Under increasing pressure to halt declining revenues, Australia’s national carrier Qantas today announced the introduction of an optional ‘smile surcharge’ on all international flights.
Passengers will be able to select the new add-on for $15 when booked online or $200 at the airport.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the new scheme was a win for customers looking to keep their travel costs down. “Attendants who are pre-disposed to smiling cost us more. So if you’re happy to put up with a grouchy, lower-paid hostie, then that cost saving goes directly into your pocket”.
A spokesperson for the company said Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum members will occasionally be given free smile upgrades when there are unused smiles available on a given flight. But she warned normal customers against enquiring about free upgrades at check-in. “You may actually end up with the opposite of what you were hoping for,” she said.
*This is an edited version of on an article first published in The Shovel in 2012