Qantas frequent flyers earn wings in survey

But value for money still a key factor when choosing an airline.

Frequent flyer points are the most common reason consumers choose to fly Qantas (54%) according to a CHOICE airline satisfaction survey of 4200 airline passengers, yet value for money offered by the airline was the least commonly nominated (12%).

In contrast 73% of rival Virgin Blue’s passengers nominated value for money as a reason to fly with them while only 13% of respondents selected its frequent flyer scheme, Velocity.

CHOICE also asked airline passengers to rate satisfaction in terms of value for money, in-flight service, seat comfort, ability to book a convenient flight and booking process for each of the airlines they had flown with in the last three years.

Virgin Blue was nominated best airline overall with a 68% satisfaction rating, overtaking the 2007 winner Regional Express.

Since the last CHOICE airline survey almost two years ago Qantas’s overall satisfaction score has dropped from 67% to 61%.

Qantas’ satisfaction scores were all below the average scores for all airlines. A series of mechanical errors appears to have reduced confidence in the airline with 17% choosing Qantas because of its safety records as against 22% in the 2007 survey.

Despite this more respondents nominated safety as a reason to fly with Qantas than any other airline.

“While value for money is the clincher for most travellers, Qantas’ Frequent Flyer Program has again earned its wings as one reason the carrier dominates the skies,” said CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

“However, ask people what airline they would definitely recommend to others and the score is 39% from those who’ve flown Qantas but 57% from Virgin Blue passengers. The figure is 33% for Jetstar.”

The report says airline satisfaction now means more than just low cost and good service. With most consumers now making their bookings online, convenient flight schedules and ease of booking are now chosen as often as standard of service as a reason for choosing an airline.

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