Qantas trials preferred seating for passengers wanting a speedy exit

By David Flynn, July 10 2019

Qantas will roll out preferred seating on domestic and international flights, setting aside a row of economy class seats near the front of the cabin for passengers who want to be among the first to step off their flight and be on their way.

This will, of course, come at a cost: charges will begin at a lowly $5 for short domestic hops such as Sydney-Melbourne and Sydney-Brisbane, $15 for east-west flights, $20 for trans-Tasman services to New Zealand, and $45 for longer international flights.

Qantas will trial preferred seating across the second half of this year, joining other airlines such as Emirates, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines which operate similar schemes.

However, the airline says that top-tier frequent flyers who can currently pre-select the front rows of economy won't find themselves booted out of those seats.

For example, on a Qantas Boeing 737 preferred seating will be found in row 9, while rows 4 though 8 remain earmarked for frequent flyers depending on their status. And yes, row 9 is the row without a window.

Row 4 remains the prized pick for Chairman's Lounge and Platinum One members due to its extra legroom.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 288

I really can't see this working well. Especially using row 9.

Also from the side of the passenger, I wouldn't be happy paying for a priority de-boarding service, then having 8 rows of other passengers in front of me.

s4172249

s4172249

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Feb 2018

Total posts 7

So Qantas want to charge people $45 to sit towards the front of the economy cabin in a long haul international flight but they'll still be a few rows behind premium frequent flyers anyway? Who would pay for that?

SimonHookham

SimonHookham

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 May 2017

Total posts 2

Woot row 9 not! No really priority and no window either.

TheBigM

TheBigM

07 Mar 2017

Total posts 32

"passengers who want to be among the first to step off their flight "


Interesting definition, where "among the first" means having 42 other people ahead of you, and you're 43rd...

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 507

43rd is still in the first quarter if we are talking about a full 737.

Dredgy

Dredgy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 115

Who doesn't love paying a premium for one the worst seats.

gtoh69

gtoh69

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Nov 2018

Total posts 1

Who wants to pay to be first to step off the plane and then wait at the baggage carousel for up to 45 minutes (Sydney International airport) with everyone anyways?

Johns

Johns

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2017

Total posts 17

Obviously not people who have checked in a bag. This is clearly aimed at HLO passengers.

dm12

dm12

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 38

Why different prices for different lengths? You can only get off once!

Guvner

Guvner

12 Sep 2014

Total posts 28

My first thought exactly! If the only benefit is disembarking "among the first" why would a long haul flight cost more?? Makes zero sense.

sanj747

sanj747

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Nov 2016

Total posts 86

Does not make sense for paying extra for really no benefit. Can't see the uptake in this.

hakkinen5

hakkinen5

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2014

Total posts 95

Imagine when they pay for row 9 thinking it's a great seat, then discover it has no window. Also, as stated above, it's almost one-third of the way down the aircraft.

Grum217

Grum217

31 Jan 2017

Total posts 9

Why pay extra to be cramped up towards the front when you can sit down the back with the usual empty seats to spread out in more comfort.

Ryan K

Ryan K

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 297

What a joke! Row 9 is nearly a third of the way down a 737 cabin and it's also lacking a window to the disappointment of many.

grov

grov

QFF

19 Sep 2013

Total posts 150

Other overseas airlines appear to have preferred seating from the first row - often only the first two rows are preferred. Starting from Row 9 is plain crazy.

Jason526

Jason526

16 Nov 2018

Total posts 9

Now you know how much your Platinum status is worth, no more than $45 per flight. Top tier flyers should give way to paying customers on seating. Same rule here, paying first class passenger gets higher priority than rewarded first ticket.

MitchSydney11

MitchSydney11

29 Mar 2019

Total posts 11

You seem to forgotten all the other benefits of Platinum and why would you assume that a top tier flyer is not paying?? That's bizarre. And reward seats have value or are you also not aware of that? it's why the FF groups of each airline are valued - Qantas FF makes as much money as does the whole domestic fleet .... it sounds like you are just trying to diss tiered flyers

SYDINI

SYDINI

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 69

If they want to do something like this they should go the way of other carriers and charge on fare type, ie sale fare pays $X for a window or aisle seat, saver fares pays $Y, flex fares has $0, etc. They can easily unblock seats based on FF membership anyway. It’s nothing new really and if other airlines can do it and give people the chance to pick and choose any available seat, then why can’t QF?

JetVortex727

JetVortex727

06 Mar 2019

Total posts 2

Ah ha! found that today when booking flights to Hong Kong.

cqtiger

cqtiger

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 May 2018

Total posts 11

Just run when you get off the plane I am sure you’ll overtake everyone in front of you

blaz

blaz

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

03 Jul 2018

Total posts 28

This is a bean-counter's idea. It may bring in extra revenue, but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Rxm

Rxm

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2017

Total posts 12

Some potential issues.

1. Pushy passengers behind you that don’t respect the deboarding pecking order.

2. You pay for a priority window seat but the person in the middle or isle seat is not in the same rush you are. They’re happy to be last off.

When you start asking people to pay for something you start creating certain expectations which then have to be managed to avoid conflict.

If qantas want to make some extra money offer people to pay to block a seat next to them when choosing their seats I’d load factor allows.

mik_64

mik_64

22 Dec 2017

Total posts 3

So row 9 on a 737 with a short hop to MEL =$5 x 6 = $30

I suppose the burden of having to fund the overhead of executive bonuses is the mother of these pissant ideas

QFP1

QFP1

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 52

Where do you get $30 from? SYD-MEL preferred seating is $5 each way.

Grannular

Grannular

31 Mar 2014

Total posts 288

6 seats in the row. $5x6=$30

AT

AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 254

Honestly and truly, what is so important that you can’t just....oh you know....wait for a bit.

patrickk

patrickk

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 395

This is for people like me with usually only Carry-on baggage who would prefer to be at the front of the immigration queue at Dallas or LA. Now I am platinum so the idea doesn’t affect me but otherwise it might be attractive depending if it was aisle and the connection was tight-ish such as 90mins. As usual it won’t suit everyone but it will suit some, especially those who hate queues.

MitchW

MitchW

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

13 Feb 2016

Total posts 8

Passengers de-boarding always fascinate me, especially in Asia. As soon as that seatbelt sign goes off (if not before), they're up in the aisle, bag out of the overhead, standing there (for ages usually) chomping at the bit ready to push on out. Later on you see them at the carousel waiting for their bags just like me.

Mjkcan

Mjkcan

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 31

It’s champing at the bit. Fun fact. 🐎

MitchW

MitchW

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

13 Feb 2016

Total posts 8

Yes it is. Should've checked the post after spell checker changed it to chomping haha. One of my late Dad's favourite quotes.

pilotdude09

pilotdude09

01 Jul 2011

Total posts 10

Row 9? lol on the 737's it doesn't even have a window!

cavemanzk

cavemanzk

NZ

13 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

If so they really want to make an go off it on the 738s they should be doing something more like NZ with the frequent flyer seats on the ABC side, then preferred on the DEF side at the front.

Matt_01

Matt_01

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Feb 2016

Total posts 44

So paying to get off early from 737 row 9, tell him he’s dreaming. Being one of those types who can select R4 at anytime the chance of a R9 PAX getting off before us is unlikely.

skiman72

skiman72

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Sep 2018

Total posts 1

Qantas could get priority baggage and priority boarding right first?? Something VA do very well!

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 65

Agreed. My priority bags have arrived last for every flight in MEL over the last year. I may as well wait for the entire plane to deplane before getting up out of my seat.

When in Y on 737-8; If I can’t have row 4 then I’ll take a seat down the very back: it’s usually more likely to have an empty seat next to you.

AWA2602

AWA2602

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

This will be a handy little opportunity to upsell something of no real value to the inexperienced and naive occasional flyers who wont have a clue that they're paying to get nothing of value.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 507

Yet frequent flyers seem to think those forward seats have value hence why Qantas blocks them out for them. Hmmmm

Rotten

Rotten

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jul 2018

Total posts 3

Seriously? ... This is a thing? I always opt for an exit seat or even a bulkhead where I can access extra legroom when travelling Y but if business people NEED to save any of the 10 minutes it takes to empty your average domestic flight then I feel they need to have a long hard look at their time management plans.

JayHi

JayHi

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 3

This site should be called Australian Business Whiners. It’s like a race to see who can crap on any innovation first. This is a pretty standard option on many airlines. If you are a status flyer, it doesn’t effect you and if you are an infrequent flyer that’s happy to be in the back half of the plane, you don’t have to buy it. Not sure why so many of you seem offended by the option....

Mjkcan

Mjkcan

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 31

We’re whinging because it’s a cheap buck and is basically a lie to the naive. You’re paying money to “disembark first” when in fact you’re in the 9th, windowless row. Time savings will be negligible and potentially non-existent - and I agree with others - if you think your time, not measured in hours but quite possibly in seconds, is so much more valuable than everyone else’s but somehow only worth five dollars, you need to take a long hard look at your time management skills / life.

I work in a trauma centre - where seconds and minutes can actually matter - and all of this just seems selfish, pointless and sneaky.


We’ve demonstrated that none of us would ever pay for that. It’s quite literally designed to trick people who don’t know what they’re buying and frankly that leaves a very sour taste in my, and clearly others, mouth (mouths?).

JayHi

JayHi

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Feb 2016

Total posts 3

Your point is still redundant and your job is irrelevant. The choice not to buy this option is firmly in your scope of influence, as it is for those who see value and wish to buy it. To your final point, people have the right to assign whatever personal value they choose to their time.

Marksgreen

Marksgreen

07 Jul 2019

Total posts 2

I like the Virgin eco X system. You pay a bit more, sit at the front, have better legroom and more overhead locker space. I wish Qantas would do a similar thing. Then that would be worth a few extra $$

Concorde1990

Concorde1990

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 65

Did anyone notice that this is a trial? Surely the uptake will be very low (except by the very stupid) and it’ll just quietly disappear...

Jade D

Jade D

Etihad - Etihad Guest

11 Jul 2019

Total posts 1

So I pay my money and end up in row 9-11 somewhere, then arrive in Adelaide and find that, because QF sometimes disembarks from the rear in Adelaide, I am - in fact - one of the last people to get off the aircraft?

PLEASEupgrademe

PLEASEupgrademe

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

WHY ARE CHANGES ALWAYS CHARGES? (YES YOU QF)

As a newly minted Gold FF, and considering many if not most of my flights have been on 737's, I was looking forward to seeing if, on my next booking I can select my seat closer to the exit at booking. As a Silver member whilst booking 737 flights, rows 14 and below weren't even on the screen to be selected. Although my habit was to look for a seat closer to the front at or after check-in which was almost always successful. On one or two occasions I found myself in row 4 (which imo definitely does offer extra legroom, but not as much as an extra legroom seat.) It also makes no sense that QF intend on increasing the price of a hastier exit according to sector length, which makes little sense. (The only thing I can think of is that people are more eager to disembark after a long haul flight on a larger aircraft.)


The MAJOR problem I have with this is the following:

Qantas has just announced fairly significant changes to their frequent flyer program, which sees Qantas points increase in value by between 7%-10% on International economy reward flights. I have searched for both domestic and international flights and can only see that International flights are cheaper to redeem. The decrease in cash payments that always follow a reward booking have decreased.

That is about the only positive for the consumer in the FF shakeup as Qantas Points become inflated by approximately 15% if booking Premium Economy, Business and First Reward Flights.

Whilst these elements of the change have been immediately evident, it remains to be seen whether or not Qantas will keep up their end of the bargain by adding 5 million more reward seats per year AND actually availing "up to" the 30% more Premium Economy, Business "and even First" reward seats. It will be a massive test for the Qantas faithful as Qantas are known to overpromise and under deliver in almost all aspects of their businesses.

The last audit I saw of the Qantas Frequent Flyer Programme, this side of the business was worth an estimated $2 Billion Dollars.

When I was made aware of the changes I thought that it is all good and well to change things around, BUT the service you get with Qantas MUST improve. I'm talking about all aspects; Interaction by phone to their call centres, standards of their lounges, standards of their staff in the lounges, at the check-in counter, the quality of in-flight catering, in-flight service AND consistency of product/seat/personal space across all their fleet*.

* Consistency of product/seat/personal space across all fleet is most important especially on longer-haul flights.

These ludicrous changes (remove the n and replace it with an r and it spells out what these latest operational change really are... CHARGES.

Again this will only be appreciated IF their service improves, quite drastically at that.

With another tasty profit forecast, these changes come across as very greedy. I just hope that there will one day be a critical mass exodus and (I know I'm dreaming) my dying wish for the deregulation of the 5th freedom of the air to be extended to airlines like SQ and Thai, so that they could operate SIN/BKK-SYD/MEL/BNE-LAX if these 5 million reward bookings with 30% more availability in premium cabins AND increasing demands for better, more consistent service from Qantas aren't met.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 507

Firstly as qantas gold you will be able to select a more forward seat without cost.

You the go on attack of Qantas over lounge quality and product consistency and then hoped for SQ and TG to be able to fly Aus domestic. What I find rather ironic is those two airlines have rather poor lounges, even the most run down Qantas lounges (except maybe Auckland if the pics I saw the other day are what it is really like) runs rings around the SQ sin lounges and TG BKK lounges. And their seating and product is just as variable as Qantas. SQ long haul, short haul, old new. And Thai just look what they fly to Sydney.

PLEASEupgrademe

PLEASEupgrademe

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

Your message is fair (Although the thumbs down not.) But hey life isn't about fair. I have never travelled SQ or TG, so my bad. But the whole point was missed. If this was allowed to happen, more competition would ensue and thus forcing Qantas (One would think) to up their game. As there would be at least 6 airlines vying for business on Aus - US routes. This would result in the airlines to attempt to outdo each other in terms of the many aspects of service that I outlined in my previous post.

PLEASEupgrademe

PLEASEupgrademe

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

Have just checked 2 domestic routes ex MEL on a 737 (PER and SYD) Looking at the available seats, rows 8 and forward are all blocked, which leaves the first available row on a 737 at row 9, the very row they want to charge extra for. The PER-MEL flight i checked isn't until June next year.

So, would QF charge me under this new proposal for selecting row 9? Would they prioritise making a few bucks off a Silver, Bronze or non QFF over A Gold FF who pays them more $$$ each year?

Seems Absurd, Greedy and Poorly thought out.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 507

I think if I missed the point it was because it was hidden in a very large negative post. Though reading again I don’t think I have.

Oh and flights to America there are already 7 airlines that fly direct.


Qantas

Virgin Aus

Jetstar

American

United

Delta &

Hawaiian


Plus three that provide viable one stoppers


NZ

Canadian &

Fiji


So how much more competition do you want? And why do you think it is viable for SQ or TG to fly to the US via Australia route. Sure SQ wanted it years ago when there was far less competition and they had an interest in buying Virgin Aus but now???


Though the answer to that is getting away from the topic of this thread.


PLEASEupgrademe

PLEASEupgrademe

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Nov 2017

Total posts 12

I agree with you. You obviously do a heck load more Intl travel than I do and evidently, you have tons more experiences regarding non OW airlines. Over the last year I have earned 700 SC's so far; 175 from flying economy domestic and 475 from a return PE trip to London, a return J trip to AKL, 2 economy BA flights into and out of Germany plus the 50 SC Bonus. The critical side of me comes from my days as an Aviation Consultant, my job was to be critical. This side of me probably also extends way back to my university days when I spent 4 years learning about all aspects of aviation. I probably haven't shaken this off. Adding to this, I only travel to the USA every 2 years. However, there isn't anything wrong with a negative post. Qantas needs to be accountable for their typical patterns of overpromising and under-delivering. Accountable to whom you ask? Any QFF that flies QF/OW and is more on the critical side of QF than not. Qantas is a great business and airlines are businesses with razor-thin margins, we all know that. If my post came off as negative and irrelevant, It is definitely because of two things. One is my lack of Intl flying over long periods of time and the other would be my overall disappointment with QF, particularly on my J trip to AKL where I was travelling on the only one of 28 QF A330s that had not been refurbished. The whole Cabin was unhappy on both legs. So why do I fly them you would probably ask? I can only put it down to brand bias. The highest Status I have ever had is Gold, and I really only have experience with OW airlines. If my negative view of the services, product and value for money that QF provides slips, I will choose to fly with another carrier/Alliance. Simple. Lastly, over the last year or so I have seen so many critical posts of bad experiences in the QF and JQ section of the ausbt community, so it is not just me who is critical. I have gone way off-topic and do not wish to change the discussion. End Of.

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