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Qantas to automate refunds in bid to cut wait times and complaints

Qantas is setting up an initiative that it says will automate 80 per cent of customers refunds and speed up the process significantly to ease customer complaints.

Qantas is setting up an initiative that it says will automate 80 per cent of customers refunds and speed up the process significantly to ease customer complaints.

CEO of Qantas Domestic and International Andrew David was interviewed by ABC’s 7.30 this week about the airline’s refund process for eligible customers.

“An initiative we just put in place last week was to automate 80 per cent of those that want a refund.”

“Where the booking is simple, for that 80 per cent, we can get them a refund within one week where currently it’s anywhere between six to eight weeks, and at the worst case it actually blew out to 12 weeks,” he said.

Qantas hopes that reducing wait times from six to twelve weeks down to one week would see the airline’s complaints drop significantly.

Currently, it’s estimated that $1.4 billion in flight credits is being held by the airline.

Alan-Joyce_Qantas
Alan Joyce, CEO, Qantas Group

Qantas has been highly visible in the media recently for complaints around extended wait times and delays which were only heightened after Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce commented last week that passengers were “not match fit”, saying the delays were not their fault.

During the pandemic, the airline shed thousands of staff and outsourced ground crews in a decision challenged in court.

In the last few weeks, customers with bookings have taken to social media to share their frustrations in record numbers.

There is even a change.org petition calling on Qantas to fix the issues.

According to the page, which now has almost 23,000 signatures, the average wait time on hold to Qantas has been 5 hours and 36 minutes, based on a random sample of 50 recent comments from social media pages.

Meanwhile, some Qantas staff have confidentially spoken to the media about their experience.

“It’s just relentless, it’s unforgiving,” said Tom, a worker inside a Qantas call centre, who spoke with 9news.com.au in anonymity because he is not authorised to talk with media.

“There’s no break from it,” he said. “It’s just abusive call after abusive call after abusive call.” 

While no more details have been released yet from Qantas on how the new initiative will work, it’s hoped the combination of automated refunds and easing of COVID-19 quarantine rules in certain states will help cool the water.