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What Qantas is about to learn about women, our loyalty and the way we buy

We need to talk about Qantas.  Or at least, everywhere I go, the women I meet are talking about their reaction to the Qantas dispute and what they’re going to do about it.  I flew to Adelaide last week for a speaking engagement with CPA Australia (hello to all the lovely ladies from SA who participated!) and decided to stay on with Ethan for some Grandma and Grandpa time.  So there I was when Qantas announced it’s grounding on Saturday.  By the time I flew home on Tuesday, my flights had been changed to Virgin (again) and my once unquestionable loyalty to Qantas had been changed forever.

As a professional speaker I get to spend a lot of time in airports and, ideally, in planes that actually get up off the runway.  The recent industrial action has been a nightmare for those of us who travel regularly – I know many of you also travel for work and so you may have been caught up in it too.

Despite my passion for everything Australian, over the past couple of months I’ve had no option but to book more and more of my flights with other airlines: I would have missed a conference in Brisbane altogether had I flown Qantas (as one of the other speakers did), but more importantly, travelling with a toddler requires predictability.  I just can’t afford to be stranded on the other side of the country, with a two year old in tow, at the behest of a corporation at war with its workers.  Do you know where I’m coming from?

But even though I’ve been flirting with other airlines, I was still locked in to my love affair with Qantas.  I have Qantas Club membership for comfy airport check in; I have affiliated credit cards racking up Qantas Frequent Flyer points; and I have the status credits that give me the good seats on long flights.  That’s all great, provided you can get up in the air and get home from work, when work happens to be thousands of miles away.

I get that this is not all about Qantas management; the workers appear to be just at dogmatic about their demands as the execs have been on standing firm.  From the outside looking in, we’ll never know the half of what’s actually going on in those boardroom mediations.

But what I do know is this: as the woman of the house I am responsible for booking all of my family’s leisure travel.  As a business owner who travels several times a month, I’m also responsible for booking a fair swag of business travel. As a time poor member of Generation Busy, I really don’t like being stuffed around. And as a consumer, I have choice.  So I’m afraid this time, Qantas, the love affair is over.

Now as Leo in the horoscope, I’m as loyal as you’ll get, so this is not a decision I’ve taken lightly.  For at least 10 years, since Ansett went under, I would always have chosen to fly Qantas. I convinced my clients to always book me on Qantas and I defended its pricing on the basis of their great service record.  But that changed on the weekend – just as my lounge membership, credit cards and frequent flyer points are all about to change.

I’m sorry to the Flying Kangaroo: I’m seriously patriotic, and I still have some love in my heart for you.  I’m not saying I’ll never fly with you again, but you’re no longer my first choice.  A bit like that old flame that let me down just one time too many, the time has come to say goodbye.  Only this time, I know that it’s not me – it’s definitely you.

How about you?  Broken up with Qantas lately… or anyone else for that matter?



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