Travel agent loses it after horrendous four-hour wait for Qantas: Has this happened to you too?

In an age where customer service can make or break the reputation of a business, especially in the travel industry, a recent incident involving Qantas has raised eyebrows and tempers.

David Van der Meer, a seasoned travel agent from Perth, found himself in a customer service nightmare when he was left on hold for an excruciating four hours while trying to resolve an issue for a client.

The frustration of waiting on hold is something many of us can relate to, but for Van der Meer, this experience was particularly galling. As someone who has been in the travel business since 2007, running the Helloworld Travel South Perth agency, he's no stranger to dealing with airlines.

However, his recent ordeal with Qantas's dedicated Agency Connect phone line, which he describes as the 'bane' of his existence, has left him more than just a little irate.

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David Van Meer of Helloworld Travel waited for a representative for over three hours. Credit: TikTok / David Van der Meer

‘Mostly we can fix things online ourselves but occasionally when their system is down we have to call them, but the minute we call them I have that feeling of dread knowing I’m going to be on hold for hours upon hours,’ he said in his online post.

‘I can call any other airline and they’ll pick up within 20 minutes.’

‘We know what to do to get things resolved. When they did pick up I had to explain to her her job and rectify what she was telling me. It’s a joke.’

The travel agent's frustration reached a boiling point when he shared a video on social media, showing the hold time on his phone at 3 hours and 32 minutes.

His patience worn thin, he expressed his intention to hang up in defeat, though he ultimately stayed on the line for another half an hour before finally reaching a representative.

The irony? Once connected, it took a mere five minutes to resolve his client's issue.

It's worth noting that the day Van der Meer called, the Agency Connect line was reportedly affected by pilot industrial action in Perth. There was also a claim that Qantas did answer at one point, but Van der Meer was on another line, a point he disputes.

The details of when Qantas actually responded remain unclear.

Van der Meer's ordeal comes at a time when Qantas has publicly committed $80 million to enhance customer service.

This pledge was underscored by CEO Vanessa Hudson's recent statement about the airline's focus on reducing call wait times, a claim that now seems somewhat ironic given Van der Meer's experience.

This incident raises important questions about the reliability of customer service in the travel industry, particularly for agents who act as intermediaries between airlines and passengers.

Van der Meer's experience is also a stark reminder of the potential disconnect between corporate promises and the reality faced by customers and agents alike.

While Qantas's general customer helpline reportedly has a wait time of up to half an hour, with an average hold time of two to three minutes, this incident suggests that the experience can vary greatly.

For Van der Meer, who has found Qantas 'horrible' to deal with over the last decade, the long wait times are a source of dread and frustration.

The travel agent's story is a cautionary tale for all of us who rely on customer service lines, whether for personal or professional reasons. It's a reminder to be prepared for potential long waits and to consider alternative methods of communication when possible.

Qantas, under the leadership of Hudson, has reported a $1.25 billion half-year profit and has reiterated its commitment to putting the customer first.

Hudson has acknowledged the need for service improvements and has promised that the airline is working on enhancements based on customer feedback.

Key Takeaways

  • A travel agent in Perth expressed his frustration with Qantas after a four-hour wait on hold to speak with a representative.
  • Despite Qantas's commitment to customer service and reduced call wait times announced by CEO Vanessa Hudson, the travel agent's experience suggests otherwise.
  • The long wait was partially attributed to pilot industrial action in Perth, and there was a discrepancy about whether Qantas did eventually answer while the agent was on another line.
  • The travel agent, who has been frustrated with Qantas for a decade, was able to resolve his client's issue quickly once connected.

For our readers, particularly those who frequently travel or book travel for others, we'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Have you faced similar issues with airline customer service? Share your stories and tips in the comments below!
TAA - Take Another Airline. Just like the 2 big supermarkets, another monopoly that needs to be boycott. And for those of the younger generation, TAA was an Australian airline company that closed down due to the quantas (sic) monopoly.
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TAA was privatised in 1986 and became Australian Airlines for a few years.
Australian Airlines was later sold to Qantas so that they would have a domestic arm so that the government could privatise Qantas (previously fully government owned). Since then Qantas has gone downhill especially under Joyce as the CEO.
It's disappointing that some chief executive can come from the other side of the world, turn the Pride of Australia into the most hated airline in the region, then return home with $millions in his bank account, (possibly) never to be held accountable.
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"Wait times" as long as 40 minutes are now standard corporate practice for any "service" provider. It must be deliberate corporate policy in the hope that customer "services" simply want you to go away and not bother them anymore. By the way, your bill payment is 1 day overdue and that's a $10 fine.
I was on the phone for over 6 hours with Qantas back in 2022, one of many phone calls to there South African call centre. One of many calls to utilise flight credits
No surprise. Try ringing ANZ. These big corporations are only interested in lining the pockets of their senior executives and share holders.

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