By KARRYON @karryontravel07 Aug 2015Try as they might, competitors just can’t seem to replace Qantas as Australia’s favourite airline and this was no more evident that at last month’s NTIA Awards. The industry’s night of nights saw the Flying Kangaroo take home the title of ‘Best Domestic Airline’ for the fifth consecutive year. In a Q&A with KarryOn, Head of Agency Partnerships Rob Harrison attributed this year’s win to the business’ transformation, saying it went beyond reducing costs and into customer service. “It’s about our customers and doing things differently to improve their experience with Qantas at every touch point.” Rob Harrison, Qantas Head of Agency Partnerships He explained that over the last year the airline has enhanced its inflight and on ground experiences, introduced new tech and refreshed inflight menus while maintaining the reliability that matters to customers. See more of our chat with Rob below. What does winning the award mean for Qantas? Being recognised as “Best Domestic Airline” by our agency partners is a sign we have been executing the right changes as part of the Qantas Group transformation program. We have reduced costs while at the same time, delivering on fleet, product and service – the areas that our customers value most. This award is confirmation that our agency partners support the work our teams are doing to build a strong and sustainable Qantas and on behalf of all of our teams, we thank our agency partners for their ongoing commitment, particularly during a time which saw such significant change for our sales organisation. It’s with their support which allows us to deliver exceptional services to our mutual customers. What are some key passenger trends coming through? We’ve seen that reliability and ‘ease of journey’ has become increasingly important to our travellers, which is why we have implemented new technology like Auto Check-in to speed up their airport experience. Other initiatives include our dual door boarding/disembarkation trial which mean our customers can get off the aircraft quicker, and we can then put our aircraft back into service quicker. From next month, we’ll also be closing check-in 30 minutes before departure, to ensure we can maintain the high levels of on-time performance our customers have come to value in travelling with Qantas. We know corporate travellers in particular value both reliability and flexibility in an airline. Qantas Domestic operates the most flights at the time of day that our customers want to travel and have the best recovery processes in place to minimise any disruption in flights. What’s coming up for Qantas innovation wise? We continue to enhance our inflight entertainment offering, having recently partnered with HBO to bring hundreds of hours of the most talked about TV programs. This week we will launch our new-look Qantas Magazine as an app on the new Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS), the first app globally to appear on the platform. The app will be updated throughout the month to provide readers with fresh content, even when they’re not travelling, and enables users to save content so they don’t have large files on their devices or excessive download costs when overseas. In the food and beverage space, we have welcomed a new team of wine experts and mixologists from the Rockpool Restaurant Group who will select wine, Champagne, spirits and other beverages for Qantas domestic and international flights and lounges. What is the biggest opportunity in travel and for agents? In such a rapidly changing industry, a strong brand, a broad network and the right partners is incredibly important. The biggest opportunity and competitive advantage however for airlines, and equally for travel agents, is customer understanding. We need to invest our time in understanding what our customers want and shape our service to their travel needs. At the heart of our innovations are our customers and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our agency partners to ensure we can deliver the best possible service. Do you think Qantas’ win was well deserved? Share your comments below. Other stories you may like ROCK OUT! There’s more to Greater Palm Springs than Coachella! ULTRA LONG HAUL: These are the 5 longest flights in the world NYC or RIO: Agents, which Qantas ultra long-haul ‘dream city’ could you ACTUALLY sell?