When you board your next Qantas international flight, you may notice a range of new experiences both onboard and at the airport
Qantas has unveiled a range of new experiences to join the return of much-loved customer favourites as the airline prepares to resume scheduled international flights next week for the first time in 20 months.
While the international travel experience will largely be the same as pre-COVID, some things will look and feel a little different, particularly in the short-term.
New initiatives including a customised digital travel guide for customers are designed to help passengers navigate travel requirements before they leave home.
Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said: “The safe reopening of Australia’s borders and our first international flights will be a very special day for the entire Qantas team which is excited to get back flying and help reconnect our customers with family and friends around the world.
“We have redesigned our digital booking experience with world-first technology to help our customers easily navigate the post COVID-19 world of international travel and guide them through each step, including regular checklists sent via text ahead of their flights.
“Some things haven’t changed including our world class premium service. Our customers can expect a mix of new initiatives and a return of many favourites, all designed to make them feel right at home again the minute they step in to one of our lounges or on board our aircraft.”
Qantas has developed technology across its website and app and will roll out a revamped digital booking and pre-departure experience that will be tailored to each customer’s journey.
The new digital experience will guide customers through what they need to do their international travel based on government requirements at their time of travel. This will include:
- Pre-booking: Destination specific travel requirements available on qantas.com.
- Booking: Travel requirements emailed to customers upon booking and link to upcoming interactive Travel Ready section on qantas.com.
- Pre-departure: Emails/SMSs to customers seven days, four days and one day ahead of departure with customised checklists, reminders and links to relevant information.
Over the coming weeks, the digital experience will include a seamless integration with the IATA Travel Pass to help customers travel stress free, by enabling them to upload their vaccine and testing documents and be cleared to fly before they get to the airport. Airport check-in for international flights will also open an hour earlier than pre-COVID to allow extra time.
From November onwards, Qantas will roll out a new menu across its international flights and in the lounges including a number of new plant-based options.
In response to the growing popularity, plant-based meals such as potato and celeriac gratin with roast fennel, peas, mushrooms and onion sauce and Ratatouille Pasta Bake with Herb Crumb, Cauliflower & Green Beans will be available across all cabins on international flights from mid-November. Iconic Australian ice-creams will also be added to the inflight menu including Paddle Pops and Splices.
The new offering will also include a signature cocktail – the Qantas Sky Spritz – developed by SOFI to celebrate the return to international skies featuring Australian botanicals including Davidson Plum and Finger Lime.
The airline is restocking fridges ahead of the reopening of the Sydney International First Lounge from Monday including 125 punnets of strawberries and 25 kilograms of passionfruit a day for the signature Neil Perry pavlovas.
Qantas has announced it will use Darwin International Airport’s Catalina Lounge as a pop-up International Transit lounge for eligible customers transiting through Darwin on their way to and from London. Other international lounges will reopen to align with the return of further international routes.
Fly Well kits will continue to be available onboard and other changes to inflight services include using fully compostable paper wrappings on amenity kits, sustainably sourced bamboo combined swizzles and stirrers and new compostable cups rolled out on all international flights.
It is an Australian Government requirement that face masks be worn in airports and on-board flights.
Qantas encourages all travellers to consider taking out travel insurance before an international flight and in a post COVID world, one that incorporates some COVID cover. There are a number of products available to travellers, so customers can choose a policy that will best suit their needs.
Four-day office week for Snapchat employees
Snapchat is asking workers to return to the office 80% of the time, or the equivalent of four days a week.
They want workers back from the start of next year.
It’s the latest sign of tech employees receiving less flexibility nearly three years after the pandemic took hold.
It also comes amid a wave of cost-cutting in the tech sector.
The company says in a statement: “We believe that being together in person, while retaining flexibility for our team members, will enhance our ability to deliver on our strategic priorities of growing our community, driving revenue growth, and leading in [augmented reality].”
The new policy will take effect at the end of February.
Twitter quietly cancels COVID misinformation policy
More big changes at Twitter under the new Elon Musk ownership.
This time, its Twitter’s controversial COVID misinformation policy, which the social platform has quietly canceled.
Twitter said in December 2020 that it would begin to label and remove misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.
But Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of how health officials reacted to the coronavirus pandemic.
Musk has committed to free speech on Twitter, which might explain why the change has now been enacted.
But online safety experts have contended his approach has led to an increase in hate speech, harassment and misinformation on the platform.
Twitter users are flocking to smaller platforms
Twitter users flock to smaller platforms, as Musk takes control
Twitter’s instability under Musk’s leadership has resulted in users joining smaller platforms.
The uncertain future of Twitter with mass firings and staff walk outs have caused a sea of doubt. Many are now weighing up their options in case Twitter crumbles over the next few weeks.
Smaller and lesser-known platforms such as Social Hive and Mastodon have become a life raft for Twitter users.
Mastodon is fast becoming known as a Twitter alternative and has 2.4 million active monthly users. It’s a dramatic increase from the 381,000 users the platform had the day Musk closed the Twitter deal.
Mastodon is an open-source, decentralised online software. It allows users to set up their own servers to communicate with each other.
It’s becoming a firm favourite with journalists and academics. With many of the same functions as Twitter, Mastodon has been described as a combination of Twitter and alternate microblogging site, Tumblr.
Hive Social is another social networking site attracting scores of Twitter users since Musk’s reign.
Hive now has 2 million users and recently hit the top of the App Store. Its founder is 24 years old and the platform has only two employees.
With a simple and user-friendly design, Hive has attracted Twitter users searching for a new home in preparation for Twitter’s possible demise under Musk’s impulsive leadership.
If Twitter turns the corner, it will also be very interesting to see if original users abandon Mastodon and Hive Social to return to their Twitter homes.
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