Major changes to the Qantas boarding process start today – here’s what passengers need to know

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Major changes to the Qantas boarding process start today - here's what passengers need to know



Qantas hopes to make boarding planes faster and more efficient by ditching the existing method of boarding passengers on flights.

The national carrier uses a class-based system of allowing premium cabins and high-status frequent flyers to board first, followed by everyone else.

Starting later this week, the airline will trial a new boarding system aimed at reducing queues and getting passengers to their seats faster.

The new system aims to reduce the time customers wait in line at the gate to board their flight, as well as get customers to their seats faster once they board.

This is commonly known as boarding by zone and most other airlines use marking boarding cards to avoid confusion.

Qantas (pictured with flight attendants) is hoping to make boarding planes faster and more efficient by scrapping existing methods of boarding passengers.

The trials will see customers include group numbers on boarding passes based on where they sit on the plane, Qantas said in a statement on Friday.

Premium Qantas customers will have a dedicated priority boarding lane despite the trial.

Boarding options include using the rear door for passengers in the middle of the plane first, followed by those seated in the front, and then the rear door.

Trials will begin in Brisbane and other major airports in October over the next two weeks.

The airline has also pledged to redesign its departure areas with more signage to improve communication with passengers to ensure the updated boarding process flows as smoothly as possible.

Qantas Chief Operating Officer Colin Hughes said the airline has been the most on-time major domestic airline for the past 10 months and will continue to ensure its passengers reach their destinations safely and on time.

‘We know cancellations and delays are frustrating, and there will always be things that are out of our control such as windy days and runway restrictions,’ Mr Hughes said.

But these results show that we are back to our best and we want to get better.

‘We are introducing a number of initiatives including new processes to make boarding smoother and faster for everyone.’

Qantas’ current process involves two lanes for passengers to board the plane – one for business class and frequent flyers and the other for everyone else.

Escape’s digital editor Rowena Ryan told Sunrise on Monday that she welcomed the change as the current system ‘runs at a bit of a snail’s pace’.

‘We all know that when you go to the boarding gate and before the gate even opens, there are already people waiting to board,’ said Ms Ryan.

‘So I feel this is going to change that system a little bit.’

Qantas Economy passengers (pictured) will still board last despite boarding changes the airline is bringing in

As with everything about airlines, Qantas’ turnaround comes down to a desire to make more money for its shareholders.

“We will be able to serve our customers better, reduce our cost base through lower running costs and create some new competitive advantages,” said outgoing CEO Alan Joyce.

Whether its zonal boarding plan saves time – and thus money – remains to be seen, but it will bring Flying Kangaroo in line with nearly every other international carrier.

Airlines also use two other methods – one is random boarding, only used by budget airlines such as Southwest in the US where no seats are assigned and is first come, first served.

The other is known as Wilma, or ‘Window, Middle, Aisle’, where those with window seats get on the plane first, then the middle seat, then the aisle.

Tests show that random boarding is the fastest method, WILMA is slightly slower and zoning by group is the slowest.

But passengers don’t like random boarding or Wilma, the TV show Mythbusters found – meaning group zoning from back to front is a smart choice on Qantas.

Alan Joyce (pictured) is leaving Qantas in November after 15 years as chief executive

The airline is promising to make lost baggage a thing of the past by adding tracking to a major overhaul of its app, which is expected to be available by the end of the year.

Mr Joyce said the new technology was a key element in plans to deliver better services, after announcing record profits of around $2.5 billion due to higher fares and growing demand.

Qantas has struggled with lost bags over the past year, along with cancellations, delays and staff shortages as people start flying again after Covid.

Last July, a worker at an outsourcing company used to replace workers laid off during the pandemic claimed Qantas was losing ‘one in 10’ luggage bags – although the company disputed this figure.

“Over the past four weeks the mishandled baggage rate across the Qantas network has been around one per cent and our teams are working hard to bring this number down further,” an airline spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia at the time.

The lost luggage situation reached a fever pitch last September when a lone bag was pictured abandoned on the tarmac at Sydney Airport.

The lost luggage situation reached comical proportions when a lone bag was pictured abandoned on the tarmac at Sydney Airport.

Mr Joyce is leaving Qantas in November after 15 years in the top job, and it appears he has a surprise first trip planned after his last day.

She is not visiting her native Ireland, although she likes to return there at least once a year, nor is she going to husband Shane Lloyd’s birthplace of New Zealand.

Instead the couple plans to take a cruise around Antarctica, which could cost around $30,000.

‘The temptation is to fill in the diary,’ Mr Joyce, who turns 57 later this month, said.

Instead, he’s taking a break with cash in his pocket after selling $17 million worth of Qantas shares.

The Australian Financial Review reported that he had held the shares since 2012, when he bought them for $1.50 each.

They reportedly sold at $6.74 per share last week, giving him a profit of about $14.8 million.

‘I’ll take six months off, decompress, make no decisions, believe it or not go on a trip around the Antarctic, get away from any airplanes and then make up my mind about what I want to do.’

He can still make a substantial profit after selling the Sydney harborside mansion he bought for $19 million just 13 months ago.

The six-bedroom property at Mosman Bay on Sydney’s North Shore is now surplus to requirements as she and Mr Lloyd are said to be buying a second half-floor penthouse on the same floor as their existing apartment in the city.

They plan to renovate and expand the penthouses with stunning views of the Opera House and Sydney skyline into a six-bedroom, all-suite, full-floor apartment to better host family members visiting from overseas.

Outgoing CEO Alan Joyce prepares to sell his $19 million Sydney harborside mansion in Mosman Bay (pictured)

Mr Joyce came under fire for splurging on a $19million Mosman Bay mansion at a time when Qantas announced losses of almost $2bn, as the beleaguered airline battled legal cases from canceled flights, poor customer service and laid-off workers.

He was stung by the criticism and launched into an impassioned defense of his record as Australia’s flag-bearer.

‘Why is what I do in my personal life relevant? I am not a public figure. People think of the CEO of Qantas as a politician and it certainly shouldn’t be. It’s a business persona,’ he told The Australian at the time.

‘How much I get paid has been well reported over the years, so I have money because Qantas went to record profits and had record share prices.’



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