Despite persistent labor shortages, the world keeps on moving. People still want to go out to eat, shop and travel, even if there’s not enough workers to support those activities. And sometimes that means executives need to jump into the trenches and fill in.
That’s the case for Australian airline Qantas Airways. According to Bloomberg, the company’s chief operating officer this week put out the call to executives to take on baggage handling duties full-time for three months to help get through the holiday travel rush. Qantas is seeking 100 executives who can lift at least 70 pounds to move bags and drive luggage carts.
It’s not unprecedented for executives and other office employees to help out on the ground when things get busy but it’s a fairly extraordinary move to ask executives to leave their desks for three months to do so. But as Qantas explains, executives volunteering for baggage handling duty won’t be expected to continue performing their normal full-time jobs.
The plea to Qantas executives comes at a particularly disrupted time for the airline. According to Bloomberg, Qantas had to cancel more than 8% of its flights in June, or one in 12 flights. Some critics of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce place the blame at his feet, accusing him of slashing too many jobs during the pandemic. The anger with Joyce has resulted in eggs and toilet paper being thrown at his $19 million home in Sydney.
Even in the best of times, airlines and airline executives are not exactly popular. So, it’s not surprising that Qantas would go to such unusual lengths to keep flights on time and in the air.