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Qantas axes chauffeur drive service for Los Angeles, Dallas flights

By David Flynn     Filed under: qantas

Qantas has axed its chauffeur drive service for all first and business class passengers on flights between Australia and its US hubs of Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.

As of June 30 Qantas will no longer offer a free chauffeur service for flights to and from Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth, with final bookings closing on June 9 according to the Qantas website.

"Chauffeur Drive in the US has had relatively low take-up, so rather than persist with the overheads of keeping the service on offer we're removing it will reinvest in things that are of more value to our customers" a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller.

However, the spokesperson declined to detail how Qantas would accommodate first and business class passengers booked on flights beyond June 30, saying only that "Customers with existing Chauffeur Drive bookings after 30 June 2014 can contact Qantas directly to discuss the options that are available to them."

It's believed that chauffeur drive bookings for Qantas travellers headed to London are some four times that of bookings for LAX and Dallas flights.

Ironically, Qantas will upgrade its Sydney-Dallas flights to an Airbus A380 from September 29, bringing first class onto a route that currently sees business class as the top rung of the travel ladder.

The service was introduced on April 1 2013, matching that already offered by Qantas partner Emirates. It was among the first moves in Qantas’ efforts to align its services with those of the Gulf airline under the Qantas-Emirates alliance.

At the time, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce hailed the service as one of the many benefits stemming from Qantas and Emirates aligning their products to provide a consistent, world-class customer experience.

AusBT review: Qantas chauffeur drive service

“We know this door-to-door service will be very well received and it’s a prime example of the kind of benefits customers can expect from the new partnership” Joyce said.

Qantas will continue to offer a chauffeured drive to first and business class passengers travelling on flights between Australia, Dubai and London.

The chauffeur drive service was extended to US flights in July last year, and at the time Qantas said in a statement that it would be "extended to other international flights greater than 12 hours long progressively in 2014", which would have included Johannesburg and Santiago.

Virgin Australia says it will continue to offer 'complimentary limousine transfers' for most business class travellers to the USA.

Qantas' decision comes as the airline seeks to slash $2 billion in costs over the next three years following a loss of $252 million in the July-December 2013 period, its biggest since the airline was privatised almost two decades ago.

The airline will lay off some 2200 staff by June 30, with another 1800 jobs to go in the next financial year.

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About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 26/5/14 by driley28

Really not impressed by this!

1 on 30/5/14 by Maxine

Me neither! I've had 3 chauffer drive bookings for months for flight to LAX in Sept and return in Oct. 

VERY dissapointed that they are not honouring existing bookings,  "Customers with existing Chauffeur Drive bookings after 30 June 2014 can contact Qantas directly to discuss the options that are available to them."

NO options were offered to me when Qantas called to break the news!

2 on 30/5/14 by Maxine

Me neither! I've had 3 chauffer drive bookings for months for flight to LAX in Sept and return in Oct. 

VERY dissapointed that they are not honouring existing bookings,  "Customers with existing Chauffeur Drive bookings after 30 June 2014 can contact Qantas directly to discuss the options that are available to them."

NO options were offered to me when Qantas called to break the news!

3 on 30/5/14 by Maxine

Me neither! I've had 3 chauffer drive bookings for months for flight to LAX in Sept and return in Oct. 

VERY dissapointed that they are not honouring existing bookings,  "Customers with existing Chauffeur Drive bookings after 30 June 2014 can contact Qantas directly to discuss the options that are available to them."

NO options were offered to me when Qantas called to break the news!

2 on 26/5/14 by dave

what happens if you have a ticketed flight with chauffuer drive  already booked for travel in july 2014 to lax

timing is pretty awful- should really give people 3 months notice

1 on 30/5/14 by Alexaqua

Show Qantas how disgusted you are, cancel your ticket and fly a different airline.

3 on 26/5/14 by qfflyer

I feel as though this is really quite a bad move. Detracts from the premium offering that they are so keen to tout. 

4 on 26/5/14 by KG

"...aligning products to provide consistency and offering a world class experience". What an embarrassment!!!

1 on 26/5/14 by KG

Just checked random dates in November for a return SYD-DFW in first class. QF is around 16.5K return, EK around 14k. With EK your journey is longer (more mileage earned I would say) but you get a shower onboard, a superior hard product and chauffeur drive and it is cheaper, enough said...

1 on 26/5/14 by qfflyer

I flew SYD-DXB last year on the 6am EK departure. (Such a good flight) Met some people who were travelling F from Sydney to Dallas via Dubai because Qantas don't/didn't offer First on that route! Haha oh the life!

2 on 27/5/14 by GregXL

EK SYD-DFW is almost twice the flying time as QF and at least one connection - good value per hour in First !  Interesting that some of the flight options offered by EK include code shares on QF SYD-DXB (still at $14K) and none of them are code shares on QF7/8. 

5 on 26/5/14 by tjtecoma

How disappointing!  Having recently used the service on MEL-LHR return (which I realise is not impacted by this announcement) for the first time, I was really impressed and was looking forward to doing the same on a planned US trip early next year. Oh well...

6 on 26/5/14 by 521303

oh deary deary me.  What a sad state of affairs the Qantas pantomime has become.

7 on 26/5/14 by LoveToFly

This is very disapointing. I have a J flight in September to JFK and have already booked in a chauffeur transfer. For the price paid it was something in the current  market I'd expect. Yes I can get to you airport myself but qantas tout a premium service, etihad and emirates now that's a premium service in j&f at least

8 on 27/5/14 by P.B.

Chauffeur Drive is/was especially handy for DFW as public transport is woeful to both Dallas & Fort Worth metropolitans, and taxis can be a tad bit unreliable (IMO). While Uber has an excellent presence in Dallas, axing Chauffeur Drive is incredibly disappointing and is just another egg in the face for QFFs. Reconsider your choices, QF management!

1 on 27/5/14 by Robert

While i would like to think they would honnor existing bookings, given yheir woefull operation i think not and what is next Qantas International and the shell it now is.

They only provided chauffeur service as a response to the alliance withh Emirates,i see more routes cut,less first class offerings,and all as catering is going downhill big time,inflight service varies from good to pathetic...just no consistancy here.They keep pushing us all.

9 on 27/5/14 by Oliver

i really do love qantas and there product but sometimes i just wonder how silly qantas mangment is.

1 on 27/5/14 by Mackenzie

Agreed, we need a new team (AND CEO ;) ) in their right now to turn Qantas around to the way it used to be :/ ... Sigh

10 on 27/5/14 by JN

Qantas is a sad joke.

11 on 27/5/14 by AusFlyer

It's disappointing but I can't say I choose to fly an airline based on whether they offer chauffer drive. As unpopular as this comment may be, if the chauffer drive is costing Qantas more than it benefits then I agree on getting rid of it. What Qantas should be doing though, is providing decent notice and honoring any existing chauffer drive bookings that have already been made on future bookings.

12 on 27/5/14 by Mal

I'm amazed that Qantas says take-up of the service at London is higher than for LA or Dallas. Both of those are 'car' cities, you'd need a car to get from the airport, especially at DFW airport which is halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth so anybody going to either of these, most likely Dallas, would need a car. At least in London there's the Heathrow Express which is a quick way to get right into the heart of the city at Paddington.

13 on 27/5/14 by DB

Interesting move. Why didn't Qantas just do what ever other business does and add the cost of the chauffer to the ticket price, - then continue to offer the service.  Do you think Emirates and every other carrier that offers this a chauffeur service does it for free?  Nope, it's built into the ticket price.

1 on 27/5/14 by Robert

DB,

In regard DFW they have no competition,that said they Qantas provide the most expencive fares to to booth LAX and DFW.

I agree with AUS FLYER throw in the limo service and add to the price,most all would never no but the dummy,s at Qantas would never get that.

14 on 27/5/14 by wilsoni

What a joke! Reason 10,000,001 not to bother with Qantas.

1 on 27/5/14 by Robert

Now come on.Where is the spirit or as a Qantas captain told me last week...IT,S long gone.

15 on 27/5/14 by rickylee

"Reinvest in things that are of more value to passengers". Like what?

16 on 27/5/14 by SeatNextToYours

This makes the "Q Charge" all the more odious...

17 on 27/5/14 by grov

JFK services never existed, so no loss at that end. However, you can book  a car for around US$65-75 to go to Manhattan.What I find crazy is that Qantas cuts a service that because it's not being used, surely isn't costing them much?  What will this achieve, apart from upsetting its high-end customers?

18 on 27/5/14 by dave

hi all,

can confrim existing bookings will NOT be honoured. have  multiple bookings for 1st week of july and  for J  and F class flights to LAX- none will be honoured and all chauffer drive already booked in my system cancelled- really annoyed. - UA, DL and VA are all about 1.5 to 2k cheaper. bad decision  by bad qantas management . silly as the cost is not huge.

1 on 27/5/14 by Robert

If you make a decision to fly Qantas based on a first class lounge access,c drive,points/c card points you ar absolutlt f n nuts.

1 on 27/5/14 by KG

Don't you always make a decision to fly a certain carrier on a large set of factors, including but not limited to the ones you state? The ability to earn and redeem points is definitely one of them for me and indeed, although I know one can easily book a hire car it is a nice perk that one is waiting for you when you depart / arrive (no hassle with seperate bookings). Knowing I can retreat to a nice F lounge whilst waiting is a bonus for me to. I

19 on 27/5/14 by Fonga

We've had this service for about 5 minutes and it's withdrawn because few were using it. It always seemed a tad indulgent and the kind of thing only big non-commercial bottomless-bucket-of-money trophy airlines like EK offer. The only bad decision was to offer it in the first place.

If you don't like QF, don't fly them. I'm sure you'll love it on Delta/United/Virgin/Hawaiin and all the bells and whistles they bring to the table.

Just for some perspective, a quick search on Webjet shows that QF sits about middle of the market for a return J class fare to LAX. Couple of hundred dollars cheaper than NZ or Cathay, couple of hundred more than Virgin or United. You get two of the best airport lounges in the world at either end of your trip in the deal and an A380 top shelf product in between on a direct flight. Seriously, ease up .

20 on 27/5/14 by 11sjw

It's all simpler (for QF) and (un)fairer for you.

21 on 27/5/14 by Myra

I received a phone call from QF today informing me my booked chauffeur drives were cancelled and, quite frankly, can't get too worked up about it. It was always a stretch too far and a bonus while it lasted.  I'm keener to see the QF business class fares become more competitive than I can be upset by the loss of a poofteenth value of my ticket. I book LIMOSO when QF doesn't offer a chauffeur drive and will continue to do so.  Their service is excellent no matter who pays for it. Stateside I fly to SFO so no chauffeur service from QF anyway but have a no fuss easy peasy Uber account.  I've bigger fish to fry than worry about this!!

22 on 28/5/14 by GregXL

The Book page of Qantas's website has a promotional statement in large text : "Its about saying all-inclusive and meaning it".  No further comment needed !

23 on 28/5/14 by Rufus1

The response to this is example #783 of why you should never get between a frequent flyer and his or her (usually his, to be fair to the fairer sex) sense of entitlement.

Yes it's nice.  I've used it a few times with various airlines.  But it reduces your flexibility, has to be booked in advance (excluduing those who book close to departure).  And there are these magical things called "taxis" which do just the same job. 

And to suggest that this is Qantas relegating itself to the third league, at least it will be in good company with Cathay, Singapore, BA, Lufthansa...

24 on 30/5/14 by Stephen

I used this service last year (SYD-LAX) and it was a great experience and also eased the hassles of arranging travel to and from the airport, particularly when arriving back at Sydney. I think this is a major mistake by Qantas in removing it. Qantas already have highly priced Business and First Class fares, this decision just dilutes the value for money and competitiveness argument further. Other airlines are pushing the envelope with their first class and business class travel experiences, Qantas to me seem to be going the other way, despite the best efforts of the spin coming from their Marketing department. Can't see this decision helping their cause, the Kangaroo route used to be the gem in the crown for Qantas - seems like that time has well gone and Qantas has all but given up on it.

25 on 30/5/14 by neiljeram

More QF bashing. OK their craft can be dated, excl A380, but generally service is pretty solid. To base your decision on a car ride at either end seems hardlly relevant.  Try EK these days and the lack of quality of thier FA's

26 on 30/5/14 by Dirk

Booked a flight end of Septmeber and received a call from Qantas a few days ago that the service is not longer on offer.... not impressed . Asked if the fare would be reduced and received a very clear 'no we wont do that'... only after a further push i was offered 10.000 FF points.... but it could tgake up to four weeks before they will be credited to my account... higher fares & less service = Qantas these days.... 

27 on 30/5/14 by Dirk

Booked a flight end of Septmeber and received a call from Qantas a few days ago that the service is not longer on offer.... not impressed . Asked if the fare would be reduced and received a very clear 'no we wont do that'... only after a further push i was offered 10.000 FF points.... but it could tgake up to four weeks before they will be credited to my account... higher fares & less service = Qantas these days.... 

28 on 30/5/14 by Dirk

Booked a flight end of Septmeber and received a call from Qantas a few days ago that the service is not longer on offer.... not impressed . Asked if the fare would be reduced and received a very clear 'no we wont do that'... only after a further push i was offered 10.000 FF points.... but it could tgake up to four weeks before they will be credited to my account... higher fares & less service = Qantas these days.... 

1 on 1/6/14 by Maxine

I contacted Qantas this morning, prior to viewing your comment, and was told that there is nothing offered for existing bookings. 10K points is a pitiful 'compensation'  personally I think they should honour the existing bookings

29 on 30/5/14 by Alexaqua

Aaaahh, the typical Qantas reaction, cut back on service.  It's what has made Qantas the company it is today!!

30 on 1/6/14 by Maxine

Don't bother contcing Qantas - there are NO alternatives on offer. I was advised that I would need to make my own arrangements - no where near a First Class service to match my First Class ticket!

"Customers with existing Chauffeur Drive bookings after 30 June 2014 can contact Qantas directly to discuss the options that are available to them."

31 on 2/6/14 by AussieGuest

Really feel for the loyal and hard working Qantas staff.  Joyce has to go, simple as that.

 

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