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Topic: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-29 15:22:11 and read 6581 times.

Hello dear a.nutters,


just a few days ago I flew BSL-DUS with easyJet. I given the seat 10C, with the suggestion that I board the airplane using the front door, not the aft one.

And about 90% of the passengers used the front stairs to enter the aircraft, thus delaying the aircraft for some minutes more.

Has anything been improved by assigning seats to the passengers in the case of U2? I don't think this idea is helping U2 because all the passengers are herded into a coop just after boarding pass control, with all of them being released at the same time (except those who pay for speedy boarding, of course).


David

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: extspotter
Posted 2012-12-29 18:03:20 and read 6348 times.

I found the same thing on my flights from Gatwck to Rome. The system definitely needs sorting out so that you don't have passengers crossing in the aisle (passengers sat at the front boarding trough the back passing passengers sat at the back boarding through the front, which happened on the outbound). Also boarding when only the front door was open was done all at once rather than even attempting at seat rows, which again would slow the process down. I also miss the idea that I can get a window seat for free by being there early. I don't particularly want to be sat in the middle seat, which I was assigned to both ways. The seat assignments also make no sense, for instance on the way back, in my row were sat 2 pairs and 2 single travellers. Rather than having a pair and a single traveller together as to reduce the dificulty of accessing the aisle from the window, etc, A+B and C+D were the pairs, I was sat in E and another single traveller in F. Makes no sense to me.

[Edited 2012-12-29 18:07:32]

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: abrown532
Posted 2012-12-29 18:35:52 and read 6301 times.

I recently flew BFS-EDI return and on both legs, rather luckily, I was assigned window seats on either side of the aircraft. They do have a sign at their gates telling passenger in certain seat numbers which steps to use but alas alot of passengers just ran for the front steps regardless (possibly as it was raining), this caused a large queue which made me get soaked as I was trying to board the correct steps. Cabin crew seemed not to care about people in 27B boarding through the front steps ahead of me. If I was the dispatcher I would be pretty peeved at this!

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: FI642
Posted 2012-12-29 20:12:03 and read 6207 times.

Zone boarding is the key. A lot of carriers use it now. It could and should speed up boarding. They will eventually get it right!

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: aswissinmad
Posted 2012-12-30 01:44:27 and read 5934 times.

As a Cabin Crew for easyJet, I can share my experience so far with allocated seating.

It is now much faster to board when we use an airbridge. Before, people would just clog the front of the a/c trying to sit in the front rows and hold everyone up behind them. Now they just go to their assigned seats, which for most is in the rear 2/3rd of the plane (the first 5 or 6 rows cost extra and they are mostly empty when we are not full).

When we board from both doors, gate agents usually write on the BP "rear" or "front", but it still remains a challenge for some. Yesterday on all 4 flights, the passengers at row 2 boarded from the rear. I did ask why they did not board at the front and one of them said "row 2 is at the front?" and another one said "there's a queue at the front so I thought I'd board through the rear instead". Tried to explain that this behaviour will only slow down boarding but by the way he looked at me, he obviously did not get it.
I must say, though, that about 80% of pax get it right, and allocated seating is hugely more popular than free seating.

We could trial boarding by zones, but I think the more complicated you make it the worst it would be, especially from those countries where English is not commonly spoken or where queuing at the right place and in an orderly fashion is not part of their culture.

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: GCT64
Posted 2012-12-30 03:22:14 and read 5763 times.

So far I have done about 10 flights on assigned seating, of which I think 1 (or perhaps 2) have been middle seats (I don't pay for seat selection or speedy boarding as my flights are 1h30m at most: LTN-EDI, LGW-MUC, LTN-SXF).

My views to date:

Benefits: Not having to rush to be first in the queue and stand for an age to get a desirable seat, I can now wait to be the last to board*
(*assuming one can get overhead bin space   )
Downsides: Unlikely to have an empty middle seat (unless you are in the paying bit "up front"), no flexibility for the pax to adjust seating for max collective comfort (all crammed in at the back, with lots of space in the exits and up front - the crew told me that they have been told not to let you move seats)

I will, no doubt, do another 40+ flights on EZY this year and EZY will refine their allocation system so the end of 2013 report book will probably be different.

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: asctty
Posted 2012-12-30 06:56:50 and read 4695 times.

I use many LCCs for my regular trips to Spain, Easyjet, Jet2, Ryanair, and Monarch. All these appear to have different approaches to seat allocation and boarding. IMHO, allocated seats are a far better approach to not having them. Ryanair will always have a cattle herding issue until they change as they are far more concerned with turnaround time than passenger wishes. This isn't all that bad I guess as, in my experience, they are usually on time.
The airport you depart from also makes a difference. I mainly fly to ALC and MJV (for business I may add). ALC has everyone queued at the gate well before the aircraft has even arrived. Previously, Easyjet walked up and down the queue offering PAX priority boarding if they put their hand luggage in the hold. I guess this is due to the poor overhead luggage space on the A320 aircraft they use. Some PAX took this option not realising that they will have to wait at the carousel at they other end kind of negating the first off principle .
Jet2 FAs seem to have a friendlier approach to managing PAX onto the aircraft and therefor have less hassle clearing the aisles which is great. They have to date also used zoned boarding at EMA (The Jet2 onboard experience has been generally better all round!)
Monarch is the odd one out in my experience. They are a mix of all the others. They offer allocated seats (extra legroom, front seat etc. extra as the rest) and a reasonable in-flight experience. They use zoned boarding at EMA and LGW, but it all goes wrong on the aircraft during boarding. Again I think this is due to the limited overhead bin space on the A320s.

In summary, I think that allocated seats are better, zoned boarding helps, more bin space to accommodate all the trolley cases would be even better, but the overall boarding experience varies by airport and aircraft type. Non-frequent flyer PAX cannot be expected to know what to expect and therefore do on occasion hold up the show.

One thing to bear in mind though, no matter how efficiently you get on the aircraft to depart on time, it won't make it any quicker through passport control and baggage collection at the other end, especially at EMA, MAN or LGW! Also if you treat the whole service by all the LCCs as a flying bus and just get on with it, then you won't get unnecessarily wound up. It's not worth the increased blood pressure  

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-31 04:57:21 and read 1983 times.

Picture from that evening - one does not see all the people queuing up at the front stairs, while the aft stairs weren't clogged up at all.



I was among the first third to board. And behind me, many more people joined the queue at the first staircase.

Quoting extspotter (Reply 1):

Perhaps they filled up the whole aircraft that way - giving the passengers sequential seat numbers. Perhaps this makes sense, because most of the people will board the 319 at the front door anyway... 

My plane was nearly full (I counted only /- 7 empty seats apart from the front row with the extra legroom). So I assume the empty seats belonged to people who pre-selected their seats online, but did not show up for the flight.

Quoting abrown532 (Reply 2):
They do have a sign at their gates telling passenger in certain seat numbers which steps to use but alas alot of passengers just ran for the front steps regardless

And we had good weather then... at BSL, we only have two boarding groups, 1 (speedy boarding and disabled people), and 2 for the rest. They could reduce their own workload if they just let the passengers walk to the A/C as soon they have cleared the boarding pass check...

Quoting FI642 (Reply 3):

I hope so. (I traveled back from DUS by bus, btw.  )

Quoting aswissinmad (Reply 4):
When we board from both doors, gate agents usually write on the BP "rear" or "front", but it still remains a challenge for some.

Well, I was told to use the front door, and I suppose other people were told the same. I think it's time for an IQ test before purchasing tickets.

Waiting for a long time in this coop just after the boarding pass control made many of us tired and bored. Under such circumstances most will have forgot where to enter the A/C.

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 5):
Benefits: Not having to rush to be first in the queue and stand for an age to get a desirable seat, I can now wait to be the last to board*

That's great, really. But my experiences with U2 are mixed.

BSL: After boarding pass control, all passengers are herded into a coop. They all walk to the A/C at once.

GVA: finger dock. Once cleared, one can walk to the A/C. Great.

SXF: can't complain, because I was the last to board anyway. (On the way to the airport, the old Volkswagen bus of a friend broke several traffic rules.)

At LTN and AMS, the experience was really pleasant.


David

[Edited 2012-12-31 04:58:02]

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: GCT64
Posted 2012-12-31 09:50:22 and read 1763 times.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 7):
At LTN ....... the experience was really pleasant.

I hope you aren't referring to the downstairs "pig pens" at Gates 14-18, because if those are "pleasant" then some of the other airports you visit must be horrible!  

Seriously, Luton can be variable depending on which gate is allocated. I fly domestic mostly and so tend to get the downstairs rooms which are too small and badly/barely air conditioned in the Summer.

With allocated seating, and hence no need to stand up queuing for half an hour, Luton's gates in the new finger (the "20"s) are actually reasonably pleasant if a little spartan.

Topic: RE: U2's Experience With Assigned Seats
Username: flyingturtle
Posted 2012-12-31 12:12:49 and read 1668 times.

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 8):

Well, I've been to LTN in October 2006. Upon arrival I remember walking down a really long hallway (the gates 14 to 18, I suppose), but the departure at LTN was pleasant.   I don't remember a pig pen.


David


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