Qantas in-flight services – U.S. airlines can really learn a LOT from them

We took an AA flight from JFK to LAX today and had a separate reservation with Qantas to fly from LAX to Melbourne. On the AA flight, even though we were seated in business class, the service certainly left something to be desired. The flight attendant who was tending to us confused my tea request and gave me coffee. When I told her it was coffee and not tea, she initially insisted it was tea. I insisted again, NO, it’s coffee, and almost told her to taste it until she said she’d take it back and have it replaced. Well, the tea I did end getting was crap, but what else is new on U.S. carriers? The screen and console were not working for me at my seat, so I was unable to take advantage of inflight entertainment. I asked this flight attendant to reset it. She didn’t, and had to eventually do it after I asked a third time. But when I asked her about it 90 minutes later, she said, “But I reset it 3 times.” Well, the screen looked exactly the same. She could see it herself. And she insisted there wasn’t anything else that could be done. Chris then harped on her to write me a note to get miles back as a compensation, which she reluctantly did. Then, when I asked for my dessert, it never came until I went up to them asking for it half an hour later. The same inattentive flight attendant who was too busy chatting with her colleagues said absentmindedly, “Oh, didn’t I already give you your dessert?” Well, no. That’s why I stood up and came over to ASK you to get it for me. It’s really shocking how even if you have the highest level of status and are seated in a premium cabin on American Airlines, the service can truly be hit or miss. It’s never a guarantee to be good.

On the flip side, I can honestly say that service on Qantas, even in economy and premium economy, has been superior to American. In flight from LAX to Melbourne on Friday in business class, the flight attendants were extremely attentive: they set up Kaia’s bassinet and buckled her into her infant seat belt (what is an infant seat belt on AA? I don’t believe that exists!). They offered her endless baby food without our even asking, which American NEVER has unless you specifically request it (and even when you request it, there’s NO guarantee it will ever be there; talk about being really stupid). They gave us a massive bucket of hot water to heat up one of Kaia’s breast milk bottles. They heated up the baby food, and one of the flight attendants even tested the temperature of the food on his wrist before giving it to me to serve Kaia (WOW! Talk about service!). They proactively gave me drinks and napkins even when I didn’t ask for them. They happily and eagerly gave me ice and refreshed it repeatedly to keep my breast milk safe and cold. They offered to hold my baby to give me a break for my arms. And if that all was not enough, one of them even offered, after I finished a pumping session in flight, to WASH MY PUMP PARTS FOR ME. I nearly passed out in shock and appreciation. Who WAS this guy, and can he please, please be cloned? I certainly would never ask anyone other than Chris or a previous night nurse/nanny to wash my pump parts, as they are literally covered in my breast milk/bodily fluid, but just the mere fact that he was so gracious and kind to offer to do something like that for me just spoke to his high level of empathy and service.

It was a great flight to Oz that went really smoothly; we even departed early and landed early. Kaia slept pretty well, and she ate well in flight, as well. And as per usual, all the food, drink, and even the little snacks were excellent. U.S. carriers could really learn about a dozen or more things to improve their quality of service to passengers, especially those with families and young children on board. But given the U.S. clearly doesn’t prioritize or give a shit about families and young children, I suppose the subpar service for families in flight on U.S. carriers is just a sad reflection on the state of affairs in the country overall.

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