Qantas rolls out international boarding trend

Qantas revamps its boarding processes

Source: Qantas

Queuing to get onto a plane might feel endless, but Qantas is about break down the process into more palatable bites.

The airline is rolling out ‘group boarding’ for domestic flights departing from four major Australian airports, almost a year after it began trialling the process.

Something that is common with many international airlines, group boarding usually involves passengers getting to their seats based on where they are to be seated.

Instead of all passengers being called to board at once, airline staff instead ask for specific groups to board separately.

This can shorten queues and, according to Qantas, get travellers seated faster.

“Group boarding is designed to minimise the time our customers spend waiting to board and allows them to get settled more quickly,” Qantas domestic CEO Markus Svensson said.

“We know how important on-time departure is to our customers, so this process is also about doing everything possible to ensure we depart on time.”

Qantas passengers will be allocated to one of six boarding groups, which will be displayed on their boarding pass.


New physical (left) and mobile boarding passes will display boarding group numbers. Source: TND/Qantas

The groups will be determined by cabin, frequent flyer status, and seat position in the aircraft.

The airline said signs and announcements at gates would notify customers when it was their group’s turn to board.

Qantas’ group boarding will apply to passengers of domestic flights on its Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft from:

  • June 3 – Brisbane
  • June 10 – Perth
  • June 17 – Melbourne
  • June 25 – Sydney

The airline said it was focusing on its 737 and A330 fleets as they covered most of its domestic operations, and were larger aircraft with the most room for improvement of boarding times.

Qantas said it would give people time to become familiar with group boarding before extending the process to other aircraft types and airports.

Passengers hoping to sneak in among earlier boarding groups will be unlikely to have much luck; the boarding pass scanner at the gate will permit passengers to board only when their assigned group has been called.

When running its boarding group trial last year, Qantas said passengers with differences such as hearing impairment would be able to register to join a pre-boarding group.

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