Qantas-Terminal-3-300x168Lessons learned:

–  Know the experience you want to create for your customers, whether they physically walk into your store or virtually visit your website.

–  Design the flow to make your audience’s job easy.  Define what “easy” means to you and your customers: e.g. easy to feel comfortable, easy to find stuff, easy to maneuver etc.

But, the most important lesson I learned:

Customer satisfaction doesn’t mean doing everything for your customers.  Sometime teaching them how to fish is a form of customer service.

Yikes! It was too early when I had to head to the airport to catch a flight from Sydney to Melbourne.  I was still half-asleep when I paid the taxi driver and I dragged myself into Sydney airport’s domestic Terminal 3.  Surprisingly, I was pleasantly greeted by the clean, minimalist and unconventional layout of the check-in area.

In a typical US airport, self-check-in kiosks are crammed in front of agent-assisted check-in counters.  The mingling of self and agent assisted check-in lines can create chaos and confusion.

You feel exhausted and stressed the minute you see a big crowd in front of the airline’s check-in counters. 

The marketing slogan of “so-and-so Airlines wishes you a pleasant travelling experience…” seems phony and insincere!


the layout of the Sydney terminal ‘encourages’ passengers to be self-sufficient. 

When you walk into Terminal 3, you see space…a lot of space.  You immediately see hubs of self check-in kiosks at the two sides of the terminal and a slew of self-baggage-check conveyer belts 10 feet behind the hubs of kiosks.

You proceed to the self-check-in kiosks to print your boarding pass and baggage stickers (yes, your own baggage stickers).  With your stickers, you swiftly move to the conveyer belts behind the kiosks and drop off your baggage. 

A computer will give you instructions to ensure your bags are properly checked-in.  From there you simply walk to the center of terminal where the security gate is located.

The flow is intuitive and minimizes chaos. 

I don’t see many agents, as the design seems to reduce the numbers of agents needed at the counters.  I can tell the airport and Qantas have given a lot of thought to the layout.

It took me 5 minutes to get my own boarding pass and baggage sticker and 6 minutes to run my baggage through the self check-in (a first-time user).  I proceeded to the security gate in 11 minutes.  Great!  I still had one more hour before the boarding time.  I used that hour to make up some of the lost sleep.  Awesome! 




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Pam Didner

Posted on

May 31, 2012

Global Marketing Blog, Marketing Know-Hows