Qantas frequent flyers have spoken and the airline appears to have listened. Premium boarding, new super suites and slashed carbon emissions are all on the horizon for the flying kangaroo!
Introducing Premium Boarding
Priority boarding on Qantas, or the lack thereof, has been a point of contention for years. Now the airline is addressing the issue by introducing a new Premium Boarding procedure on domestic flights. The new system allows business class and top-tier Qantas Frequent Flyers, with Gold status and above, to board first, or at their leisure, through the priority boarding lane.
General boarding will commence once the queued priority customers have boarded the aircraft.
It’s hard to understand why it’s previously presented such a challenge to the carrier. But Qantas has listened to frequent flyers and pledged to ensure the new process is enforced. If it works, priority passengers can board in time to get first dibs at the overhead luggage space!
Suite way to take off
One way to stomach the thought of being on a plane for 20 hours is to fly in a suite. That’s tipped to be an option on the Project Sunrise jets, with refits that will redefine all four cabin categories for the ultra-long-haul flights. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has hailed the new “super first class” as something that “is a lot better than any product we’ve put in the air.” Will it match other airlines and include private doors? Joyce won’t comment on that yet, but the expected small first class cabin area is likely to accommodate the more intimate suites.
In preparation for commencement of more frequent ultra-long-haul flights in 2022, the airline has consulted with design specialists. Next generation seats, more legroom in all classes and a dedicated exercise area are all due to be part of the final concept.
Setting sights on zero carbon emissions by 2050
While easier boarding and more leg room are nice improvements, the really big news from the Qantas Group is a commitment to a more sustainable aviation industry.
The national carrier will double the number of flights being offset, cap net emissions from 2020 onwards and invest $50 million over 10 years to help develop a sustainable aviation fuel industry. The airline’s ultimate aim is to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “We recognise that airlines have a responsibility to cut emissions and combat climate change. We’ve already made some good progress, especially by investing in newer aircraft that have a much smaller carbon footprint.”
“We want to do more, and faster. We’re effectively doubling our carbon offsetting program and we’re capping our net emissions across Qantas and Jetstar from 2020 so that all new flying will be carbon neutral.”
“These short-term actions will go towards a longer-term goal of being completely net carbon neutral by 2050. It’s ambitious, but achievable.”
“Concerns about emissions and climate change are real, but we can’t lose sight of the contribution that air travel makes to society and the economy. The industry has already come a long way in cutting its footprint and the solution from here isn’t to simply ‘fly less’ but to make it more sustainable,” added Mr Joyce.
Qantas will work with industry, research institutions and governments to develop the long-term solutions to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry over the next three decades.