• Qantas is offering frequent fliers $34 vouchers and other perks as compensation for travel chaos.
  • CEO Alan Joyce apologized to customers for flight delays, cancellations, and lost baggage on Sunday.
  • Joyce said Qantas had had to deal with a "50% jump in sick leave," per multiple outlets.

Qantas is offering vouchers, premium membership extensions, and access to business lounges to many of the passengers who have endured a summer of travel chaos. 

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce recorded a video message to customers, which was posted Sunday and shared by Executive Traveller. "The return to flying hasn't all gone smoothly. Over the past few months, too many of you have had flights delayed, flights canceled, or bags misplaced," Joyce said.

Frequent flier members later received an email offering them 50 Australian dollars, or $34, in vouchers, an extension to Qantas 'silver membership by 12 months, and access to business lounges, as an apology for the travel disruption, per Reuters.

As with other airlines, Qantas has been beset by operational challenges during its attempt to rebound from the pandemic. Its passengers have complained of difficulties handling baggage, inaccurate bookings, and long delays on its customer service phone line.  

The airline's performance among Australian carriers for flight cancellations has been the worst over the summer, although it has improved in recent months. In July, Qantas canceled 6.2% of flights, down from 7.5% in June, according to data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research, which was cited by the Australian Financial Review.

In the video message, Joyce added that the airline's performance was not good enough. He cited labor shortages as one reason for the problems.

Qantas has hired 1,500 workers since April and adjusted schedules to have more crew and reserve available to deal with a "50% jump in sick leave," Joyce said in the video message. The airline was also rolling out new technology to make customers' journeys easier, he said.

On August 8, the airline asked 100 senior office staff to step in as baggage handlers and assist customers at airports to help mitigate the shortfall. Around 200 volunteers have been working in airports since Easter, the airline told Insider

Qantas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

Union bosses have criticized the compensation offer, pointing out that the group let thousands of workers go during the pandemic.

"Thousands of passengers who've spent hours in call center queues following canceled flights, delays, and lost luggage won't want to waste more of their time attempting to cash in a voucher to buy themselves more of the same chaos," Michael Kaine, general secretary of the Transport Workers Union Australia, said in a statement, posted Sunday.

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