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Qantas doesn't care about priority boarding

Mattg

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Priority boarding is an advertised benefit for Qantas Business, Platinum and Gold customers (and their Oneworld equivalents). Yet, as we all know, Qantas makes no effort to actually implement an effective priority boarding system for domestic flights. It's a common source of frustration every single time I fly with Qantas domestically. And it's a shame because VA is able to do it very well.

The reasons it doesn't work - and in turn the solutions - seem so obvious yet Qantas doesn't seem to have even attempted to fix this. As far as I can tell, the problems are that:
  • Boarding from the general queue and priority queue takes place simultaneously. The solution would be to board everyone in the priority queue and then start boarding in the general queue. It's just common sense and common practice at pretty much every other airline; I don't understand why this doesn't already happen.
  • The flight attendants rarely actually check to make sure those in the priority queue are meant to be there. The solution is easy - turn away passengers that shouldn't be there (like VA does). I get that some flight attendants might not want to do this because they're going to see the passengers again on board, but it's necessary if priority boarding is to work.
I really think that Qantas should either attempt to fix its broken system or just stop advertising priority boarding as a benefit. Because it seems they have no intention of providing it.

FWIW, after my latest Qantas MEL-SYD flight - where the priority line was longer than the general line and I was one of the very last to board - I complained to QF customer care and was promised 5,000 Qantas points as compensation. If you've had a similarly frustrating experience with priority boarding not working, perhaps you might want to complain to Qantas as well. The points aside, if enough people complain they might actually be compelled to do something.
 

esseeeayeenn

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Priority boarding is an advertised benefit for Qantas Business, Platinum and Gold customers (and their Oneworld equivalents). Yet, as we all know, Qantas makes no effort to actually implement an effective priority boarding system for domestic flights. It's a common source of frustration every single time I fly with Qantas domestically. And it's a shame because VA is able to do it very well.

The reasons it doesn't work - and in turn the solutions - seem so obvious yet Qantas doesn't seem to have even attempted to fix this. As far as I can tell, the problems are that:
  • Boarding from the general queue and priority queue takes place simultaneously. The solution would be to board everyone in the priority queue and then start boarding in the general queue. It's just common sense and common practice at pretty much every other airline; I don't understand why this doesn't already happen.
  • The flight attendants rarely actually check to make sure those in the priority queue are meant to be there. The solution is easy - turn away passengers that shouldn't be there (like VA does). I get that some flight attendants might not want to do this because they're going to see the passengers again on board, but it's necessary if priority boarding is to work.
I really think that Qantas should either attempt to fix its broken system or just stop advertising priority boarding as a benefit. Because it seems they have no intention of providing it.

FWIW, after my latest Qantas MEL-SYD flight - where the priority line was longer than the general line and I was one of the very last to board - I complained to QF customer care and was promised 5,000 Qantas points as compensation. If you've had a similarly frustrating experience with priority boarding not working, perhaps you might want to complain to Qantas as well. The points aside, if enough people complain they might actually be compelled to do something.
Another issue is that they seem to usually only use one airbridge, even when they are using an A330, and the gate has two.
Priority boarding works best when there are two airbridges leading to two doors.
GIven that reduced boarding times would help on time departures, I really don't understand not using two when available.
 

samh004

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I think there are bigger issues they should focus on, such as the state of meals in business class. Having been at the Platinum level for a number of years now I'm not especially fussed with the lack of PB and unsure why it irks people so much. More recently, my last flight with them a staff member actually did turn away a tour group who had lined up in the wrong lane, and as I was next in line it worked out great for me... but I was happy to wait, it's not like the plane was going to get away any quicker or they were going to look after me better before closing the door. Now... if there had been a glass of champagne waiting at my seat, different story.
 

jakeseven7

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I was thinking, why doesn't AFF do an official letter to QF on behalf of it's members and see if they get a response on why it doesn't seem to be a priority etc? There is a lot of justified moaning about this but very little proactive action...
 

dajop

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This has gotta be the #1 issue that's been consistently flagged to QF by its FF'ers for many number of years. Which would also make it the #1 issue that QF has done bugger all about.
Maybe the #1 issue of many, but QFd's recent financial performance has been stellar. They are the absolutely dominant player in duopoly with a competitor who many won't even consider, lest over this specific issue. In their position a one fingered salute is about the best you can expect :p
 

Matt_01

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I agree with @samh004 I have just given up on QF PB and I have been P1 for a few years. As I do not care to much for hanging out in the lounge and see no point in waiting in the lounge until boarding is called. I normally arrive at the gate about 5 minutes before boarding and head straight to the boarding pass scanning area on the non PB side or PB side if no one is there and the line has not already started to form. As an aside I am often amused how many PAX mill around and clog up the walkways waiting for boarding to be called and then rush 3-4 meters to start the line.

I will openly state that I have no shame or embarrassment when I proceed straight to the boarding card scanning machine and start the line. As I do not use coasters on my HL there is no identifiable indication that I am P1 and can only assume that most of the status PAX milling around and waiting to rush to the front of the PB line see me and think/assume ‘what’s that idiot doing, typical NB behaviour’.
 

RooFlyer

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As an aside I am often amused how many PAX mill around and clog up the walkways waiting for boarding to be called and then rush 3-4 meters to start the line.
I admit I'm one of the nearby 'millers' :) although I don't know about clogging up the walkways. At the time of milling, there is no-where to walk to, as the gate is closed. :)

I would happily stride forth and start the queue, but that runs the risk of a delayed departure (all too frequent) and then you are left standing there, just looking a dork (not you Matt_01 .. me).

Lets just face it folks. Qantas management just couldn't give a stuff about PB (or priority baggage). I've opined before that I think its a union thing - the gate attendants don't want the aggro that would come by policing the PBing so just refuse to do it, and its not an issue that management want to take the union on about. So just stuff the passengers.
 

moa999

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I always thought most QF elites were in the lounge waiting for the 2nd call before heading to the gate when there is generally no queue, other than in the gangway.

We thankfully don't have as bad an issue with carry-on luggage as the US.

And I think as posted elsewhere on some flights it's literally 50/50 elites.

Smart gate design, such as Virgin's pen design in SYD also helps.
 
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esseeeayeenn

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I always most QF elites were in the lounge waiting for the 2nd call before heading to the gate when there is generally no queue, other than in the gangway.
I prefer to wait in the lounge until the last minute.
My goal is to be the last PAX to board - but without being paged.
I may have failed in that regard occasionally.
So implementing priority boarding as simply an opportunity to board first would not work for me.

Now... if there had been a glass of champagne waiting at my seat, different story.
That is the one thing which would tempt me to board earlier.
And does on international flights.
 

wannabeinvestmentbanker

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Controversial here but should we go back to Emeralds and above for domestic PB?

I haven't checked a bag since I can remember so not afforded the luxury of those that can get to gate last minute especially on my regular 5pm SYD-MEL services.
 

Matt_01

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I admit I'm one of the nearby 'millers' :) although I don't know about clogging up the walkways. At the time of milling, there is no-where to walk to, as the gate is closed. :)
I suspect my comments are based on recent experience. I know I will P1 for the next 20 or so months so I have been travelling VA more and irrelevant in a QF thread. The main domestic terminals I travel are ADL, MEL and SYD. ADL on the VA side is being rebuilt and T3 in MEL just seems to be one of the narrowest terminals in AU. On the QF side of things once you get to the gates 10-12 in MEL or 9-13 in SYD it can be just a mess. So crowds milling around results in congestion. When I mention milling it is along the lines of getting past/ through the crowds that is hanging around either to board or those meeting someone, a whole new topic on people who should not be allowed airside and another bugbear of mine.

I would happily stride forth and start the queue, but that runs the risk of a delayed departure (all too frequent) and then you are left standing there, just looking a dork (not you Matt_01 .. me).
I am very OCD when it come to travel and use apps or check with longe staff in order to track when aircraft lands at my departure gate, I allow 15-20 minutes after arrival then normally head to the gate. I have got this wrong in the past and depending on the delay have headed back to the lounge or waited like a ‘dork’ at the gate. I am fine with this as I was the one who started the line in the first place.

......
We thankfully don't have as bad an issue with carry-on luggage as the US.
......
Smart gate design, such as Virgin's pen design in SYD also helps.
I may be alone but I actually like the the US boarding system and HL system. Saying that at worst I/ we are no further back than group 2 or 3.
 
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Basaka

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For me I usually go towards the gate when I get the notification on the app (usually 1-2 minutes before they call the flight) and tend to find the line isn't super long and I can get on with plenty of space to store my hand luggage - although not all the time...

As much as I would like QF to do PB like Virgin does I'm not holding my breath (have also mentioned it on several surveys!).
 

RooFlyer

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I am very OCD when it come to travel and use apps or check with longe staff in order to track when aircraft lands at my departure gate,
Groan ... yes, I usually forget to do that, until I arrive at the gate 5 mins before advertised boarding, to find no aircraft. :mad:
 

esseeeayeenn

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Good Lord. I'm amazed (not doubting) - is that Dom and Int? Your bags come off in the first, say 10%?
Yes both Dom & Int. Although I spread the love around a bit for international flights but same experience on QFi, CX, MH and on codeshares on EK or SB.
I would say usually in the first 5%, always in the first 10%. Not unusual for them to actually be the first bags off.
 
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