Qantas rolls out 'Australian-first' group boarding after successful trials

When travelling, we look forward to the destinations and the memories we can make.

However, the process—especially boarding—can sometimes be less enjoyable.

Long queues, the rush to find overhead bin space, and the general stress of boarding can take away from the joy of travel.

In recent developments, Australia's flagship carrier is set to change that narrative with a new system.

Qantas introduced a new boarding process promising to streamline the boarding experience and keep flights on time.

This 'Australian-first' group boarding shook up traditional boarding methods, and it's something travellers should look forward to.

While group boarding has been a global concept, the new process is a fresh approach for the Australian carrier.

Qantas' new policy introduces a group boarding mechanic, promising a more efficient boarding process for passengers while keeping flights in schedule. Image Credit: Pexels/Josh Withers

The system will categorise passengers into six groups based on factors like travel class, frequent flyer status, and seat location.

Boarding passengers in a specific order could reduce wait times and allow everyone to settle faster.
Qantas Domestic CEO Markus Svensson heralded this as the 'most comprehensive change we're doing to the boarding process for over a decade'.

'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,' he stated.

The new boarding process has been implemented in Brisbane.

Other major cities like Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney should follow suit throughout the month.

While the concept of group boarding is well-established overseas, the evidence on whether it speeds up the boarding process is mixed.

Some studies suggest boarding blocks from front to back could be slower than a free-for-all approach.

However, Qantas remained confident that their system would improve the passengers' experience.

Prior to Qantas' new policy, other airlines also experimented with various boarding methods for efficiency.

Physicist and professor Jason Steffen proposed a method to speed up boarding: passengers would board in alternate rows from window seats to aisle seats.

While theoretically faster, the complexity of ensuring every passenger is ready at the exact right time makes it impractical.

United Airlines adopted a less complex method known as WilMA, which boards passengers from window seats first, followed by middle and then aisle seats.

American carrier Southwest Airlines took a different approach by allowing passengers to choose their seats, which reportedly resulted in faster boarding times.

Qantas did not disclose the exact makeup of its groups.

However, priority will be given to first and business-class passengers and passengers with higher Frequent Flyer status.

We understand the value of comfort and efficiency, and Qantas's new boarding method could switch up our travel experience.
Key Takeaways

  • Qantas recently introduced a group boarding process for domestic flights, aiming to keep flights on time.
  • This 'Australian-first' boarding method will group passengers into six based on class, frequent flyer status, and seat location.
  • There is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of group boarding, as some studies showed faster methods than others.
  • The rollout of Qantas' new boarding approach started in Brisbane and will be implemented in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney throughout the month.
What are your thoughts on this new boarding process? Are you looking forward to trying it out on your next domestic trip with Qantas? Share expectations with us in the comments section below.
It seems to me that once they start boarding economy they should start with the back first then they are not holding anyone one up. They are past the rest of the seats. Then the next block forward etc until they get to the front.
It seems to me that once they start boarding economy they should start with the back first then they are not holding anyone one up. They are past the rest of the seats. Then the next block forward etc until they get to the front.
What slows boarding as much as anything is everyone trying to pile hard-edged small cases and other stuff into those overhead lockers. Scrap the overhead lockers, allow only a minimum of soft clothes at most and compensate by increasing the weight allowed in the hold.And maybe increease the legroom between seats to what it was 50 years ago.
Group boarding works having just come back from an overseas trip. But it only works if airlines, and especially for QANTAS, if cabin carryon restrictions are enforced. Too many people take far too much cabin luggage on board and those that board last end up having no where to put their carry on. Too many times I have seen people bringing on far more than is allowed and then moving others carry on around to fit theirs in (and not under the seat in front as requested for lighter items). The other practice that I have witnessed is those that load first sitting at the rear of the plane placing their carryon in the over head bin closer to the front of the plane, leaving no space for the person in the allocated seating position. The whole system will only work with enforcing the restrictions
Having recently bee subjected to group boarding process it is no quicker than the old system. Yes boarding from the rear does help a bit but the overall boarding time is just the same, always having to wait from those still in the bar when should be boarding. Yes carry-on luggage should be policed and those with oversized bags should be required to let the plane staff put their oversized or overweight bags into the hold. they normally come out first on arrival anyway so you are not delayed any extra time.
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Carry on luggage would be considered a backpack, a small sized case, or soft suit carriers. A size regulator could be beside the weighing of hold luggage. The Clerk decides what’s to go or no go.
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This is what we experienced OS but carry on was not always checked.

Loading the plane is only marginally quicker with the Zone loading, but still doesn't ensure the plane takes off on time. As Perth is one of the capitals to have this sytem introduced, I will wait with bated breath to see what happens.

I would rather QANTAS work on timely luggage delivery in Perth. I have waited for up to 60 minutes after arrival to retrieve my luggage. Slowest airport in the world other than Havana Cuba!
You mean like we used to do it 20 years ago?
“passengers with children, please board now”
”passengers in rows 26 to 30 please board now”
”passengers in rows 21 to 25, please board now”
”passengers in rows 15 to 20, please board now”

Qantas is going back to that.
about time
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JEaster (I think) tried the free-for-all seating when they first started and I recall it as a dreadful experience, with passengers physically pushing ahead in queues, and one memorable woman insisting she was together with me and my husband when we'd never seen her before in our lives.
you get off the plane from the front first its the quickest way
so why not get on from the back first

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