Qantas Chauffeur Drive Eliminated For Partner Award Tickets

Back in July of last year Qantas added chauffeur service for first and business class passengers traveling on flights of over 12 hours. This was seemingly due to Qantas’ joint venture with Emirates, so was added as a way to provide a more consistent experience for customers across airlines.

In June of this year Qantas eliminated chauffeur service on their US routes due to their dire financial situation. At that point the chauffeur offering was limited to the longhaul route overlap they have with Emirates, between London and Melbourne/Sydney via Dubai.

That meant only the following Qantas flights were eligible for chauffeur service:

Qantas-Chauffeur-Drive-1

However, it looks like the chauffeur service benefit has gotten even stingier, or I suppose more accurately they are actually enforcing the terms.

The terms of Qantas’ chauffeur drive read in part as follows (bolding mine):

Chauffeur Drive is only available in selected locations to customers holding tickets with confirmed reservations in First or Business on eligible Qantas or Emirates operated flights. Reservations for Chauffeur Drive through Qantas can only be made for flights booked as part of a Qantas ticket (starting with ticket number 081), at destinations where the Chauffer Drive service is offered. Passengers travelling on Emirates tickets (starting with ticket number 176) should make reservations through Emirates.

All along the terms have technically stated your ticket needs to be issued by Qantas in order to qualify, though in practice even tickets issued by partner airlines (including partner award tickets) have qualified. For example, I have a US Airways award ticket to Melbourne via London and Dubai next year, and up until recently have been able to book a chauffeur online.

However, it seems that they’re now actually enforcing the terms, and if you’re on a ticket issued by a partner airline are no longer eligible for chauffeur drive. Now when I pull up my reservation on Qantas’ website, I receive a message saying “Sorry, you are not eligible to book a transfer to/from the airport” when trying to book chauffeur drive.

Qantas-Chauffeur-Drive

Bottom line

While it’s unfortunate, we certainly can’t blame them for enforcing the rules. Oh well, guess I should have booked my chauffeur drive earlier!

(Tip of the hat to Jerry)

Comments

  1. Hmm aren’t they breaching the contract, if they “sold” you a ticket that includes chauffeur service, and now decides not to include it? Surely they should have honored existing bookings that were made before the change.

  2. @ Jonas — But it was never a benefit since the terms specifically excluded non-Qantas issued tickets. Anyway, I’m happy to be flying four longhauls in QF A380 first class, I’ll gladly pay for my own transportation to/from the airport. ­čśÇ

  3. wow, you’re right, I just checked and same thing happened to me on my SYD-DXB… can’t even order On Q – Eat or chauffeur either… what a disappointment! now I wonder if it’s actually worth staying on Qantas… seems like the trip will not be enjoyable after all. Seriously, what’s next? the crew will tell me I have to make my own bed because I am on US Air award ticket? no amenity kit? no PJs? no dessert?
    absurd.

  4. @ Lantean — Is Australia your final destination? If so, they’re still by far the best airline/product flying there. Fortunately we’re entitled to amenity kits, PJs, and desserts on award tickets. We were never entitled to the chauffeur, even if it was technically possible to book it.

  5. @Lucky

    yes, it is… I just wonder if this cost-cutting has limits and if the next step is the crew will somehow differentiate between passengers on revenue and passengers on award/upgrade tickets… maybe that’s coming in a few months… ­čÖü
    now considering switching to Singapore… JFK-FRA-SIN-SYD is not so bad and A380 all the way…

  6. Just had an award booked from LHR-DXB through US AIr and booked chauffeur service last month. Rebooked yesterday as had to bump trip back a day and no longer can. Not the best timing but surprised I was able to book initially given terms and conditions said otherwise

  7. I used AA miles to book an LAX-SYD-CHC award in QF First for next March. Before the announcement in June, I had booked Chauffeur Drive for LA, from the airport in SYD, back to the airport 11 hours later in SYD, then at my final destination in CHC. I thought it was oddly generous to offer 4 separate transfers, even for First. After they announced the route no longer qualified, I got a call from QF offering 10,000 QF miles. That won’t get my very far, but it’s something I suppose! And still generous given that I wasn’t technically entitled to the service to begin with.

  8. Glad I got in when the getting was good. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as fancy as I did when I was picked up at the Park Hyatt Sydney, driven to the airport, given a great massage in the F lounge and then relaxed a 14 hour flight to LAX on a Qantas a380 in first.

    I guess I can pay for a cab next time. ­čśë

  9. Even if you had already booked the Chauffeur Drive they would have cancelled your booking when the rules changed, as they did for J and F pax who had confirmed bookings for flights to/from the US.

  10. BTW, where on Qantas website can one actually book first class (revenue) ticket? The website only gives drop-down option for business/first and the results only come out in biz class… I don’t get it… it’s like they don’t want to sell F tickets except thru an outside travel agent???

  11. @ Lantean — When I go to the Qantas website I see separate options for economy, premium economy, business, and first.

  12. ah, I figured it out… I was on Qantas US website… that one is messed up. when I switched to Qantas AUS website I see biz and F as separate.
    still quite odd they do this…

  13. So do you still get food in first or business when booking an award? What about an amenity kit? Do you still get to use a blanket or the IFE system?

  14. @ DaninMCI — All of those are benefits you receive for the class of service regardless of your ticket type. There are plenty of airlines that only offer chauffeur service on revenue tickets, so Qantas is being generous here by giving those on Qantas awards this service, still.

  15. I had exactly the same experience. I had already booked one pick-up and, at the time of your post, checked the QF website and got the same “sorry – you are not eligible” message.

    However, I have checked the reservation again today and my previously booked pick-up from the airport is showing as booked and it also allowed me to book (and confirmed) a pick-up to the airport.

    This is for an award ticket booked on USAirways.

  16. Yes – they worked out fine.

    It was DXB-LHR on QF1. Chauffeured to DXB from Abu Dhabi and then home from LHR on 24th Nov. No issues at all.

  17. Hi Lucky,

    Sorry to bring up this old post but I’ve an F award booked with AA miles from AKL-SYD-6 hour stopover-DXB-LHR in the coming weeks. When I go into my reservation on the QF website, I can book a transfer to AKL, a transfer upon arrival at SYD and transfer back to SYD. I’ve booked pickup in AKL, transfer to Circular Key and transfer back to SYD. I note the transfer terms and conditions still state that it’s only valid for QF or EK tickets but surely it wouldn’t let me book it if that’s still the case – unless it’s a system glitch?

    Has anyone heard of anyone having success with this on recent award booking with AA/or other FF miles?

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