Domestic Airlines | Small Business

Posted by Canstar Blue April 14th 2015

Picking the right airline for your small business needs is crucial, as it represents a significant annual outlay if you choose poorly. Luckily our customer satisfaction ratings can help you out.

* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in March 2015, published in April 2015.

See Our Ratings Methodology


Most Satisfied Customers | Virgin Australia

We’re happy to announce we’ve found one brand that stands out from the rest: Virgin Australia has achieved our Small Business Award for Domestic Airlines, edging out Qantas Domestic with four stars and Jetstar with three.

Virgin Australia soars with our small business award for 2015

The convenience of modern air travel is one of the most amazing developments of the 21st century. Within a matter of hours you can travel the entire length of Australia, and within a day you can be on the other side of the world.

Despite what air travel offers, the reputation of airlines is often sullied by images of bland food1, expensive tickets and too little leg room. In recent years though, many carriers have taken huge strides in improving the travel experience for everyone who flies, especially in areas such as customer service and frequent flyer rewards. So how do Australia’s domestic airlines stack up?

Here at Canstar Blue, we commission surveys into the opinions of small business operators and employees in order to measure their satisfaction with a wide variety of products. When it came to airlines, we knew that it was vital to find out just how well each company’s product is perceived in areas such as value for money, availability, customer service and more.

We’re happy to announce we’ve found one brand that stands out from the rest: Virgin Australia has achieved our Small Business Award for Domestic Airlines, edging out Qantas Domestic with four stars and Jetstar with three. Virgin secured five stars in four of the six rated criteria. Let’s see exactly where this brand excelled.

1 Did you know your taste buds aren’t as receptive to taste at high altitude? Looks like your airline isn’t entirely to blame for your bland brekky.

Value for money

Air travel has never been cheap, but the value equation for domestic flights is often pretty good as a result of increasing competition between airlines’ budget seating options. When it came to value, award-winner Virgin shared the maximum five-star rating with Jetstar, with both offering outstanding value satisfaction. Qantas scored four stars for the value for money of its flights.

Customer service

Aussies considered customer service to be the biggest factor in how satisfied they were overall with an airline. Customer service encompasses pre-flight service such as booking, checking in and boarding, in-flight steward service, and post-flight facilities such as baggage collection. It’s a necessarily huge part of the overall experience of flying, so it’s important for airlines to get it right!

There was another pair of joint winners when it came to service: both Virgin and Qantas scored five stars for the quality of their customer care, with Jetstar achieving three stars.

Flight punctuality

Delays are one of the biggest headaches when you’re travelling for either business or pleasure, so everybody wants to fly on the airline that has the best reputation for sending off their flights on time. According to Aussie consumers, that airline is Qantas, with the brand scoring five stars for the punctuality of its service. Virgin was close behind with four stars, whilst Jetstar achieved three.

Flight schedule/availability

Of course, there’s no point trying to fly with a luxurious and punctual airline unless they actually offer you the service you’re looking for, and fortunately Australia’s major airlines have done nothing but expand their network of destinations and flights in recent years. Virgin and Qantas both achieved five star ratings for the availability of their flights, whilst smaller provider Jetstar achieved an impressive four stars.

Frequent flyer program

When it came to frequent flyer programs, Qantas was again found to be the most satisfying, achieving the maximum five stars for the rewards it provided; Virgin came in with four stars and Jetstar with three. The frequent flyer rewards programs of the airlines we surveyed all have some unique features, some of which will appeal to certain people more than others. We’ve compiled some of the most important ones so that you can compare them more easily.

Brand Virgin Australia: Velocity Frequent Flyer Qantas: Frequent Flyer Jetstar: Club Jetstar
  • Free membership, which can be upgraded to Silver, Gold and Platinum to earn progressively greater rewards
  • Earn points on flights and with certain co-branded credit cards
  • Earn points on flights, for booking with partnered hire car providers and hotels, as well as certain chain stores and restaurants
  • Take out a points-earning credit card from any of the major banks
  • Use Qantas Cash to load multiple currencies on the one card when travelling
  • Redeem your points for things such as flight discounts and upgrades, hotels, store items and more
  • Exclusive member sales which change over time
  • Current deals include free car rental upgrades and travel insurance discounts, as well as food, retail and travel discounts


Club lounge service

One of the main benefits of being a member of an airline’s rewards program is access to the somewhat-exclusive lounge, where you can relax and enjoy a snack in peace while you wait for your flight. The quality and service of Virgin and Qantas’s lounges were both equally deserving of our highest rating: five stars in these results; with Jetstar following with three stars.

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