Qantas Cuts Chauffeur On US Routes — DFW & LAX

Despite Qantas’ rather dire financial state, last year they announced plans to add chauffeur service on their flights that are more than 12 hours long.

This was added because of their joint venture with Emirates. They were trying to adopt similar service standards on their routes between Australia and Dubai (with connecting service to London), so that it would be as seamless and consistent of an experience as possible for passengers of either carrier.

At the time Qantas also added chauffeur service on their US flights, including the flights to Los Angeles and Dallas out of Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney. This was of course very exciting news, especially since it also applied on award tickets (there aren’t many airlines that offer chauffeur service on award tickets).

Well, it appears as if Qantas will be backpedaling here a bit, and eliminating the chauffeur service on their US routes.

Per Australian Business Traveller, Qantas will be eliminating the complimentary chauffeur service for US routes soon. This new policy kicks in for travel starting June 30, 2014, with final chauffeur service bookings allowed on June 9, 2014:

Effective 1 July 2014, Qantas’ complimentary Chauffeur Drive service will no longer be available for eligible First and Business customers travelling on Qantas operated international flights to/from Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth. Eligible customers travelling on Qantas operated international flights to/from Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth can continue to book Chauffeur Drive until 9 June 2014 for flights departing on/before 30 June 2014.

Qantas-Chauffeur-Drive

I guess this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. They’re keeping the chauffeur service for their London and Dubai routes, since there’s an actual “tie in” there with Emirates. Meanwhile their chauffeur service on US routes had nothing to do with Emirates, but was rather intended to offer a more consistent experience for passengers.

So it’s sad that they’re cutting it, but given their financial situation I can’t say I’m surprised.

Comments

  1. Even with the dire financial position, I gotta say that this lacks a bit of class. They could have downgraded the vehicle itself to begin with. Even a Volvo estate is better than nothing.
    A paid First passenger will surely be miffed, I would be had I paid the full fare. It doesn’t cost that much but takes away a lot of goodwill when you take away something that was obviously helpful to passengers previously. I’d bet taking one item off the tasting menu would surely be more than enough to sustain Chauffeur service while still being unnoticeable to the majority.

  2. I have to say this doesn’t bother me. Here’s why:

    For business travel, the company pays for the car service to and from the airport. Yes, I guess it’d save them a few bucks, but it’s a rounding error on a 8K/10K ticket.

    For personal trips, I prefer to use czar services that I know and trust. There are a ton of limo companies here in NYC, and I’ve used a fair number of them – different jobs have used different companies. Some are good- on time, clean cars, polite drivers. Some are lousy – not reliable, etc.

    Net, I don’t want my airline choosing the car company for me. I’d rather know I’ll be picked up on time and dropped at the airport when I want, rather than saving a few bucks and risking a missed flight. Does Qantas hold the flight for me if their preferred car service screws up my ride?

  3. Lousy timing! I quite literally just booked my Chauffeur Drive transfers this morning. Four complimentary transfers in all for a one way first class booking LAX-SYD-CHC, including transfers in Sydney for an 11 hour layover.

    I was thrilled at having one less detail to suss out in each city. Had it been a paid fare vs. an award, I would, as @Deo put it, be miffed.

  4. Neither surprising nor that disappointing, they are really trying to cut down spending at all costs. Beginning to the year they were planning to add chauffer service to JFK with date “tba” mid-year. Well that ain’t happening anytime soon 🙂 Its great they are still maintaining EK standards for the Europe flights and continuing the chauffer service. But they have to do something about also merging their systems of booking limo transfers so that its consistent. quite a number of hit and misses.

  5. Booked mine yesterday for a trip in July. This’ll cost me $40 to Sydney Airport and $70 from LAX to Hollywood. It’s crappy just to cancel $110 worth of value, which was promised at the time of ticketing, without compensation. They should’ve at least honored bookings made prior to the announcement. Bugger.

  6. Lucky,

    So can you confirm they won’t honor bookings made prior to this announcement. I booked the service for July 23rd and received a confirmation number. Is it now not valid? Seems they should honor it, no?

  7. I suspect that they might be forced to honor chauffeur services for tickets issued before the announcement. As otherwise, it may be a violation of DOT rules, where airlines may not take away the ancillary services it advertised when the consumer made the booking

  8. Just an update, we’ve now had a statement from a Qantas spokesperson telling us that “Chauffeur Drive in the US has had relatively low take-up”, and implying an issue is the overhead to keep the service offered. It’s believed that chauffeur drive bookings for Qantas travellers headed to London are some four times that of bookings for LAX and DFW flights. Even so, I’d have thought there would be much greater need for a driver at LAX and especially DFW than London, where you at least have the Heathrow Express to whisk you to Paddington.

  9. @ David – interesting but sounds strange. How much overhead can there be on outsourced service? Aren’t all they are doing is booking a third-party service for us?

  10. @ Michael — My understanding based on the announcement is that they won’t. Hopefully they come to their senses soon. I’m sure they’ll contact you soon.

  11. @David Flynn – I would guess there are more QF F passengers stopping over in London before or after their flight, than in Los Angeles or Dallas. Especially after the alliance with EK started as many people who might have flown QF to London connecting on BA to continental Europe now have an easier option to fly EK from DXB to continental Europe.

  12. Hi I was offered 10000F/F points when they rang me last monday. I agree that they should honor excising bookings. We paid for our Melb,/ NY return in Business last October. Can someone find out more about the DOT rules and maybe we all call them back and offer not to go to DOT.

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