It’s a first-world problem but the Qantas domestic priority boarding process is a mess. It is a little thing but has become a major irritant for many passengers. Priority boarding is not that hard to do right. Some airlines, like competitor Virgin Australia, handle the priority boarding process well.
Qantas has signage and priority lanes but has always had a lackadaisical approach to priority boarding. The issue is exacerbated because Qantas has so many passengers eligible for priority boarding – those being business class passengers, Gold frequent flyers and above, and oneword sapphire and above.
Catch a morning commuter flight to Sydney and there will be more priority boarding customers milling around the departure lounge than regular passengers.
For a long time, Qantas has boarded priority boarding and regular passengers simultaneously. Additionally, it rarely enforces who is in the priority boarding lane. In a nutshell, priority boarding on Qantas has been a bit of a waste of time
But as of Monday, 25 November 2019, Qantas plans to get serious about its priority boarding process. The word is the airline is responding to negative customer feedback. They are rebooting the priority boarding process, renaming it, and re-inventing it. Or, as one person has said, doing what they are supposed to be doing.
Priority boarding will be rebadged to premium boarding. There will be a dedicated boarding lane – as there is now. But, boarding staff are going to call boarding for priority passengers before calling regular boarding. Further, staff are going to enforce eligibility to use the red carpet lane.
A Qantas spokesperson has said;
“We’ve reviewed our current process and have taken these steps to ensure we’re delivering on the benefits promised to our most regular travellers and Business passengers, as well as eligible Qantas Frequent Flyer members.
We will work with staff across the domestic network to ensure these benefits are enforced and provide a consistent experience with our international boarding process.”
So yeah, not so much a re-invention as merely doing what other airlines manage to do well enough.
But at least Qantas is prepared to draw a line under the current mess and start again.
The all new premium boarding process will begin on Monday at Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney domestic terminals. By the end of 2020, it will be operating at all Australian domestic airports.
Who can use it? Business-class passengers, gold and platinum frequent flyers, Chairman’s Lounge members, Oneworld sapphire and emerald passengers. Paying Qantas Club members are not eligible to use the lane.
So it’s good news – at least for the passengers eligible to use the process.