Qantas rolls out “Australian-first” boarding procedure to reduce queues

Qantas rolls out “Australian-first” boarding procedure to reduce queues

Qantas has started the rollout of its “Australian-first” boarding procedure aimed at reducing queues and improving performance times.

The new system will assign passengers a group number from one to six on their boarding passes, which will determine when the passenger can board.

Qantas’ domestic chief executive Markus Svensson said the new procedure marks the “most comprehensive change” to the airline’s boarding processes in more than a decade. 

“Group boarding is designed to minimise the time our customers spend waiting to board and allows them to get settled more quickly,” Svensson said.

“We know how important on time departure is to our customers, so this process is also about doing everything possible to ensure we depart on time.”

The improved boarding systems were first implemented at Brisbane Airport yesterday (June 3), followed by Perth on June 10, Melbourne on June 17, and Sydney on June 25.

Qantas’ new system assigns passengers a group number from one to six on their boarding passes, which will determine when the passenger can board. As experienced by Travel Weekly last week other airlines, including Fiji Airways, already use the system on their flights, but it uses a alphabetical system instead. The new Qantas system has been widely used in the US and Singapore.

The group boarding procedures apply to all domestic routes departing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, on Boeing 737 and Airbus A330.

Airlines largely use a system that boards passengers from the back to the front, or seating premium cabins and high-ranking frequent flyers first, or front and rear doors.

Qantas’ new system will assign passengers a group number from one to six on their boarding passes, which will determine when the passenger can board.

In 2023 trials, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Qantas tested a number of options including boarding passengers in zones starting with premium cabins or high-status loyalty customers, followed by groups in the middle of the plane, then the far back and the front.

It also trialled using the back door of its planes more regularly – a system already utilised by Jetstar and Virgin Australia.

New airline performance data for April 2024 saw Virgin Australia edge ahead of Qantas as the domestic carrier with the best punctuality, with on-time rate of 82.6 per cent, compared to Qantas’ 79.1 per cent.

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