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Fair Go: July 27

Published: 5:07PM Wednesday July 27, 2011 Source: Fair Go

Good service, or cheap fare?
Reporter: Gordon Harcourt
The Fair Go/Colmar Brunton customer service poll - Airlines

Travellers - what do you look for when you fly?  Full service, or cheap and cheerful?
This week the Fair Go/Colmar Brunton customer service poll looks at airlines, domestic and international.
We think the result isn't a huge shock. What is shocking is how bad the results were for one airline in particular.
Colmar Brunton asked for particularly positive or negative experiences - one is subtracted from the other to give a net score. Domestic
Air New Zealand  75% net positive
Jetstar   2% net positive
[ Sample: 585, Margin of error: +/- 4.1% ]
Air New Zealand  73% net positive
Emirates  61% net positive
Pacific Blue  26% net positive
Qantas   18% net positive
Jetstar   -9% net NEGATIVE
[ Sample: 882, Margin of error: +/- 3.3% ]

That net negative result means there were more Jetstar customers with particularly negative experiences than there were with particularly positive ones. It's the first net negative result we've reported in our series of polls so far.
Expecting too much?
Air New Zealand's Bruce Parton was, predictably, rather chuffed. He says it's not a choice between cheap fares or good service. But we wondered if travellers were expecting too much. Air NZ is what they call a full service carrier. Jetstar is a low cost carrier. Isn't it a bit unreasonable to expect the same sort of service?
Fronting up
We also think that fronting up in the media when things go wrong is part of good customer service. In general we think Air NZ do front up on Fair Go. They even let us throw fake vomit at a staff member in a story about a sick bag that failed.
I rang around journos who've dealt with Jetstar. The strong perception was it's harder to get them to front up. Jetstar's communications person (in Melbourne) says that isn't true at all. I booked an interview with them to discuss our poll...and they cancelled it! They didn't front up. We think that's pretty lame.
Jetstar response
They sent us a statement instead.
- they're "disappointed and surprised" at the results
- last month they were named Best Low Cost Carrier in Australia/Pacific, and 2nd best in the world at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
- they're not full service and don't pretend to be but are committed to safety, guaranteed lowest fares and a hassle free and enjoyable customer experience
- they've introduced their Jetstar Customer Guarantee  (It promises vouchers if broken)
- they admit they don't always get it right but they say they do always respond and learn.
Travelling advice
No matter who you fly with, AUT tourism expert Associate Professor Michael Lueck has some very good advice:
- if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to claim back the tax
- Get insurance no matter who you fly with
- If you book the wrong date online, ring the airline straight away.  Michael says airlines will often cancel that booking for you

Reporter: Phil Vine
Bethel from Sandringham takes us through her daily bus journey, and especially its deeply, steeply frustrating end. Tell us what you think.
Auckland Transport say they welcome commuter feedback - you can get in touch with them by calling 09 3666400 or through the website>.

X-Box vanishing act
Reporter: Ali Mau
After saving up for months he'd only had it a week when it stopped working. Retailer Harvey Norman said they couldn't help, as Microsoft demand all hardware is returned directly to them for repair. So Rhys packaged up his console according to their very specific instructions (

Reporter: Reina Webster-Iti
Fourteen year old Helaina Dean wrote to us for answers so we took her on a whirlwind tour of Auckland to see if we could figure out why in some places she's considered a child, in others an adult.

Here's a breakdown of what we've uncovered:
Adults 13+
Child and Student rates available.
Rainbows End
Adults 14+
Children 2-13
Action Raceway Go Karts
One price suits all.
Butterfly Creek
Adults 16+
Children 3-15
Event Cinemas
Adults 15+
Children 3-14
Original Adventure Minigolf
Adults 16+
Children 4-15
Auckland Zoo
Adults 15+
Children 4-14
Adults 13+
Children under 12
Science Alive (Christchurch)
Adults 18-64
Children 5-15
Willow Bank (Christchurch)
Adults 14+
Children under 14
International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch)
Adults 16+
Children under 15
Wellington Zoo
Adults 15+
Children 3-14


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