Qantas continues trial of ‘group boarding’

Qantas wants passengers to board domestic flights by groups: here’s what you need to know.

By David Flynn, April 16 2024
Qantas continues trial of ‘group boarding’

Qantas will shift its ongoing trial of group boarding to Perth this month as the airline continues to fine-tune the model ahead of an Australia-wide rollout.

And it’s been a long journey: Qantas first flagged the adoption of US and European-style boarding by groups almost 12 months ago, in May 2023, with trials starting in Brisbane and the aim of Australia-wide adoption by the end of that year.

At the time, Qantas said it would assess how the system worked in practice at Brisbane, and what other measures might help streamline the boarding process, before it was introduced at other airports.

But this is still clearly a work in progress, and selected domestic flights from Perth are now being used to test the latest iteration of group boarding.

“The trial will take place on selected domestic flights from Perth and involve allocating passengers into boarding groups,” the airline advises.

“Each group will be called one by one to a designated lane to reduce congestion and provide a smoother boarding experience.”

Passengers on these specific flights will receive a “pre-departure SMS” to inform them of the trial, and will also be notified prior to boarding at the gate, which will sport special group boarding signage.

Their printed or digital boarding pass will contain a Group heading with a number below, to indicate which group they are in.  

According to Qantas, passengers who are part of the trial will need to:

1. Identify which boarding group they are in, based on their boarding pass

2. Seat themselves at the gate ahead of boarding time and listen for their group to be called

3. When their boarding group is announced, proceed to the designated lane clearly marked for their boarding group

Qantas expects group boarding to help more flights get away on time and reduce those interminable queues and logjams at the boarding gate, on the walkway to the plane and in the aisles.

Qantas group boarding explained

Under Qantas’ current and oft-criticised boarding process for domestic flights, there are just two lines – a priority boarding line for business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers, and a second line for everybody else.

The group boarding system proposed in 2023 saw Qantas’ domestic Boeing 737 jets divided into five zones and passengers assigned to one of six boarding groups:

  • Priority Boarding for business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers holding Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Oneworld Emerald status (along with invitation-only Chairman’s Lounge members, of course)
  • Group 1 for Qantas Gold and Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers
  • Groups 2A and 2B for passengers sitting in the back half of the economy cabin
  • Groups 3A and 3B for passengers sitting in the front half of the economy cabin
Qantas will divide its Boeing 737 workhorses into five boarding zones.
Qantas will divide its Boeing 737 workhorses into five boarding zones.

On flights where the rear doors are used for boarding, that was to be the pathway for those in Group 2A and 2B, while travellers seating in Group 3A and 3B would board from the front. If the rear door isn’t used, boarding will take place from the back to the front.

It’s far from innovative – most North American and many European airlines already pre-sort passengers into groups based on their frequent flyer status or where they are seated – but as most international travellers can attest, the system works well when it’s properly managed and policed at the gate.

First up, Qantas Priority Boarding

As you’d expect, passengers eligible for Priority Boarding will invited to board the plane first, but can of course walk up at any time (as many prefer to stay a little longer in the lounge before heading to the departure gate).

Gold-grade frequent flyers are no longer counted in the Priority Boarding group, although they will still board ahead of almost everyone else in economy.

This will certainly thin out the early boarding ranks and will be especially useful on the east coast ‘triangle’, where it often seems like there are more people in the frequent flyer-laden premium boarding line than low-status and no-status passengers.

After the first batch of Priority Boarding passengers, travellers seated in the ‘front middle’ and ‘back middle’ zones – respectively, groups 2A and 3A – will be called first.

Once they’ve settled in, passengers in the very front and very back – groups 2B and 3B – will be called up.

At the Qantas departure gate

As a result of the more structured front-and-back boarding, the domestic departure gates will effectively see passengers divided into three groups: Priority Boarding, Group 2 and Group 3.

Ahead of the 2023 trials Qantas said it would reorganise the seating and layout of its departure gates to support this grouping, reduce congestion at the gate and minimise how long passengers spend standing in a line that slowly shuffles forward, while adding digital signage at the gates to help direct passengers to the appropriate group.

Lmc
Lmc

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 105

Let’s hope that this will fix the shambles that is the current boarding process. 

The gate agents need to be educated on the priority list and actually enforce it. 

No point having priority boarding when they let the masses in at the same time!

QF

03 Jul 2015

Total posts 21

Yes, we can't mix with the rif raf!  LOL

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 28

Correct many OS airlines deny priority boarding to those trying to jib the system. Sadly here there is only one or two staff to actively enforce it.

09 Feb 2021

Total posts 12

The existing two groups works fine as long as it's properly implemented and enforced.  The key is to let on all the priority queue, and only after that start to process the regular queue.  At the moment, they seem to do both queues simultaneously rendering the whole process pointless.

If Qantas management want to know how to do it properly, they could just stroll over to the Virgin terminal, as VA are usually pretty good in this area.

JD1
JD1

03 Aug 2020

Total posts 17

Seems Qantas management haven’t worked out that in order for “premium” boarding to work it requires staff to manage it. People simply don’t listen or adhere to the announcements and with often only one person checking boarding passes on a 737 it’s never really going to work. Do managers at Qantas not know this?

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1204

Qantas domestic boarding is a shambles.  Premium boarding is often no quicker than regular boarding and cabin luggage restrictions aren't enforced.  VA and JQ manage it all far better particularly as they are also more likely to be boarding through rear doors as well which QF only does sporadically.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 966

 Reading the headline, I thought I was going to read that they were going to add Military and Veterans boarding to the sequence as well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Apr 2016

Total posts 12

Define veteran.

I did 17 Years in the RAAF but never left Australia.

I don't carry any proof that I am ex Service, and I don't consider myself in the same league as someone who actually faced enemy activity.

There are stacks of ex servicemen like me who never spent a minute outside Australia.

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 966

Service is Service

29 Mar 2017

Total posts 35

If you were awesome enough to be prepared to go fight the fight, then you are a veteran, regardless of whether you were actually deployed or not. Thanks for your contribution!

07 May 2015

Total posts 41

Is boarding by groups or zones a good idea? Absolutely, especially boarding those middle and then front & back economy cabins in order. But the key to making this work is organisation and enforcement. The gate and seating and queuing order have to be well organised so everyone know where they should be, and then Qantas needs to vigorously enforce the actual boarding process. This is going to require more Qantas staff at the gates and they are also going to have to be tougher on checking every boarding pass and turning away people who are not in the right group.

Also I think when they open boarding with the priority lane it should first be for business class, CL and P1s, then Platinums, then Golds, in that order. No reason this can't be done and enforced, and it gets everyone at the gate used to the idea that they will be boarded in groups.

22 Jan 2019

Total posts 13

The idea of the priority lane being ordered has merit, especially at a port like CBR on the early AM or later afternoon flights where the majority of passengers could be entitled to premium boarding. The idea of waiting in the Qantas Club until the rush of other passengers boarding subsides doesn't always hold true as the crush can be when the masses quoff down the remaining pinot of coffee rush to the gate to find the priority lane twice as long as the general lane.

Etihad - Etihad Guest

21 Jul 2019

Total posts 168

Fellow QF regulars will be familiar with the current 'two group' system of boarding: premiums first (or whenever they please), and everybody else second. It's neat and simple, and workable. But hardly enforced.  We see the resulting boarding shambles every day, at every port. Now QF wants to implement a more complicated system with not two, not three, but five(!) groups...good luck! I'm reminded of that proverbial baby who wants to sprint like Usain Bolt but can't even cope with crawling yet.

07 May 2015

Total posts 41

I think we can all agree that enforcement is the key here, whether it's two lanes or five groups. But I think five groups will be easier to manage and enforce because they are smaller groups and will be boarding in smaller batches and everyone will need to show a boarding pass with the appropriate group or zone on it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 35

Yes agree with most of these comments, it's going to be a tall order for the Cabin Crew to enforce this as they seem to be the ones that come up to the gate now to assist with the boarding - it's part of their job.

Any friction at the gate will then filter down onto the aircraft which will be very uncomfortable for the cabin crew once those passengers are onboard.

The solution will be to have more gate staff - are Qantas really going to employ (pay) more people to do this ....?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Apr 2016

Total posts 12

No.

I would like to know how many people Qantas actually employs, as opposed to how many people wear a Qantas uniform but are employed by labour hire companies.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 671

Anything is better than the Qantas boarding zoo.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 135

Qantas do need to sort out their premium boarding, but Virgin does it just fine without groups for everybody else. Just needs a bit of enforcement.

I really do dislike travelling in the US where you have like 5 different types of priority groups (Veterans, Credit Card Holders, People who gate checked their bag, people travelling with emotional support turkeys….) before you even get to group 1. It just feels over the top.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 100

What a stupid crazy idea. This idea in North America and Europe is confusing, especially for foreign travellers. Ok ok say we may get used to it and foreign travellers maybe in the minimum.. etc... But seriously if they can't organise to keep the relatively simple system working now how on earth are they going to organize something more complicated. From all my experience overseas, I've always thought it was messy. Everyone crowds around the gate waiting to run for it when their group is called and you need to negotiate this crowd of no lines if you're in an earlier group. And then you struggle to either hear or understand what is being called by gate staff. Sorry I'm not buying it....

30 May 2023

Total posts 1

Hi

All this seems good....I wonder who is going to enforce it ?

Next who is going to police the overhead locker spaces......last in usually has no alotted space left.

Hope it works so the flight leaves on time.....after all this is QANTAS.

12 Dec 2016

Total posts 10

Agreed, I can feel the last group to board getting twitchy about overhead locker capacity.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 413

thats  a solid point and crew need to stop people filling overhead bin space nowhere near their seat and that needs to be part of this exercise.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 320

What a waste of time, it will never be enforced, until they have extra staff at the gate to screen people before they get to the scanners passengers will just walk on whenever they want, like they do now. 

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 568

Pre COVID-19, when QF runs largely on time, the boarding time is 25 min before departure for domestic, while VA is 30 mins despite the fact VA are more likely to use both front and back door for boarding. The few times I end up flying VA, it always seems that quite a few are still boarding up to the flight time (hence I don’t think they ever left on time although often the VA seemed to make up time delay during the flight time, arriving not so late at the destination); I often attributed it to the excursion fare pax who fly irregularly, higher numbers in the VA crowd on certain non peak routes, although they would most likely be JQ target clientele. 

Not sure nowadays how often VA planes are boarding and disembarking by both front and rear doors, clearly this zone boarding doesn’t work so well if they do, but those planes which allows boarding by airbridge in the front door probably the main reason for zone boarding, but it would argue it just takes a few inexperienced travellers with little  etiquette and lacking mindfulness to hold up the aisles, be it QF or VA or even JQ flights, so really zone boarding only works to a certain point, as long as the gate crew police the boarding queue properly 

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 6

Nice change.

 

For gate agents, the group system (or zone system) will be much easier for them to check and enforce. The only thing they need to check will be the group number (or zone number). Anyone who can understand the number 1 to 5 (or zone A to B) can enforce it.  

 

Current 2 group system (priority and non-priority), the gate agents have to check the cabin class, then QFF status, then one world status, then any other partner airline status (eg QF/EK). It is not easy for someone without solid experience and extensive training.

 

Few years ago, I flew with LATAM when they were still under one world alliance. I was in the priority lane, and the passenger before me was in economy class but with platinum status. The gate agent got confused for a second, and nearly told that passenger to move the general boarding lane.

 

For passengers, it will be much easier for them to understand and comply as well. They only need to look at the group number (or zone number) rather than figuring out which cabin class or which frequent flyer tier is eligible for priority boarding.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 100

Or here's a simpler solution. Just stick with the current system AND use 1 or 2 as the group number! Easy.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 26

I live in Europe and it does work when used here. That said, there are always some who don't understand due to language or lack of awareness but it's usually the minority. Nothing more embarrassing than being turned away because your group hasn't been called yet. 

As others have already said, it needs a clear explanation over the PA before boarding begins and then staff to enforce it. Does QF still use cabin crew to process boarding as well? 

No!  No!  No!!  We've just moved to the US from Australia and boarding here is HORRIBLE!  It takes soooo long and as mentioned by someone above, there are about 17 categories which is totally ridiculous.  In Australia and NZ it's simple.  Qantas don't need categories.  They could board the plane by row numbers as happens on some international flights.  Imagine that!  Starting at the back and premium/priority board when they want, families with small children etc.

We have found the whole air travel experience in the US (not even on budget airlines) so far to be terrible and the boarding process is just the start.  It makes me not want to fly here if I can avoid it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 17

It works at some gates in the UK and EU where there are separate (but shorter) lanes for each group. So people can line up if they want, but boarding is still done by group. 

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 40

no just no.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

Key line and where it soooo often falls apart: the system works well when it’s properly managed and policed at the gate.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 163

Management is they key, as it is now, but with 160 people waiting for a gate agent it is often just easier to let one or two through, which becomes 30...

Anyone with restricted mobility that can't (or won't) use the stairs have to go through the front door anyway, regardless of where they sit, so they often try and go against the flow which make the whole thing a disaster regardless. Stereotyping but most of those people are not frequent flyers and often end up down the back

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 329

Finally! Qantas'dogs'breakfast boarding  After years of United zoned boarding as Premier 1k and American Air Flagship First transcon SFO-JFK vv I've abhored boarding Qantas flights, flying business.  Now lets see if they actually enforce it - AA and UA are ULTRA-strict and they work it well  nQF with its useless Eco and Biz lanes - so you end up smashed, bumped etc when in a Business aisle seat

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 112

Air Canada uses five boarding groups (occasionally six), with your zone number printed HUGE on your boarding card. An announcement is made at least once before every flight that boarding will be by zone numbers, so please look at your VC to see what zone you are in now. {There is no rear-stair boarding on AC.) First to board is wheelchairs and "those who need a little extra time to board: think very elderly/crutches), and this is only rarely abused. Then Zone 1: J and SuperElites (P1-equivalent). Zone 2 is Plat/Gold, and PY passengers where PY is offered (I think also full-fare Y). Usually then it's families with children under 6. Zone 3 is window seats all the way along the aircraft; Zone 4 is middle seats, Zone 5 is aisle seats. A couple travelling together may be e.g. 1 x Zone 3 and 1 x Zone 4, in which case they can both board when Zone 3 is called. Boarding starts 35 or 40 mins before departure time, and everyone is on board *well* before departure time - notwitshtanding the usual delays for not enough room for carry-on. There is no confusion about any of this as the zone number, as mentioned, is written huge on your boarding card, and people only rarely try abusing the system.

It works. The gate agents in other countries just ensure that you don't board if your zone is not called. Everyone gets used to it. Funnily enough the "shambles" that seems to upset some commenting also works pretty well as the plane still gets off on time.

08 May 2020

Total posts 84

Travelling on Virgin has me spoiled for the last 20 years, Front and back entrance is a massive positive on speed Boarding.  Just have to stop travellers to take everything with them including the Kitchen sink on Board. 1 Bag x 5-7 kg  is more than tolerant.

03 May 2020

Total posts 8

As the above comment points out there is another group which overseas generally gets priority boarding but in Australia never and that’s people with kids or special needs.  Let’s not do the Military priority thing though.

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Mar 2021

Total posts 10

So, if they are boarding the middle of the plane first, then the very front (economy) and very back, who’s policing the filling of front / back overheard lockers?

We all know that there are many economy passengers that just see and empty locker and fill it with their “should be in checked luggage” bag. 

Sure! Having priority boarding is an answer, but if someone doesn’t and they are in rows 4 onwards, how do they secure a locker? 

12 Dec 2016

Total posts 10

Agreed. Virgin's Economy X dedicated overhead lockers are also poorly supervised. Occasionally I see passengers placing their bags in there, then strolling down the plane to their seat.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

Well written JRyan.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Nov 2016

Total posts 47

The boarding pass readers should decline anyone who is not yet eligble to board.  But that requires an extra business process, which QF has shown little ability to yet implement

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

Too true,  But if the reader software is changed to not only decline acceptance but emit a loud, audible noise noticeable by other pax waiting patiently behind, the lesson will be learnt quickly.   Embarrassment is a strong motivator for behavioral change.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Jun 2015

Total posts 7

My recent experience on domestic flights in the US witnessed crowding at the gate and no order even though passengers had zones. The poor people in the final zone called were told there was no space left in the overhead bins and advised to check in carry on luggage. Thank goodness I have priority boarding.

cow
cow

25 Aug 2017

Total posts 20

Let's face it, overhead lockers is the issue here. The plane is not going to leave without you and everyone arrives at the same time.  I could never understand the race to board until I couldn't find anywhere to place my carryon baggage.  We are all paying travellers regardless of status and should be treated equally.  It would be a bit like private patients receiving special treatment in a public hospital.

08 May 2020

Total posts 84

Carry on Luggage needs to be better controlled. Airlines need to send more travellers back to the Counter to check it in. I have seen a couple using 1 1/2 Overhead lockers with her Wedding Dress, a Box with a Hat, and His Suit as well as 2 Cases.  I am not quite sure what the cabin crew was thinking in letting them take up that much space and holding up traffic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2020

Total posts 5

Don’t have a problem with this as long as they enforce where people put their carry on baggage. I’ve seen too often people get onboard and put their bags in the first few rows of economy overhead bins then proceed to the back of the plane. The crew need to enforce passengers to use the space in their seating area. When they hog the front bins when they are not sitting their, they make it difficult for those seated in those rows for their bags.

PG1
PG1

17 May 2017

Total posts 19

Two suggestions

1.  Agreed (Tony Boyd) that P/P1 should board before Gold before Silver etc. Perhaps they split the premium boarding lanes (a) Biz, Pi, P and (b) Gold/Silver.  As, say, a P you may also feel you get more "bang for your buck" and Qantas acknowledges yr importance to them !!

2.  I've experienced US boarding where you are Grouped but also numbered. GroupA-1 etc. At the gate the Group lanes are set up with signs, say GrpA 1-19, 20-39 etc. You line up according to your Grp and number. No pushing or shoving. The earlier you check in, the lower the number ! Works quite well.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2020

Total posts 5

What about those who are Lifetime Gold, many of those people have flown much more than some Platinum. To get to Platinum all you need is a few business class flights and your there basically in a year (i.e. 1400 sc). However someone who is Lifetime Gold has at least 14,000 sc. So you’re saying their not as worthy as someone who flew business class paid for by their company probably for a year? Perhaps lifetime Gold needs to be included into the first group as recognition as well.

PG1
PG1

17 May 2017

Total posts 19

Agreed. LT Gold is a monumental effort, worthy of the recognition !!

20 Jul 2023

Total posts 9

Premind cabins ,business and first before any platinum!

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 92

It's always seemed to me that boarding in North America takes longer than here.  Maybe that's because they seem to be able to take full size bags onto the plane?  I've liked the simplicity we have, and as mentioned many times already, if the crew just enforced the carry on and and priority boarding process then it would be faster.  

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 79

Its been a while since I flew Qantas, but as I recall, they have been doing this for years anyway. Once they get to the economy passengers, they just call rows 40-50 boarding now, rows 30-40 boarding now, rows 15-30 boarding now, everyone else can board now.

And of course there are always those who ignore the calls and board as if they have priority, but one the first/business class are finished, they don't really check anyway.

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 126

I'm looking forward to the dual aerobridges that will be needed for this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 47

You can already see this failing.  Where is the group for the "entitled" people?  They don't have to follow other people's silly rules, they make their own rules.  Then there is the DYKWIA group.  Do they get a guernsey as well?  And what about the "influencers"?  Can't forget them.  

Looks like we are all pretty much agreed that this is NOT going to work any better than the current system.  Everyone thinks they have a reason for wanting to get on board that plane first.  Whether it is a valid reason is another matter entirely.

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 81

Simple, let people with no carry-on luggage board in the first group so they don’t get stuck waiting in the aisle while those who brought giant rollaboards try to jostle them in to the overhead bins.

28 Sep 2022

Total posts 7

Think all the comments on overhead locker space are right on the money, until airlines police those misusing them there will always be a rush to get on the plane regardless of the boarding system, including myself.

16 Jun 2021

Total posts 2

You hit the nail on the head !!!!!  The rush of boarding and the blocking of aisles is 90% about securing your overhead luggage space. 

18 Feb 2018

Total posts 16

As a Platinum FF for over 20 years and a LT Gold for the last few years, I absolutely think that priority should mean just that (my goodness me, we have certainly added to the profits for a long time) - We all see people pushing-in when boarding is called and then see the same people filling-up the front overhead bins and watch them saunter down the back with no challenge or recourse - How do you stop it? Not sure that you can (in-fact, I don't think that you can).

You could actually have the 'rules' enforced and give the 'new' system a go (the current one is pretty broken). Enforce the baggage allowance (I am so fed-up/over of seeing people board with three/four bags and the ubiquitous cartoon of Krispy Creme Doughnuts; with absolutely no challenge from the gate staff or the cabin crew). Colour code labels for 'cabin baggage' could be considered and when someone deliberately misuses the business class lockers, take the bag and put it down a chute and into the hold!

Or, if all else fails, do what I do - I take a very small clutch bag on board (no need for overhead bin space), board last (after the scrum) and settle into your seat with a nice glass of wine and don the Bose headphones! 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jul 2012

Total posts 15

Airlines need to treat priorty boarding like all other products and add ons.

They definitely wouldn't tolerate people randomly sitting in business or extra legroom seats if they hadn't booked it.

Maybe they need to introduce the electronic lanes like some European airports that are similar to train stations.

You scan your pass and it wont let you through, or as some EU ones do....let out a shreeking alarm.

Until they fix it, they should stop advertising it as a perk.

JASON

SMM
SMM

01 Feb 2013

Total posts 28

Agree your boarding pass declines if you try and board when no permitted. Need that here!

13 Jun 2018

Total posts 2

Having used the US style on Finnair at Rovaniemi like everything else its good and bad. Passengers still surround the gates thinking #4 will be called before #3, but they use turnstyles and you scan your boarding card so no queue jumping. A problem we encountered though was as a family of 4 we went through the turnstyles when #1 was called and our youngest for some reason had #2 so he got refused, of course they manually let the 6 year old through but unsure why he had a higher number. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2017

Total posts 24

For this to work, given the understaffing at the gates, the pass reading machine at the gate must be programmed NOT to allow those not yet called to pass … and they need to be ordered to the back of the queue. 

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Mar 2021

Total posts 10

Maybe the Jetstar “scales of death” trolly needs to be implemented on Qantas to help ease this problem. 

unfortunately when 90% of an aircraft is entitled to premium boarding on mel-syd....there is no fix apart from restricting it further. Also....cabin crew boarding at the gate aren't going to argue with you, when they have to put up with the grumpy shite and arrogant person that is giving them issues or another 2-4hrs. get them on, get them off i'm sure is the mentality. everyone gets to the destination at the same time. 

I can see the benefit of boarding middle of the aircraft back for efficiency of queuing, but unfortunately, that now takes away locker space from the people in row 3 if they utilise the lounge and get to the aircraft later than others. i can see some of us platinums getting angry and abusive over locker space in the middle of the aircraft, landing into a port where they wont be exiting via the back stairs but the bag is now even further back than normal. 

there is no solution that makes everyone happy and now that doug parker has joined, HA! I can see 22 boarding zones and a process that is get on, get off  get even more complicated.  Qantas is so premium heavy with its pax that boarding....should just be bloody boarding. 

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Jun 2018

Total posts 4

Along with priority boarding, overhead locker space needs to be strictly managed, especially in the 737 cans. You can't have a people in Zones 3-5 slipping their luggage into another zone. Boarding staff will need to be on alert and have the bags removed and placed above their allocated seat leaving the correct spaces available in each zone. And yes, less aggressive behavior folks, what will you save by shouldering another passenger to save two minutes...please...be courteous and pay it forward by allowing others to progress smoothly on exit.

25 Jun 2021

Total posts 29

Had this set up on a Singapore airlines last week to Bangkok, seemed to work ok. You still however get those numptys who have no idea or think ques don't apply to them.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 32

Didn't realize Qantas had the general ability to board via rear door - thought that only applied to planes with boarding from the tarmac. Two door boarding already makes things easier, as does boarding by row number.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 69

Have seen it in both Brisbane Adelaide and Melbourne.. weather depending of course,

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2014

Total posts 25

Agree management is the key.....to begin with the staff will need to speak slowly and clearly on a PA system that can be heard, their announcement needs to demand attention...no just fly through a script that is not articulated clearly. There are a great number of PAX that don't fly often. 

The gate structure needs serious sorting out, imagine trying this at gate 11 in Sydney. Also a concern that BNE is a trial site as their premium boarding is almost always a shambles. Non premium in lane never turned away. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

Absolutely.

JD1
JD1

03 Aug 2020

Total posts 17

A colleague just had a thought which surely must warrant consideration  ... if cabin baggage is often the culprit how about allowing people with only 1 bag to board first. Would be interesting to see how that would work ... perhaps expand it to a priority security lane too for people with 1 bag only for airports that don't have the new security machines 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Sep 2014

Total posts 4

Ugh, so having taken care/expense to arrange to sit near the front, will now be allowed on last to find the overhead lockers already purloined by group 3 on their way past? Now that travesty of misbehaviour would be a thing to put some effort into managing.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 69

Carry on baggage limits must be enforced.

I recently flew Qantas Sydney to Brisbane, the 1205 dep was cancelled, I was booked on the 1305 and that was cancelled.. all were shifted to the 1405 and 1505.. I was on the 1405.. it arrived late but the ground crew were waiting and moved quickly. Boarding started @ 1415 and for a while things moved slowly but steadily.. all  were told that it was a full flight and to check in their second bags... all were on board by 1435.. then one couple came to the front and complained that there was no room for their 3 bags.. told that they would have to be checked in produced a wail about missing baggage.. the cabin manager told them to watch their bags being loaded.. then that repeated by another couple.. we eventually got away by 1510. They effectively delayed things by 35 mins with their attitude.

By the way I was in business and sitting next to me was the pilot who was supposed to be flying the 1305.. those flights were cancelled due to air traffic control in Brisbane (a staffing issue).

05 Nov 2014

Total posts 10

Great. It works well when boarding flights in USA. I can see that passengers here will quickly adapt it here once they have used it. 

01 Jul 2021

Total posts 40

No just no.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jun 2017

Total posts 37

Lets drop Gold from premium while we're at it. Congrats for going overseas a couple of times business class. Enjoy your lounge, but thats enough. 

Etihad - Etihad Guest

27 Jun 2019

Total posts 12

I'm Gold and get mine by flying eco on shorter trips so it's way more than a couple of flights and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I get where you are coming from of course, but don't they include Qantas club members into the premium lines too? They could also simply allow QFF Gold and above while restricting OneWorld member equivalents as part of that group. There's many ways of doing it but probably obvious as to which way they'll go 

20 Jul 2023

Total posts 9

Also platinum can be dropped. Most of them fly economic so why let them board as priority. First and business paying passengers first! Simples !

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 109

I’m Platinum and I don’t travel in Y. I’d be P1 but Qantas’ network isn’t what it used to be. United and Star Alliance are my North American network now. Transferring through SFO is like heaven compared to the S* Show in LAX. I won’t go if I have to go through that hole!

20 Jul 2023

Total posts 9

Totally agree. Moist of them timed a double status run to fly economic

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

09 Aug 2016

Total posts 39

I feel sorry for the gate agents in all of this. There clearly aren't enough of them per flight to be able to board a plane for ontime departure and enforce boarding priority. I don't condone it, but I kinda get why they often take the path of least resistance with 'queue jumpers' and just let them board. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Mar 2018

Total posts 12

I experienced the group boarding system in the US and found it really good for those in the zones where all carry on had to be stowed in the overheads and not under the seat in front of you. 

I agree with all the comments above that the Qantas staff/representatives at the gate need to enforce it; the current lanes are a joke as I had a person step ahead of me who didn't qualify and then told the flight attendant at the boarding pass check point that she was travelling with me.

There was an awkward moment when I replied, "No you are not." and the flight attendant allowed the passenger to board and apologised to me. I felt bad for her and saved my steely glares for the passenger when I boarded and death stared from Row 13 back to 20 something ... 

25 Jun 2018

Total posts 46

Simplifying the boarding process is the answer.  Strictly police carry-on bags for size & weight.  FAs check that passengers only utilise overhead bins above their seat row.

First on - handicapped and Special Needs, then Group 5 (seats furthest from the air bridge), followed by 4,3,2,1.   No special treatment for ‘status hounds’.   They get off first from the front anyway.

20 Jul 2023

Total posts 9

Lets hope the elderly, disabled, military and parents with young children are given a level of priority with group one.

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 81

Better still, actually put people with limited mobility in group 1 or group 2 seats so that they don't need to walk so far down the aisle.

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 81

Do it strictly by zones, and keep the overhead bins locked shut until the relevant zone is called.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 112

What nobody is mentioning in respect of overfull overhead lockers is that there are many selfish, thoughtless people who are such tender blossoms that they have to stretch their legs right out under the seat in front even on one-hour flights, meaning that they put both of their carry-ons in the overhead bin instead of putting the smaller one under the seat in front. And that's a big reason why there's such a shortage of space overhead. Air Canada tags items to put under the seat and makes multiple announcements on board about it, but plenty of people ignore it. Laptop cases (with the laptop taken out first), handbags, you name it. When there's no overhead space, FAs should remove smaller items, ask whoever owns it, and tell them to put it under the seat.

Virgin Australia - Platinum

21 Mar 2021

Total posts 10

From reading this thread it’s clear that the regular travellers have the ideas, but if it involves more effort from the airline / crew, we may not see it implemented.

Boarding process needs to be colour coded and linked to the barcode / QR code. 

It’s the universal language. Until paper tickets are phased out it could have troublesome. But could be done. 

Excess cabin luggage is the result of online check in. It’s not policed early by the airline. By the time you get to the gate, time pressure means staff let it through. 

Online check in needs to have a check box that says “you declare you only have 1 cabin item weighing 7kgs and is more more than (whatever swimsuits are). If you arrive at the gate and your cabin baggage is more than stated you will be stopped from boarding and charged X amount to check your bag at the gate). 

Now there are those who will ride the gauntlet and try it on, but it may make others think twice and reduce the cabin baggage items. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2014

Total posts 25

I’ve been platinum for 14yrs now and am life time gold…all mostly achieved via domestic travel…I’ll fall back to gold next year and I sincerely hope as I wind down into retirement that I continue to have this benefit - well earned from true loyalty…not a couple of OS flights! 

QF

03 Jul 2015

Total posts 21

I am lifetime Platinum, and retired, QF will keep you lifetime Gold after you retire.

28 Sep 2022

Total posts 7

Note to ET, there are so many responses to an obvious problem at boarding gates perhaps you should send comments to Qantas.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2550

Hi Greywings – no need for us to send comments to Qantas, we know the airline reads Executive Traveller on a very regular basis and would be taking note of all these comments. I think the success of the trial will come down to how well the boarding process is communicated and enforced, so let's see how this plays out.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 47

Hi David,

It would be great to think that Qantas is reading this site AND maybe even taking notes.  However, given the amount of commentary we have given over the years on easily fixable problems, they have not had a mind to take one scrap of notice of us.  Methinks they just sit there and laugh, and recite their favourite mantra - tell 'em they're dreaming.  

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2550

Qantas regularly reads Executive Traveller and notes the comments, this is something I know for a fact, and I also know some Executive Traveller readers who are on assorted Qantas advisory panels, have been asked for and provided feedback across a range of 'customer-facing' issues. (And I'd suggest that what may seem like an 'easy fix' to some people might not have been implemented because it might not be so 'easy' after all. Hey, there are times I've suggested something which I felt made a ton of sense and learned there are several other factors to consider which rule against it.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 47

Thank you for the explanation David.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 109

So I can see that this topic is REALLY important to so many of you. But I have extensive knowledge and have watched these boarding groups in action overseas. As an example, I was on a 737 by United that took 1 hour to board using the priority and boarding group system. On Monday this week I was on a Qantas 737 and it took them just over 20 minutes to board a FULL flight. Bags are the issue here. Bags

If you want to understand fully, please see this video which spells it out in an easily understood format for any monkey:

https://youtu.be/oAHbLRjF0vo

Have fun Chimps!

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 25

So no advantage in Gold status, then?

Did you read the article properly? Golds still get to board ahead of the rest the economy cabin. This is actually a published OneWorld benefit for OneWorld Sapphires such as QF Gold, that they have 'priority boarding', and they still have it, it's just not in the same priority group as business class and Platinums, which IMHO is as it should be.

20 Jul 2023

Total posts 9

There shouldn't be. Stop with the entitlement.  So u flew to Europe in business class once. Whoopee!

Okay, good explanation thanks ET, this is now making more sense to me. Happy that Golds are not in the same priority group as business class and Platinums, that never made sense, especially on flights on the BNE-SYD-MEL triangle where in peak hours half the plane would be in the 'priority' line.

That said, I do think business class should be invited to board first, even before Platinums. Maybe business class and Chairmans Lounge should be called first, and then invite Platinums and Platinum Ones and OneWorld Emeralds. Business class will definitely need its own boarding group on an A330. Hopefully during this 'trial' period Qantas will fine-tune the process along these lines.

JD1
JD1

03 Aug 2020

Total posts 17

I'm sorry if this sounds like a stupid question but isn't this what they "try" to do now?

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 14

Currently there are only two groups, high tier/business class in one group and everyone else in the other. Sometimes the gate staff board economy by rows but it’s not consistent. This new method looks to be an attempt for more structure and organisation (smaller groups, new signage, new gate layout etc ) Hopefully over time it works. It will probably take a while for people to learn the ropes of reading their boarding pass and the signage and paying attention. I believe the gate scanner will reject the boarding pass if the your group is not yet boarding. This should assist the staff in managing the order. 

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 209

It’s all very well to point the finger at ground staff for not enforcing the rules, but how about passengers insisting on breaking them?  This system works pretty well in the US because Americans largely respect the ‘rules’ of lining up / your place in line.  Australians, not so much (and yes, I’m an Aussie).

XWu
XWu

09 May 2020

Total posts 568

For those what have experienced/suffered/enjoyed this new “trial” at BNE, can you advise for Gold tier like myself not to bother with lining up at the priority lane before they call for boarding, since I will get kicked out of the priority boarding line in theory? 

This will mean the gold tier will in theory join the normal queue, which can drag out the whole process, since those infrequent flyers unaware of trial and possibly not listening to instructions (despite the overhead announcement of a new trial) and try to get in based simply on their early arrival and joining the queue. That will seriously depend on how much the ground crew or FA want to enforce this or just Let them through (which is probably faster than having an argument with the pax)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 320

Thin edge of the wedge for Gold I think, now a defined mid tier level, wouldn’t be surprised to see QF further erode Gold status privileges over time to be little more than Qantas Club levels.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 May 2018

Total posts 69

Still doesn't sort out the problem with the "entitled" clowns with their grossly overweight/sized baggage being allowed to bring it on-board instead of checking it in like the rest of us mere peasants.

08 Feb 2018

Total posts 159

I am quite sure this will fix all of Qantas' on time departure woes. I mean, of course it's the passengers' fault.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

I dunno, but given the price that Qantas charges for Business Class seats, I'd want to be the last group to board WITH overheads lockers kept closed (via mag-locks remotely controlled by cabin crew console) until we do, and the first to disembark.  As a Business Fare holder, I'd want to spend as much time as possible in the Business Lounge, knowing I can walk straight to my seat and that the overhead lockers were KEPT LOCKED to prevent 'squatters luggage' finding it way in there.  

05 Dec 2018

Total posts 148

I agree on business fare holder as well on the 'squatter luggage' issue. Nothing worse than paying for business and have someone else from economy use your luggage space. They should have a rule that confirmed 'squatters luggage' in business will be taken off the plane. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

Kudos to Qantas for trying to rectify this problem, hope it works. 

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 14

The groups have been simplified as 1 to 6  your boarding pass will reject if you attempt to board in the wrong group thanks to software updates. 

17 Apr 2024

Total posts 1

This is a great start to make boarding more efficient but, I would like to see staff enforce one bag in overhead locker and even the allocated seat number listed on your allocated locker.  I am sick of having to have my ONE bag under my seat on a long flight to Perth or Darwin.  Your second bag should be under your seat not taking another person's locker space.  P.S. I am tall and need the leg room!

This is a great idea but like many others - IT NEEDS TO BE ENFORCED. 

Carry on bags, wouldn't it be great if this was also enforced at least a little bit. So often huge bags are bought on board which take up all the room without any consideration for others.

And whilst I'm having a gripe, what about those inconsiderates who don't board on time. Interestingly, they seem to be seated at the pointy end where I usually travel. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Nov 2018

Total posts 109

Really? I get on in the Priority queue and I’m always shocked to see that most of J is already seated. Since I love row 1, this is a problem. Never any space left for my bag, which must be stowed above. Bring on those A320s…

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 716

I say, michael@... , if by 'inconsiderates' who've paid (as much as you) to sit at the pointy end (i.e. business class), boarding on time means doing so before the door closes.  I've never, in all my days, been on a flight delayed by more than 3-4 (let's call it 5) minutes by a late boarding pax seated in J-class (time that any pilot hasn't easily recovered on the shortest of sectors, once airborne).  

But I'm in 100% agreement with your point upon enforcement at the gate.  I remember fondly when there was a spiral bag chute that would allow 'confiscated' luggage to be sent downstairs to ground crew for loading into the hold.  Haven't seen them lately.  

12 Jul 2017

Total posts 9

Qantas ground staff can't enforce current system let alone something more complex as well documented in above comments. I wonder if Qantas has the acumen to learn from this article

22 Nov 2020

Total posts 4

I have been lucky enough to have done a lot of travelling with many airlines to many countries. The most efficient boarding I have ever experienced was with AirAsia when I travelled from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. They had everyone in their "Boarding Groups" at the boarding gate, there was 4 lines clearly signed which line to be in According to your seat number and from there is was very fast. I must admit when I think about it, that it is very much like cattle at a sales yard, but this system worked incredibly well. I dont think i have had a faster boarding anywhere ever. In contrast FlyScoot's boarding is horrendous, their issue is that they allow a generous 10kg carry on, so the luggage compartments usually fill up quickly and then it's a dogfight after that, this slows down the boarding process so much that it almost becomes unbearable.


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