Qantas rolls news, flight updates into new QView lounge screens

By David Flynn, July 23 2014
Qantas rolls news, flight updates into new QView lounge screens

The free WiFi at selected Qantas airport lounges now comes with a side-serve of news, sport and entertainment plus live flight updates.

It’s all rolled into a news portal called QView which the airline is positioning as a ‘one stop shop’ for travellers waiting for their flight.

Developed under the codename ‘Runway’, QView is the centrepiece of an ambitious high-tech upgrade to the airline’s lounge network.

And yes, that includes a significant boost to the lounge WiFi itself, with twice the bandwidth at the back end for faster signals to each passenger’s device.

But QView isn’t limited to tablets and smartphones.

It also provides the smarts behind new HD screens mounted in the lounges which now show the time it’ll take to get from the lounge to any flight’s boarding gate.

And there’s an added twist: the news content shown on the larger screens is driven by the most popular QView stories that visitors to the lounge are reading on their own devices.

(However, this will be limited to what’s being read in the QView portal, which pulls all its stories from an Australian Associated Press feed – whatever you read on other websites won’t be shared with the rest of the lounge.)

Qantas sees this as a clever way to tailor the large-screen content to what people will be most interested in at any given time by tapping into the choices of individual QView users to effectively curate what’s seen on the wall-mounted displays.

For example, the screens are likely to be news-heavy during weekday peak hours but could lean towards lighter content such as entertainment during the day and evening, and sports on the weekend.

The bespoke feed is specific to each lounge in the network, which means that QView screens in Melbourne’s Qantas Club will favour wall-to-wall AFL coverage while Sydney lounges will see more rugby league but with a dash of Sydney Swans in the mix.

Qantas says there’s no censorship of QView content, as exemplified by several MH17 reports appearing on the large screens during the media launch of QView in the Sydney Business Lounge.

“The technology seems simple but it’s not as easy as it looks," says Brendon Cook, CEO of 'out of home' advertising specialists oOh! Media, which has been working on the world-first multi-million dollar project since 2013.

"We’re taking content from multiple sources and we’re also pushing to multiple devices."

oOh! Media CEO Brendon Cook and Qantas exec Olivia Wirth at this week's launch of QView
oOh! Media CEO Brendon Cook and Qantas exec Olivia Wirth at this week's launch of QView

Those displays also include advertising, of course, unlocking a new revenue stream for the Flying Kangaroo, but Qantas is quick to say this is less about the cash than the customer experience.

“We know that balance is important” says Olivia Wirth, Qantas Group Executive Manager for Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs.

“This is absolutely not about pushing advertisements at our customers, it’s about proving content and a great experience for them.”

The large wall-mounted QView screens show 15 seconds of advertising every minute with Westpac, Jaguar and The Economist as launch partners.

"It's about the experience in the lounge, providing our customers with an additional reason to choose Qantas and an additional way to feel valued for being a Qantas Club member or being a Platinum member and having access to the lounge” With told Australian Business Traveller.

When visitors to each QView-equipped lounge first connect to the free wireless network they’re prompted to select their flight...

... before being taken to the main QView news screen.

A constant banner atop the QView screen displays live flight information such as the boarding gate, time until boarding and how long it will take to walk to that gate.

Some parts of the QView screen are also customised accordingly, such as the weather display showing a forecast for the city you’re flying to.

Changes to your flight are pushed directly to your QView screen, with plans to extend these to pop-up smartphone and tablet notifications which appear even if you’re using another app.

“Push notifications are the next things to come” says Jo Boundy, who heads up Qantas’ Digital and Entertainment  team. “Even if you’re on Facebook you’ll see a notification on your screen if there’s a gate change or a new flight time, as long as you’re still logged in on your Web browser.”

“It’s not going to be for everyone” Qantas exec Wirth admits, “but I know when I travel, I sit down in the lounge and I want to find out what’s going on in the world, but I also want to keep up to date with my flight details.”

“So in QView I’ve got reliable and up-to-date news, I’ve got flight details and the weather for where I’m flying to, all in one spot.”

QView is currently available at all domestic Qantas Business lounges plus Qantas Club lounges in major cities, with its international lounges in Australia and potentially overseas next on the list.

The airline is also looking at installing QView monitors throughout selected domestic terminals such as Sydney and Melbourne.

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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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 May 2012

Total posts 580

I really don't see the point in extending this to users' own devices. It's useful information on displays within the lounge, but on end-user devices it won't replace the Qantas app (which already has push notifications on iOS and Windows Phone - I haven't seen what they offer for Android) and users' own news feed consumption apps.

I'll stick with Google News and Digg Reader.

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 194

I really like the new boards in the lounge. Especially with the time to walk to gate!

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 738

Oh goody, another opportunity to be bombarded with ads! Thanks Qantas! I'm so glad that you're selling my eyeballs off to the highest bidder.

22 Jul 2011

Total posts 96

I was really impressed when I noticed them (boards/set flight on phone) in Sydney last week. I was a bit sceptical about the ooh media arrangement - but I have to take that back. A pleasant surprise.


14 Jun 2013

Total posts 353

As it happens I was on my way to catch a Qantas flight from Sydney to Melbourne this afternoon when I saw this article, so I read it with a lot of interest and have to admit, my first thought was "Oh no, more advertising!"

But I tried QView on my iPad at the Sydney business lounge and it's actually pretty good. Logged in, selected my flight to Melbourne, got the flight info and Melbourne weather just like in this article.

Had a play with the QView news pages and it's a good service, doesn't replace The Sydney Morning Herald but it's free, covers all the stories you'd want while waiting for a flight.

The big wall screens are good too, the ads are actually not as 'intrusive' as I might have thought although on a panel made up of just two TV screens they take over the whole display, if there are more than two TV screens you still see the flight information as well.

All up pretty good but at the same time, Qantas would have to make a LOT of money of this to really make it worthwhile in my opinion.

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 65

The main benefit to me is the improved resolution on the boards. Going from crappy Foxtel in standard definition and whatever output they were using before for flight info to 1080p means crisp sharp graphics and text.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 699

I saw this Wed morning in the Qantas Melbourne Business Lounge, when I connected my iPad, but for some reason or other the "Select Your Flight" panel was only showing flights that were flying out of Sydney, not MEL. Sort of ruined the "oh cool" factor - just like the new view booking display webpage in the member's FF section of the Qantas website is way less efficient - they've tried to make it pretty at the expense of practicality. Points for trying though...

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