Qantas Lounge in Sydney that the buffet area was ‘messy and uncomfortable. Nothing was refilled and seem no one do cleaning’ (Pictured, a photo from a review on airlinequality.com)
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce earlier this year apologised to Qantas customers for the slip in standards and vowed the airline would do better
‘I used to treat all domestic flights like catching the bus or train. Set yourself low expectations and you won’t be disappointed,’ another commenter said.
The complaints about dirty planes extended to the Qantas lounge with customers complaining of a mediocre buffet, dirty chairs and having nowhere to sit.
Frequent flyers have unleashed on online review websites to call out the failing standards of food, cleanliness and service inside the exclusive lounges.
On productreview.com.au, Qantas lounges has an average of 1.3 stars from 77 reviews, with many noting the airline had dropped its previously good standards.
The carrier has previously responded to customers complaints saying many passengers are happy with its food and their experiences in their business lounges.
Qantas added all its aircraft are cleaned between flights and at the end of each day.
Vegan and vegetarian flyers have also had cause for complaint after the airline announced it would be ‘simplifying’ meals for flights under 3.5 hours by giving attendants just one meal to serve – a chicken and leek pie.
Despite the airline backing down on its menu, the high-profile executive and vegetarian who led the protests believe that Qantas boss Alan Joyce should be sacked anyway.
A TikTok video displayed the buffet selection at Qantas’s international business lounge
Vegan and vegetarian flyers have also had cause for complaint after the airline announced it would be ‘simplifying’ meals for flights under 3.5 hours by giving attendants just one meal to serve – a chicken and leek pie (pictured)
Jon Dee, managing director of charity DoSomething, says Qantas has been ‘rubbish’ since Covid and that Mr Joyce should be ‘off the menu’.
‘If you add together all the vegetarians, vegans, people who eat a certain way for their health, like gluten-free, and everyone who eats kosher or halal that’s a lot of disappointed passengers, he said.
On Friday the airline’s product and service executive manager, Phil Capps, announced a zucchini and corn fritter would be rushed back onto the menu as an evening meal on all domestic flights.
‘We’ve heard the message loud and clear about having vegetarian offerings on all of our flights and so we’re making that change as a priority,’ Mr Capps said.
He added that the airline would roll out ‘a broader menu, which includes new vegetarian options’ and would reintroduce fresh fruit to all flights.
Qantas responds to criticism of its cleanliness and Club Lounge
On Qantas lounges:
‘This is not reflective of the feedback we get from our frequent flyers who regularly provide positive feedback after visiting one of our lounges.
‘Our lounges are often rated amongst the best in the world and we are continuing to invest in with new and upgraded lounges.
‘All of our aircraft are cleaned with a disinfectant between flights and at the end of the day.
‘They also undergo deep cleaning on a regular basis, including the seat covers and cushions.
‘Aircraft are also sprayed every month with an anti-microbial treatment that is an antibacterial which has anti COVID and anti-flu properties.’