Many would remember the good old days when Qantas and British Airways used to occupy the entire two rows of desks at Singapore Changi Airport. They were open almost all day too! When the airlines went their own way a couple of years ago, Qantas chose to retain two whole rows of check-in counters for themselves and Jetstar. For as long as I could remember, they still had at least four priority desks up until June this year – when I last flew out of Singapore.

Long story short, last month I was caught well unaware at Singapore Changi Airport. I arrived at the airport two hours before my Qantas flight and I was flying economy that night. Walking towards the check-in area, I no longer saw the familiar rows of Qantas check-in counters but a mess so I asked for directions to the business class desk. I was pointed to the ‘Premier Check-In Lounge’ (for business and first class passengers) which is of course a shared lounge for several airlines’ premium passengers – not just OneWorld. It was surprisingly quiet in that lounge, but the desk agent had to shoo me away upon hearing that I was (only) a Oneworld Sapphire flying economy. Great. I was told to queue outside. Apparently, that area was only open to First/Business passengers and Oneworld Emerald. 

In case, you are not aware – below is what was published on Qantas’ website (no mention of Sapphire and Ruby) :

Economy check-in for Qantas flights is available at row 5.

Check-in for First, Business, and Oneworld Emerald passengers is available at Singapore Airport Terminal Services Premier Check-in at the end of row 4.

Check-in for Qantas Club passengers is at row 5.

And, here is what was published on Oneworld’s website as being the benefits for Sapphire members :

Access to priority Business Class check-in

Priority boarding

Access to preferred or pre-reserved seating when offered by the airline operating the flight

Priority standby and waitlisting (where offered)

Access to more than 650 airport lounges (with one guest) when travelling internationally, including premium Business Class and frequent flyer lounges, regardless of the class of service flown that day. For details about the OneWorld lounge access policy, click here.

As we both fly out of Singapore regularly and have been doing so for many years, we would really love to see Qantas’ using the entire row at the airport instead of the premium check-in lounge which is very small and can be very crowded as it is shared by many airlines.

For as long as I can remember, Qantas used to occupy an entire row or check-in desks at Changi Airport, until recently. The previous arrangement was so much preferable because it was very spacious and more organised, not to mention, it does give a better feel of exclusivity to your most loyal customers. Having just 2 Priority desks are grossly insufficient with so many flights departing around the same time and the queues for the Priority lanes were just as bad and the lack of signages seems to make it worse.

You know, Changi being one of the best airports in the world and Qantas as one of the top ten airlines of 2016, have always pride themselves in customer experiences, innovations and services. I really hope they can look into ironing out these teething issues because we love this airport, this airline and this alliance – Oneworld. Please do not let your members down.