The codes on boarding passes can be a mystery to passengers, and they’re not all good.
SSSS, for example, is one you don’t want to see — it means you’ve been picked for dreaded secondary security screening, which is virtually guaranteed to derail your plans for a smooth and easy pre-flight experience.
But other codes are a really good thing, such as this new one that’s started to appear on Virgin Australia’s boarding passes.
A special symbol will appear on the digital boarding passes of passengers who have self-identified as anxious flyers as part of a new program by Virgin Australia.
Under the program, those passengers will get extra support to cope with their journey, from dedicated information about easing flight anxiety, to having cabin crew drop by their seat to make sure they’re OK.
All they have to do to be part of the Nervous Flyers program is tick a box when they book their flight.
They’ll then have access to a range of extra support from the airline, which includes personalised emails with health and wellness advice and behind-the-scenes technical information about the airline’s operations, a positive affirmation text the day before the flight, the ability to access meditations on the in-flight entertainment system, and some extra attention and reassurance from the cabin crew if they need it.
Virgin Australia said more than 1 in 10 passengers felt uneasy about flying, and this Australian-first program aims to support their health and wellbeing.
“Our research tells us more than 11 per cent of our guests experience high levels of nervousness about travelling, and that they want information and support to help them through their next flight,” the airline’s acting chief operations officer Stuart Aggs said.
“The Nervous Flyers program allows us to connect with our passengers throughout a number of touchpoints during their journey. Whether it’s sharing breathing techniques from one of our expert partners or a video to help put passengers at ease about turbulence, we want our guests to know we care and we’re here to support them.”
The airline first announced the new program at a “mindfulness flight” with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and not-for-profit group Smiling Mind in October.
The Nervous Flyer program is available on all Virgin Australia-operated flights when booked at least seven days in advance of travel.
When booking, select “Specific Assistance”/Request “Nervous Flyer”, or do it afterwards through “Manage Your Booking” or by calling the Virgin Australia Guest Contact.
The program is another major announcement from Virgin Australia, which said last week it was Australia’s first airline to allow infants a dedicated checked baggage allowance when flying on domestic, international short haul and international long haul routes.