If delayed flights, uprooted schedules, and unnotified last-minute changes weren’t enough to push the once-beloved airline further into the mud, its latest meat-only drama is enough to topple the most die-hard of Qantas fans over the edge.
As Twitter user John Dee discovered during a recent trip from Adelaide to Sydney, economy passengers are not currently guaranteed to have vegetarian options available on domestic flights of less than three and a half hours.
The crisis was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the writer of Qantas’ ‘Spirit of Australia’ tagline, Phillip Adams, who has been petitioning the airline’s CEO to remove the tagline from ‘all fuselages, tickets and advertising’.
So, how did the vegetarian fiasco topple Qantas over the PR abys?
Pure Public Relations founder Phoebe Netto spoke to Smart Company about the fiasco, where she said:
“Qantas was in a trust and respect deficit, so the outrage was not only a backlash against the ridiculous decision to not offer vegetarian meals on some flights, it was the accumulative effect of multiple decisions that showed disregard for the experience of its customers.
“For Qantas’ increasingly maligned brand, this decision was incendiary and quite frankly, baffling.
“Given the large percentage of customers who would require a vegetarian option, this gave the impression of being out of touch, or worse, uncaring.”
Vegetarians and vegans make up 12.1% of the population of Australia, according to Roy Morgan – accounting for 2.5 million people.
“In some instances, a business moving fast to backflip on an unpopular decision earns more trust and loyalty credits than if they never made the decision in the first place.
“But because this was another strike against its name, it will leave Qantas in a further likeability deficit.”
Brands need a strong reputation to use as ‘credit’ for the bad times. With its reputation already down the toilet, the meat fiasco was a step too far.
It’s going to take a whole lot more than vegetarian meals to win it back.