Updated: Qantas Dreamliner Premium Economy Seating Should Face ACCC Probe
If JB Hi Fi or Harvey Norman sold you a product and it was not as advertised the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be all over them, and if your Telstra or Opus you would be hit with multimillion-dollar fines.
But what if you are Qantas who are showing images of their new Dreamliner Premium Economy on their web site but delivering a totally different service when you board the aircraft.
I found this out recently on a flight back from Hong Kong.
Instead of a Premium Economy seat with a screen in front of you and above all a footrest that allow one to stretch out I got bulkhead seat with no screen, along with nowhere to put a pair of headphones or tablet other than on the floor.
I was not even given a choice of accepting or declining a bulkhead seat when checking in.
The so called leather and very flexible footrest that the bulk of other Premium Economy passengers are afforded is a footrest which is a hard metal fixture that has a simple extender and a soft mesh centre that results in one having to try and sleep with your knees bent while at the same time trying to prevent the metal bar at the top of the fixture cutting into your feet as you try to sleep.
I solved the problem by sacrificing my pillow from behind my head to protect my feet. I am 172.5 centimetres tall and even I struggled in this seat, so god help a person over this size.
The TV also has to be popped out of the centre console and even that was a problem, because instead of being able to simply lean over and touch the screen when one wanted to access information, movies or music you to had open and open and stow the screen similar to Economy.
And because the screen is in the centre console one has to move drinks or other items before opening the TV console, other PE customers don’t have to go through this and to top this off magazines, headphones and tablets have to be stowed in the above locker when taking off as opposed to simply putting them into the pocket in front of you.
The difference between what Qantas show as a Premium Economy seat on their web site, in their video’s and what at least 7 customers get on Dreamliner flights is seriously questionable.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission airlines such as Qantas are not immune to the same warranty and sale conditions that apply to consumers buying a product from a retail store.
In the case of Qantas what they market and advertise as a Premium Economy seat is significantly different than what I actually got.
On this occasion when I complained to the onboard crew, I was offered a seat 20 rows back in Economy.
It also appears that customers in a Qantas Dreamliner bulkhead seat are charged the same price as a customer who gets the advertised and marketed Premium Economy seat.
This is an airline that is cutting costs out of their operation while at the same time lining the pockets of senior executives.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce took home $10.9 million last financial year, a fall from his record $25 million in the previous year, which made him just one of five CEOs to receive more than $20 million in reported pay in one year.
The cost cutting is so bad that Qantas customers can’t even get brown sugar or Stevia on an aircraft but what you get is white sugar or chemically produced sweeteners.
A Qantas spoksperson said ‘We can understand that you felt frustrated being seated in the bulkhead row but these seats generally offer more legroom and all of the amenities of the rest of the seats in the Premium Economy cabin except that for safety reasons, the in flight entertainment screen and carry-on baggage must be stowed during taxi, take-off and landing’
‘The front row of our Premium Economy is often sought after by passengers as it does not have a row of customers in front’.