Jetstar pilot slams Qantas CEO salary – and he’s not alone

This morning, I spent 2.5 hours dealing with Qantas’s call centre.

The first 90 minutes was spent on hold, waiting to be connected. For the next 55 minutes, I worked with a reservation agent to change a flight.

That’s right: 2.5 hours simply to change a flight.


I had a similarly disappointing experience with the airline’s customer service team a few weeks ago, when returning from Sydney a week after having surgery. They cancelled my flight unexpectedly and automatically moved me from a business class Qantas seat – which I’d booked and paid for as I needed a comfortable flight home – to a Jetstar flight.

I immediately called them, and again, I waited on hold two hours. My flight was due to leave in 6 hours and to say I was stressed is an understatement! I eventually got moved to another flight the following evening, in the business seat I had booked and paid for, but there was no compensation for the extra night in a hotel.

It’s not the fact that they cancelled the flight that bugs me – they’re an airline, it happens.

It’s the over-riding lack of service that Qantas offers at the moment that really gets my goat. These are just two examples, but I can think of four other occasions where Qantas service left me frustrated in the last 12 months.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been in the news recently over his eye-watering $24m annual paycheque. I can understand the outrage: he may have turned the airline around (anyone remember when Qantas was failing a few years back?) but he’s done so at the expense of their core service offering.

A Jetstar pilot says the massive salary pocketed by chief executive makes his “blood boil”, as the company’s pilots are fighting for a wage increase.

The pilot, who spoke to the media anonymously due to contractual reasons, said pilots earn around $80-$220,000 annually, and had recently fought for a 3% wage increase – which actually translated to a wage reduction.

“The Dreamliner (787) is 4% quicker than the Airbus it replaced, it’s a very fast aircraft. We got a 3 per cent pay rise on an aircraft that flies 4 per cent quicker and we get paid by the flight hour, so it was actually a pay cut,” the captain said.

Qantas are Australia’s premium airline. They charge higher fares based on the fact that they offer a higher level of service and inclusions.

But that service seems limited to the actual flight, because their customer service is seriously lacking before and after you fly.