Qantas' new Next-Generation Check-in pack is out and we've got a first look at the whole kit, cards and bag tags that'll be landing in the letterboxes of Qantas Platinum members from this week (we're told that Golds and Silvers may have to wait a little longer).
It's a little black package wrapped in a silver paper ribbon emblazoned 'Introducing a new way to fly'.
Inside is a welcome note from Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, a guide to the Next-Generation Check-in system (which makes its debut at Sydney domestic airport in two weeks' time, along with Qantas' new domestic business-class service) and of course the new Qantas Card and 'Q Bag tags'.
The former replaces the Qantas Frequent Flyer Card and drops the 'Frequent Flyer' moniker from the front: now it's just branded 'Qantas', although the airline prefers to call it the Q Card. The card contains a microchip to check in at the self-service kiosks, store your current booking details and double as a digital boarding pass instead of ye olde paper.
The Q Bag Tag, designed by Marc Newson, contains a chip paired to the card via RFID (radio frequency identification) which automatically links your luggage with your flight details when you use the automated bag drop facilities located in each Next-Generation Check-in facility.
This is currently limited to Sydney and Perth domestic terminals, but Melbourne will come online in early 2011 with Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide by mid-year.
Our first impressions?
The Platinum card actually looks, well, more platinum compared to the champagne gold hues of its predecessor. It's punctuated by the smartchip embedded in the top-right corner, and the stylised Qantas kangaroo leaping across the middle is a nice touch. We like it.
But the bag tag? Sorry, it's a little round chunk of 'meh'. Very functional but also very grey and very plastic. (Some might be tempted to say, very Marc Newson, although at least it shares a visual consistency with his other work for Qantas on the Skybed and its A380 fitout).
But don't just take our word for it: scoot over to our photo gallery for a closer look at the kit, the card and the tags and form your own opinion!