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QANTAS: New group boarding procedure starts. ‘Computer says no’

QANTAS: New group boarding procedure starts. ‘Computer says no’

Trialed over the last few months, Qantas is now rolling out its new Group Boarding system across its capital city network starting from 3 June.

Group Boarding will be rolled out to all domestic flights which are operated by Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft starting with Brisbane (from June 3), Perth (from June 10), Melbourne (from June 17) and Sydney (from June 25). No timing on other airports like Adelaide and Hobart yet.

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

Markus Svensson, Qantas Domestic CEO
a close up of a ticket
Where you can see your applicable boarding group on a paper ticket [Qantas]

How Group Boarding works

Qantas customers will be allocated to one of six groups which will be displayed on your boarding pass whether on the paper version or the digital ticket on your phone or device. You’ll know if you will be subject to group boarding by the following:

  • Boarding group will be displayed on your boarding pass
  • Qantas App or text/email will notify you if Group Boarding is applicable for your flight
  • Announcements will be made at the gate for each group to board
  • Boarding pass scanner will only let customers to board once their group has been called

Getting the scanner to refuse you if you board out of turn is a masterstroke! It will literally be a case of ‘Computer says no’.

Screen capture of new Group Boarding screen display at gate [Qantas]

How the groups will work.

There will be six groups for the new Qantas domestic boarding system:

  • Group 1 for Business Class, and Qantas Platinum, Platinum One or Oneworld Emerald and Chairman’s Lounge members
  • Group 2 Qantas Gold and Oneworld Sapphire
  • Group 3 Economy passengers seated in the rear quarter on the aircraft
  • Group 4 Economy passengers in the third quarter on the aircraft
  • Group 5 Economy passengers in the second quarter on the aircraft
  • Group 6 Economy passengers in the first quarter on the aircraft

Some will be disapponted to realise that Silver frequent flyers and Qantas Club members get no priority in this system. The good news is that if you are boarding together with other linked passengers in the booking, then it’s the flyer with the highest status that determines the groups boarding priority.

Why this new system?

On-time departure is still a major issue for Qantas. Getting a plane to depart on-time is subject to a web of factors, everything from crew arrival to airport take-off slots. But one big factor is boarding the aircraft on time. If this Group Boarding procedure increases the efficiency of punters getting on their flight on time, and I’m in one of the first groups, then I’m all for it.

a qr code on a screen
Where you can see your applicable boarding group on the new digital tickets [Qantas]

2PAXfly Takeout

I have a natural revulsion for being herded into groups. However, I am prepared to overlook that if this method gets me on the plane earlier and more efficiently. I have some healthy scepticism about how efficiently this will all work, but given it is well tested by many overseas airlines, I also have a confidence it will work for Qantas.

Expect some teething problems, and a few outraged/entitled customer reactions, but once the paying customers get used to it, then it should all work.

I think getting the ticket scanning machines at the gate to do the rejection is a stroke of genius. It takes away the responsibility away from the cabin crew, who can blame the technology gods.

I have a few flights on Qantas coming up in the next few weeks, so I look forward to seeing how this all works.

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