Qantas has announced that in 2021 the company will permanently close its service and sales desks at Australian airports and lounges.
Qantas executive manager Phil Capps said that the airline primarily decided to close its service desks due to more customers checking-in and managing their bookings online. The move is also part of the airline’s response to Covid-19 and associated cost-saving measures.
Check-in counters will remain for now, in addition to the self-service kiosks, but lost-baggage counters will have reduced hours and fewer staff.
Qantas is enhancing its website and app to cover the functions that would normally be performed by staff at the service desks. Technological improvements will launch early next year to coincide with the counters closing.
Online enhancements include improved seat selection, upgrades and extra baggage purchases. On the Qantas app there will also be the ability to cancel check-ins and move flights if there’s a disruption.
According to an ABC article, the Australian Services Union (ASU) has raised concerns that passengers are being “forced” to do everything online and staff redundancies could result in delays and lost baggage problems.
Some frequent flyers have flagged similar issues and are worried that premium ticket holders will be affected by service desks being removed from Qantas lounges. But Executive Traveller has reported that Qantas intends to have “a team available at the airport to support time sensitive flight management and exceptions.”