TALKING POINT | Any traveller on a domestic Qantas flight can attest that the airline's approach to priority boarding simply does not work. And it's hard to understand why, especially when so many other airlines including its competitor Virgin Australia get priority boarding right.
I've flown as a business class passenger or a top tier frequent flyer with dozens of airlines for whom priority boarding is not rocket science. It's just be a matter of common sense. So here is how Qantas could make priority boarding actually work.
1. Board business class first
Priority boarding is all about giving priority to your most valued customers, and that does not mean letting everyone board at the same time through two different lanes. It should begin with inviting business class passengers to board ahead of anybody else.
2. Board frequent flyers next
Once the line for business class passengers is about done it's time for Platinum One and Platinum frequent flyers seated in economy to be invited to board. They fly often enough to be well organised and quickly put their carry-on bags into the overhead locker and settle into their seat, which makes the overall boarding process faster.
But more importantly, they contribute a lot to Qantas' bottom line and shouldn't have to queue up and struggle to find space in the locker directly above their seat.
Once Platinum One and Platinum frequent flyers are on board, get Golds up to the head of the queue.
3. Board everyone else last
With your most frequent flyers on the plane and probably already in their seat, it's time to open the floodgates to the rest of the economy class passengers.
4. Keep the priority boarding lane open
Not all priority passengers will be patiently waiting at the departure gate when the flight is called. Many business class passengers and frequent flyers could still be in the lounge and will not actually leave until the PA announcement that boarding has begun, so they need to be able to take precedence over everyone else at any time during the boarding process. That includes the super-efficient and just plain late passengers who turn up minutes before boarding closes.
That's all there is to it. Four simple steps which will make Qantas priority boarding quick and organised and hassle-free, and that's exactly what it is supposed to be.