How your frequent flyer membership can get you through the 10-day Border Force strike
Airport passengers will see delays as border protection staff go on a 10-day strike. But you can avoid the crowds and wait for your flight in luxury thanks to your frequent flyer membership.
Passengers have been warned to expect delays when flying in and out of international airports as Australian Border Force workers kick off a 10-day strike from Monday 21 September 2015.
The Community and Public Sector Union, which represents the employees of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, are fighting for improved pay and working conditions. The strike was especially triggered by a current proposal that would result in significant cuts in wages of up to $8,000 annually. In an act of protest, frontline border protection staff who process international flights will stop work for two hours every morning and afternoon during peak periods until 30 September.
The Australian Border Force encourages passengers travelling over the next 10 days to arrive early in accordance with your airline’s guidelines and immediately proceed to immigration and customs clearance after checking in. Virgin Australia encourages passengers to arrive at the airport three hours before their flight leaves and Qantas also requests that customers arrive early to avoid any delays. Check your relevant airline’s online travel updates for more information.
However, if you’re a member of a frequent flyer program, you can make use your exclusive perks to avoid inconvenience and delays. Discover some extra tips and tricks to cope with the strike over the next week and a half here.
How frequent flyer members can use their perks to get through the strikes
The Australian Border Force encourages all passengers to arrive at the airport early and check-in as soon as possible to avoid delays. If you belong to a frequent flyer program, it’s likely that you’ll be able to take advantage of your priority check-in privileges to get through the check-in process even quicker.
Once you arrive at the airport, look out for your relevant service desk (e.g. for Qantas passengers, visit the Q Card Reader or Premium Service Desk) to complete your priority check-in.
As well as priority check in, some frequent flyer members can also look forward to priority boarding. If there are some delays, this benefit will reduce the amount of time you have to spend in the chaos of the airport waiting areas.
To take advantage of this bonus, make sure to arrive to the airport on time and listen out for the announcements to know when you can board your flight.
In the case of a delay, your frequent flyer membership could grant you entry into an exclusive airline lounge to pass the time in luxury. VIP lounges generally offer passengers a relaxed environment away from the chaos of airport waiting areas (which could especially come in handy during the strike). Depending on the lounge, you can usually expect complimentary food and beverages, designated entertainment, work and relaxation stations, showering facilities and Wi-Fi that actually works.
If you have a frequent flyer rewards credit card, do some research before arriving to the airport to determine whether your card provides you complimentary lounge access. Entry into the relevant airline lounge could depend on your frequent flyer membership status and flight, so make sure to confirm these details before getting your heart set on decent food and peace and quiet. (There's also a chance that lounge entry will be restricted to paying members if it gets really crowded, but it never hurts to ask!)
While the Australian Border Force ensure travellers that they shouldn’t be alarmed by the strikes, delays are predicted to cause some disruptions. Checking your airline’s travel updates online, arriving at the airport early and listening out for announcements are all suitable ways to stay on top of the delays.
However, if you are a frequent flyer, you may as well take advantage of your exclusive perks to reduce the stress and inconvenience of the delays as much as possible.