Why Qantas is getting rid of frequent flyer numbers on boarding passes

Oct 14, 2019

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Qantas is usually close to the top of our list to fly, thanks to cabin upgrades on the 787 and its simple rewards programme (and no, you don’t have to be travelling to Australia to take advantage of it).

If you find yourself on a Qantas-operated flight soon, though, you’ll notice that your boarding pass will look a little different. Namely, that your frequent flyer number is missing.

The airline said that it’s removing the number to “maintain customer privacy”, according to Executive Traveller — although your status level isn’t going anywhere. The reasoning behind it is simple: Travellers are increasingly posting photos of their boarding passes on social media, leaving themselves vulnerable to hackers in the process — often without even knowing it.

If given access to a boarding pass, hackers can see a plethora of personal passenger information: your frequent flyer number, name and your six-digit PNR (Passenger Name Record) code — and voilà! Not only can someone hack into your booking, but also other personal details such as the last four digits of the credit card you used to book. In theory, a hacker could move your seat or cancel your trip entirely.

While Qantas is taking precautions to protect travelers from malicious hackers, it’s still in your best interest to be careful what you post on social media, no matter which airline you’re flying. When in doubt, play it safe. Having your information stolen isn’t worth the momentary gratification of a travel humble brag on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Tetra Images/Getty Images.

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