Qantas may still be getting some flac for its sky-high ticket prices and the long night that passengers in Newcastle had to spend trapped on the tarmac, but as well as boasting a pretty plush business class cabin, the Aussie airline is now looking to overhaul its boarding procedures in an effort to improve its customer experience. The new approach aims to expedite the movement of passengers from the gate to the aircraft, making travel more efficient and convenient for all.
Following the footsteps of other global carriers, Qantas is finally transitioning to a group boarding system for its economy-class travellers. Instead of the traditional method of having all passengers line up together, the new process assigns passengers specific group numbers based on their seat locations within the aircraft. Passengers will only be permitted to board the aircraft once their assigned group number, indicated on their boarding pass, has been called, as reported by Executive Traveller.
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While the group boarding system is set to be applied to economy travellers, Qantas will continue to offer dedicated priority boarding lanes for its premium customers. By implementing the group boarding system, the airline hopes to get passengers to their seats more quickly once they are on board. This change will, the airline believes, significantly contribute to a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience for all economy-class passengers. In an official announcement, the airline said this:
“The new procedures aim to reduce the time customers spend lining up at the gate to board their flight.”Qantas
The trial phase for the new boarding process is set to begin in the coming fortnight on flights departing from Brisbane. During this period, Qantas will carefully monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the group boarding system, gathering feedback from passengers with the aim of further refining the process in the coming months. Following the trial’s success, the airline plans to extend the group boarding system to other major airports in Australia by October this year.
If you’re one of the fortunate passengers selected for the trial, Qantas will reach out to you in advance, inviting you to participate in a survey about your boarding experience. In addition to the new boarding procedure, Qantas is also conducting trials for updated gate infrastructure, clear signage, and well-coordinated announcements, as reported by Escape.
Qantas’ budget offshoot, Jetstar, has also made changes to improve its on-time performance after being outed as Australia’s most-delayed airline earlier this year. Check-in and bag drop for domestic flights now close 40 minutes before departure, 10 minutes earlier than the previous time frame. Boarding gates now close 20 minutes before takeoff, down by 15 minutes.
Despite facing challenges like adverse weather conditions and staffing shortages at major airports, Qantas and QantasLink flights managed to achieve a significantly improved on-time departure rate of 71.4% in June 2023.
As Qantas sets its sights on revolutionizing the boarding process, get ready to bid farewell to long queues and hello to a soaring, stress-free experience… or so we hope. This somewhat jaded travel writer will believe it when he sees it.