Qantas has announced that it will remove frequent flyer numbers from boarding passes, in a move that has been motivated by the popularity of social media. The airline has dropped the identifying numbers from passes in order to ensure passenger privacy, in an age when people post a vast number of photographs on social platforms.
A spokesperson from Qantas told Executive Traveller that frequent flyer numbers would be withdrawn in order to maintain customer privacy. “Numbers are no longer on digital boarding passes and will gradually come off physical boarding passes over the next few weeks,” the spokesperson commented.
Boarding passes will still contain critical information relating to the frequent flyer program, such as the gold or platinum status of a particular traveler. This is deemed essential in order to make access to airport lounges, priority boarding lanes, and other perks more accessible. But the move will help prevent customers’ accounts from being hacked.
“Customers’ tier status (eg Gold or Platinum) remains visible on boarding passes and Qantas Frequent Flyer numbers can also be found within the Qantas App and on digital Qantas Frequent Flyer cards,” a Qantas spokesperson told Escape.
With passengers sharing an increasing number of photographs of boarding passes on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, hacking has equally become increasingly prevalent. Frequent Flyer membership numbers, combined with the names of the passengers, can offer a potential window into accessing a frequent flyer account.
From this, it can be possible for experienced hackers to visit the airline’s website, and log into a personal booking, not only accessing an entire trip itinerary but also picking up personal details that are extremely private. Some flyers have even found hackers engaging in malicious behavior such as canceling entire bookings, while credit card theft is also a major concern.
Customers of frequent flyer programs, and indeed passengers in general, should also be wary of the barcodes on their travel tickets. These contain all manner of travel information relating to a particular passenger, in a digital form that can be easily scanned at check-in desks, lounges and departure gates.
This is fine for convenience, but it also means that tech experts can use special software in order to read the barcode, even from a photograph of a boarding pass. This means that travelers should be extremely wary about sharing such details on social media, or at the very least use photo-editing software in order to blur any sensitive information.
American Airlines partnership
Qantas also announced recently that it will enhance its partnership with American Airlines. The expanded partnership will provide a raft of new codeshare opportunities, along with benefits for those with frequent flyer memberships. American Airlines and Qantas are set to codeshare on a range of flights out of the United States, all of which have Australia as their final destination.
Qantas had made moves to revamp its frequent flyer program back in June.