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Qantas Silver Frequent Flyers lose priority check-in

By John Walton     Filed under: sydney, perth, Melbourne, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Silver, Brisbane, brisbane airport, Melbourne airport, Sydney Airport, Qantas Next-Gen Check-in, Perth Airport, Canberra, Sydney Domestic, Adelaide, Canberra Airport, Adelaide Airport

Silver members of Qantas' Frequent Flyer programme only have three weeks left to use priority check-in.

Qantas is removing the benefit in February as part of its Next Generation Check-in programme, which we covered back in October

From 1 February, Silver members with hold luggage to check will now have to wait in the main line, a Qantas representative confirmed to Australian Business Traveller today. Access to the Qantas Club check-in desks will also be removed. 

Online and mobile check-in will be available, but only to passengers travelling with just cabin baggage, Qantas told us.

Since the new Frequent Flyer cards and luggage tags contain RFID-enabled "Q-chips", which enable touch-and-go functionality at Qantas' new check-in kiosks, the airline has decided to remove check-in desk benefits from Silver members at all airports -- not just the ones with the new system. 

It's also more hassle for travellers leaving from airports other than the six with Next Generation Check-in. (Next Generation Check-in is currently in operation in Sydney and Perth. Qantas will roll the programme out to Melbourne in the summer, Brisbane in the autumn, and Adelaide & Canberra in the winter of 2011.)

The logic behind the decision to remove the check-in benefits is difficult to understand. Business travellers wanting to save time will prefer to use the new Q-chip cards and avoid the desks entirely at Next Generation Check-in airports. In the event of IT system problems, though, or during the initial stages of the new technology, it would have made sense to continue the premium check-in privilege. 

Next Generation Check-in: the current state of play

Check out Australian Business Traveller's full Next Generation Check-in coverage for the low-down. 

Platinum, Gold and Silver Frequent Flyers have already begun receiving their Next-Generation Check-in Kits (as detailed in our 'first look' story and photo gallery).

The new cards will also replace boarding passes, sending an SMS confirmation to a registered mobile phone once check-in is complete. Scan the card (or a mobile phone showing the check-in barcode) on the reader at the gate and the machine will generate a boarding receipt with seat number. 

This paper receipt doesn't sound all that different from a boarding pass, apart from not having to carry the boarding pass from check-in to the gate. Is having to carry a small piece of paper across the domestic terminal a serious gripe?

In addition, RFID bag tags will replace paper bag tags at the bag drop. The new tags -- free for Platinum, Gold and Silver Frequent Flyers, and available for purchase for Bronze members and people who aren't part of the Qantas programme -- store trip and member details and are routed on by the new bag drop machines.

If, as we reported yesterday, the federal government bans self check-in, we hope that Qantas reinstates priority check-in for its Silver members.

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 10/1/11 by BJReplay

The group most neglected by this change (as well as most of the other program changes like choosing your seat) are QC life members - yes, there are still a few of us around that paid many years ago.

 Instead of getting these privileges, we don't get RFID bag tags, we can't pre-seat, we get the worst priority for on-line check in (unless we also have FF status), etc.

1 on 17/1/11 by ACUTE MEDICINE

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF CHANGE.GET USE TO IT.IM VERY HAPPY THAT QANTAS FINALLY TRY BRINGING QANTAS TO GET CUSTOMERS TO REALISE ITS FOR THE BETTER OF SERVICES NOT LIFE MEMBERS ..BUT FOR THE BEST AND FUTURE OF QANTAS

 

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