Aviation

Qantas updates international flight experience with handy new tech, a pop-up transit lounge and Paddle Pops

Qantas has added a few new features to its international travel experience in preparation for its resumption of overseas flights.

The national carrier is pulling out all the stops in the lead up to its big restart on Monday, with some handy new updates to its digital platforms designed to help passengers navigate travel requirements, a new inflight menu and a fancy pop-up lounge for Darwin.

The new tech, which will be rolled out across the airline’s website and app, will guide passengers through the steps they need to take before and after boarding their international flight, based on government requirements at the time of travel.

Once they’ve booked their overseas flight, Qantas will email the passenger and outline the travel requirements they need to follow, including follow-up emails and text messages seven days, four days and one day ahead of departure with customised checklists, reminders and links to relevant information.

The airline also plans to integrate the IATA Travel Pass into its digital platform, enabling passengers to upload their vaccine and testing documents and be cleared to fly before they get to the airport.

Qantas Group chief customer officer Stephanie Tully said Monday will be a very special day for the airline and its team.

“We have redesigned our digital booking experience with world-first technology to help our customers easily navigate the post-COVID-19 world of international travel and guide them through each step, including regular checklists sent via text ahead of their flights,” Tully said.

“Our customers can expect a mix of new initiatives and a return of many favourites, all designed to make them feel right at home again the minute they step into one of our lounges or on board our aircraft.”

Qantas will kick off its resumption on 1 November, reviving flights between Sydney and London (via Darwin) and Sydney and Los Angeles for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families, as per federal government requirements.

Flights between Melbourne and London will follow from 6 November, and between Melbourne and Los Angeles from 18 December.

With Darwin set to temporarily replace Perth as Qantas’ new gateway to London from November, the airline said it will use Darwin International Airport’s Catalina Lounge as a pop-up International Transit lounge.

With room for about 100 guests, the space will utilise existing furniture and fittings alongside the airline’s usual lounge offerings including a signature welcome mocktail, cold towels, a serviced buffet, tailored menus, Australian wines, beers and non-alcoholic drinks, power points and bathroom facilities.

“Given the relatively brief transit time of 90 minutes, our focus will be on offering a comfortable space for customers to stretch their legs, enjoy a brunch or light supper and to refresh before their onward journey,” Tully said.

“Previously, our direct flight between Australia and London had the highest customer satisfaction rating on our entire network, and our plan is to recreate that as we restart.”

Qantas will also roll out a scrumptious new menu across its international flights and lounges, with plant-based options available across all cabins on overseas flights from mid-November.

Stand-out features of the new menu include potato and celeriac gratin with roast fennel, peas, mushrooms and onion sauce and ratatouille pasta bake with herb crumb, cauliflower and green beans.

More importantly, iconic Aussie ice-creams will also be added to the inflight menu including Paddle Pops and Splices, which we are particularly excited to sample.

The new offering will also include a signature cocktail – the Qantas Sky Spritz – developed by SOFI featuring Australian botanicals including Davidson Plum and Finger Lime.



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