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GUEST POST: This is Why Qantas is Going Out of Business by Penny Pigeon

An email sent to me that was too funny not to share. All words courtesy of Penny Pigeon. If you would like to post something, let me know!

Today I went on a leadership course. I have been putting off going all year due to other work commitments. I actually should have been on a work trip today, an important one too. You see, this particularly polarising stock has crapped out in the last two months (excuse my technical market terminology) so a trip to see their operations would seem to have been a good use of time. You know, actually do my job, make informed decisions, that sort of thing.

However when I raise this, I am told in no uncertain terms that this course has to take priority because if I don’t do it: I will not be able to help the company execute its three year strategy”.

 WHAAAAATT??? So if the firm does not meet its objectively measured returns over a three-year period, it is because I haven’t done the one-day course on ‘leadership’?

Deep breaths.


This argument is about as sound as the one that you can hear at any Australian domestic airport on a given day, the “this is why Qantasis going out of business” argument. You might be familiar: this is the claim thrown out in response to any possible adversity or setback that an Australian traveller encounters at the airport. It’s thrown out with so much authority that the traveller’s companion(s) have basically no opportunity to challenge how logical the claim might be, and instead nod with complete empathy. I’m not sure who I judge more in this situation.

Passenger A

“I’m flying from Sydney to Tokyo, connecting in Brisbane, but they have just told me that I can’t check in the whole way; I’m going to have to collect my bag and re-check it in in Brisbane…” [WAIT FOR IT]”…this is why Qantas is going out of business”

 Uh no, it’s not, trust me. The fact that there are international customs regulations has absolutely fuck all to do with Qantas not being able to compete in a difficult cost-structure environment and against the limitless pockets of sovereign-backed competitors.

Passenger B

“I got here two hours early but they won’t put me on an earlier flight because they only have spare seats in business but they won’t upgrade me so now I have to wait. I don’t see what the issue is, they are flying the plane aren’t they, if there’s an empty seat just put me in it!…”  [FOR THE LOVE OF GOD] “…this is why Qantas is going out of business”.

Nope, you’re wrong again. You see, the driving rationale behind fare categories (yes, there are fares other than ‘red e-deals’) and different classes of travel is, believe it or not, profitability. Oh the irony!

Passenger C

“I wanted a Jim Beam & Cola on the plane, but did you know they don’t serve free alcohol on Sydney-Melbourne trips during the day anymore? So I had to pay $8 for the can………”  [DON’T DO IT] “………….this is why Qantas is going out of business”.

Charging people for things they will continue to consume, regardless of price….now that’s a tough one. Have you heard of the concept ‘inelastic demand’?? Actually, maybe you haven’t. Maybe someone who wants to drink an alcopop at 11am on a Thursday is more of a Dan Brown person than an Adam Smith person. Let’s try from another angle: charging people for things you used to provide for free. Good for profits or bad for profits? Qantas you fools, if only you knew the impact this was having on your P&L!

On a good day, you might actually hear a traveller use the Qantas argument more than once. After all, they are not idiotic enough to think that only one of these things in isolation might be the downfall behind a $3bn business. Please, give them some fucking credit.Just in the same way that I have come to realise that not attending the leadership course was not the only way I am going to cause the 3-year strategy to fall at the wayside. There was the time I took a banana from the fruit delivery next to the lifts without carrying the box to the kitchen (a subsequent ‘all staff’ email from some self-righteous prick would confirm that this sort of behaviour is ‘selfish’). And what about all the times I throw hard rubbish in the ‘organic scraps’ bin? Was that why September’s performance was poor?

We rarely realise the impact of our behaviour but with a little more self-awareness from all of us, including you Qantas, just think of all strategies that can be executed!

About Arani Satgunaseelan (78 Articles)
Corporate nerd. Wannabe blogger.

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