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DL New Boarding Process  
User currently offlineDeltaFFinDFW From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1449 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 9009 times:

Just saw this on DeltaNet. I never really like the NW boarding process - seemed like a hoard of people getting on at once, but we will see..


May 8, 2009

Airport Customer Service will begin a new passenger boarding process on May 19. The new four-zone process, in use by Northwest, employs an open-boarding method that starts with first class passengers, then elite-level SkyMiles members, and then remaining passengers from the rear of the cabin to the front.

With the new four-zone process, passengers are randomly distributed throughout the cabin. And there are fewer announcements for the agents and less confusion with passengers boarding out of order, said Kim Diaz, project leader-ACS.

“The new process keeps Delta’s current general zone format and maintains the integrity of Zones 1 and 2,” Kim said. “The biggest change will be open boarding in the economy cabin, splitting the cabin in half at the appropriate mid-point. This will allow for easier bag stowage as the rear bins fill up and are closed as Zone 4 passengers are coming on board.”

ACS now uses a reverse-pyramid process that combines a window-middle-aisle approach with a back-to-front method that creates nine zones.

27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8913 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 8969 times:

Also to note is that the General Boarding lane will be closed off during Zones 1-2. All First Class/Elite customers will only board over the Breezeway lane. This is much closer to what CO has successfully done with EliteAccess boarding, and it's good to see DL standardizing the boarding operation.

User currently offlineLipeGIG From Brazil, joined May 2005, 11459 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8939 times:
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Quoting DeltAirlines (Reply 1):
Also to note is that the General Boarding lane will be closed off during Zones 1-2. All First Class/Elite customers will only board over the Breezeway lane. This is much closer to what CO has successfully done with EliteAccess boarding, and it's good to see DL standardizing the boarding operation

Agree as any improvement is very welcome. Hope it got better results than the current one.



New York + Rio de Janeiro = One of the best combinations !
User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8920 times:

I have found that in hub cities, many economy passengers are not ready to board 25-30 minutes before flight time (possibly still arriving from connecting flights or still stretching) so you board a alot of people and then have 2/3 of the rest of the plane trickle on over the last 20 minutes of boarding..... all the while the gate agent is making announcements trying to get people on when there aren't a whole lot of people there.
This isn't necessarily true with delayed flights, int'l flights, or flights with heavy local passenger loads but domestic flights out of hubs are the majority of the DL/NW system.


User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5236 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8890 times:

Well, I'll just miss the new process. Doing STL-MEM-MSY on 5/12 and returning on 5/15.


The best IFE: A window seat and a good book.
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8805 times:



Quoting LipeGIG (Reply 2):
Agree as any improvement is very welcome. Hope it got better results than the current one.

It probably still won't stop folks whose zone(s) haven't been called for from crowding around the gate area near the check-in desks and the doorway. It doesn't matter what type of boarding process is used, folks by nature will crowd around that area. I've had Zone 5 or 6 boarding and have had to wade through the Zone 7 and 8 folks that were crowding around the boarding area. They can make all of the announcements they want, but folks will inevitably crowd around in a herd, fearing that they won't get a seat or that they'll miss the flight if they don't get to the boarding area when they start boarding.

Ideally, zone boarding should work, but some folks miss boarding with their zone and that puts a kink in the plans. While alternating between the back of the a/c and the front of the a/c does speed up the process, you nearly always have someone who did not board with their group and while they're putting their stuff into the overhead bin, they end up keeping those whose zone is towards the back of the a/c from moving to their zone, and in turn, that slows down the process. At least with a widebody, you have the dual aisles, so if someone is causing a backup in one of the aisles, you can usually weave your way around it.


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16908 posts, RR: 51
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8782 times:

My experience with NWA this past Summer HNL-MSP was not good, the boarding process was a disaster. Not a good way to begin a flight, people were getting worked up and frustrated. Better to keep folks sitting in the gate area than to swarm the gate.


Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8737 times:



Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
Better to keep folks sitting in the gate area than to swarm the gate.

Unfortunately, not too much the agents can do to stop the "herd mentality" at boarding. Even when airlines were still boarding by rows, folks whose rows were not called would herd around the boarding area waiting to get onboard .

I'll start making my way to the boarding area right around the time the zone prior to mine is called. I'll hang back far enough that I don't impede those whose zone(s) have already been called.

I think that one thing that possibly causes some of this is the location of the upgrade/standby screen at the gates (At least in regards to the setup @ ATL). You've got folks crowding around it waiting to see if they've snagged an upgrade or are getting a seat at all. They end up spilling over into the boarding line and those trying to board have to maneuver around them.


User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5797 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8634 times:



Quoting Srbmod (Reply 5):
folks will inevitably crowd around in a herd, fearing that they won't get a seat or that they'll miss the flight if they don't get to the boarding area when they start boarding.

Why would you think people crowd out of a fear of missing the flight or not getting their seat? That would seem irrational. For me the entire reason I "crowd" is solely because of overhead bin space and making sure I have space for my bag(s). I want to be the first in my section to hand the gate agent my pass.

Tuggg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineMMEPHX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8509 times:



Quoting Tugger (Reply 8):
Why would you think people crowd out of a fear of missing the flight or not getting their seat? That would seem irrational. For me the entire reason I "crowd" is solely because of overhead bin space and making sure I have space for my bag(s). I want to be the first in my section to hand the gate agent my pass.

I've never seen much real difference in the boarding times between the DL/US etc. style of multiple zones based on status/seat location and the WN combination of the boarding groups and open seating on board. (I know open seating isn't everyones preference) Except the DL style often seems to take a little bit longer. There are often so many elites boarding in Zone 1 & 2 that the supposed efficiencies of then loading, Window, Middle, Aisle seats are often defeated by half an aircraft full of elites that are sitting in the aisle seats and have to get up and move around! Zone boarding works in a perfect world where everyone turns up at the gate for their zone and no one is boarded ahead of time (elites etc.) that are sat in seats that would be more typically in a zone 7 or 8. I'm not saying elites shouldn't be allowed to board early just that by doing so it mucks up the perfect world efficiency scenario of boarding by zone.

As for crowding the boarding area, I've never quite figured out why almost the entire passenger load crowds the gate as soon as Zone 1 is called, as you have a guaranteed seat with a number on it! There must be some way to organize the boarding/seating area into zones for people to line up in, similar to the WN A1-30, 31-60 etc. process. If it is the valued overhead space then maybe airlines should start enforcing the carry on limits to allow sufficient space....there are some real bin hogs out there.


User currently offlineEghansen From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 8509 times:



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 3):
I have found that in hub cities, many economy passengers are not ready to board 25-30 minutes before flight time

It doesn't only happen in hubs. I board flights in San Diego (all O&D) and the gate agent runs through the whole boarding process, then reaches the "boarding all rows on flight no...." announcement. By then, it is 15 minutes to go time, I get on the aircraft and there are 25 people scattered throughout economy. I get excited thinking I can change my seat to something better, but by the time we depart the entire economy section is full.

It may only be a California thing, but people out here like to linger at Starbucks until the last minute before boarding their flight.


User currently offlineSAN88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 117 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 8453 times:



Quoting Eghansen (Reply 10):
It may only be a California thing,

HAHAHA it might be true. People think its ok to board at push time.



sit on the Captain side when you fly into SAN
User currently offlineType-Rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 8273 times:

But what can be done to stop the people in row 35 from putting their carry ons in the bins above row 10? This always aggravated me. In rear first loading a lot of times by the time they call the front of the coach section all those bins are full....

User currently offlineB767300ER From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 184 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7914 times:
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I find the major problem with boarding coach passengers has to do with passengers using
overhead bins for their luggage over seats that they are not seated in. I am among the very few
F/A's who monitor the overhead bins being used by passengers seated in those seats first,
then allow the bins to be used by any other passengers. This also allows an easier de-
boarding process as passengers are not moving agaist the flow of the other passengers.
With more cabing bags this problem has to be addressed by the airlines.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6161 times:

Quoting B767300ER (Reply 13):

I see that a lot also. Guys seated in the rear or near the rear will stuff their bag in a random bin near the front as they walk back for whatever reason and there is maybe 10 people on the plane that early so surely there's room in the back. Passengers that are up front get to their row and find the bins full; now they have to treck back a few seats to stow the things and this creates a problen when deplaning.

Another thing that gets me is folks that put the smallest bags inthe overhead that can easily fit under the seat and also not putting bags wheels first; rather the have it turned to the side taking up two spaces. I usually see FAs having to turn then around to get more bags to fit...

[Edited 2009-05-09 18:32:13]


What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlinePBIflyguy From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 248 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6114 times:



Quoting B767300ER (Reply 13):
am among the very few
F/A's who monitor the overhead bins being used by passengers seated in those seats first,
then allow the bins to be used by any other passengers

You aren't alone. I always keep an eye on that.......


User currently offlineTeo747 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 6069 times:

I like the NW "everyone at once" boarding process - no matter how you try to organize things, there will always be people crowding around the doorway for whatever reason. The reason I like it is because I can choose to board when I want in order to (hopefully) make things more convenient for myself and the other passengers. If I have a window seat, I like to join the crowd and board early so I can get into my seat early on and not have to cause a holdup while the passengers seated in the middle/aisle seat in my row have to get up and let me in. If I have an aisle seat, I like to wait until most other passengers have boarded so I probably won't have to get up for the passengers in the window/middle. If I'm in a middle seat, I'm probably still in the bar when boarding starts trying to forget about being in a middle seat.

I can see how the overhead bin space issue could be annoying, although I tend to travel light so I can usually fit my stuff under the seat in front if need be.


User currently offlineTheGov From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 420 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5537 times:



Quoting Srbmod (Reply 7):
Even when airlines were still boarding by rows, folks whose rows were not called would herd around the boarding area waiting to get onboard .

When I was a gate agent back in the early 90's, every now and then just to mess with people, (I know, I was an evil gate agent, but it was my social experiment), I would call for boarding of rows 40-49 on a plane that had only 36 rows. Sure enough, some people would get up and present their boarding pass to the flight attendant (when they used to take boarding passes) and would be let on. Mind you, I only did this after first class had boarded, because I wanted to see who was listening and paying attention.

But in all honesty, there is not a real effecient way to board an aircraft. Someone in the "herd" is going to get nervous and want to get on therefore messing up the whole boarding scheme. The goal to an on-time departure back then was board early so your novice flyers wouldn't interfere too much with your pro flyers.



Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5527 times:

I am the only one who waits in the gate area, far from the counter, until every single other passenger has boarded, and until they call my name on the intercom? I admit this approach obviously wouldn't work if everyone did it. But it saves me a lot of stress, I just sit there, and then go straight into the plane. There is usually still a line, but it's smaller than if I boarded in the middle of the process.

User currently offlineTheGMan From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 687 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5510 times:

This is interesting, US Airways announced 2 days ago that they would be switching from the reverse pyramid to pretty much the same as this DL version.

User currently offlineWarreng24 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 708 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 5471 times:



Quoting MMEPHX (Reply 9):
as you have a guaranteed seat with a number on it!

You may have a seat number on that BP, but you don't have a overhead bin space allocation.

Everyone crowds to board first cares more about the bin space for their crap.


User currently offlineNWADC9 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4898 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5233 times:

So DL's following NW's footsteps and going with the glorified cattle call protocol?

I sure miss boarding by rows...  sigh  I know Midwest boards by rows, anyone else?



Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
User currently offlineDeltAirlines From United States of America, joined May 1999, 8913 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5175 times:



Quoting NWADC9 (Reply 21):
I know Midwest boards by rows, anyone else?

CO boards by rows...goes F, EliteAccess, then rows from back to front.

Quoting Jawed (Reply 18):
I am the only one who waits in the gate area, far from the counter, until every single other passenger has boarded, and until they call my name on the intercom? I admit this approach obviously wouldn't work if everyone did it. But it saves me a lot of stress, I just sit there, and then go straight into the plane. There is usually still a line, but it's smaller than if I boarded in the middle of the process.

I'll do that if I'm in coach and don't need overhead space (just traveling with my briefcase). 98% of the time though, I need the overhead space for my rollaboard, so I'll board during the elite call (the joys of having elite status on SkyTeam and Star Alliance).


User currently offlineMSPNWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 2024 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5017 times:



Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 4):
Well, I'll just miss the new process. Doing STL-MEM-MSY on 5/12 and returning on 5/15.

Ha, I'll be just the opposite. I'll be leaving with DL on the 26th.

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 5):
Ideally, zone boarding should work, but some folks miss boarding with their zone and that puts a kink in the plans. While alternating between the back of the a/c and the front of the a/c does speed up the process, you nearly always have someone who did not board with their group and while they're putting their stuff into the overhead bin, they end up keeping those whose zone is towards the back of the a/c from moving to their zone, and in turn, that slows down the process. At least with a widebody, you have the dual aisles, so if someone is causing a backup in one of the aisles, you can usually weave your way around it.

Exactly. No matter how orderly the plan is, is just doesn't end up working out that well, particularly if it's a single-aisle aircraft. There's simply no perfect way to call passengers. It just takes one to mess things up.

Quoting Teo747 (Reply 16):
I like the NW "everyone at once" boarding process - no matter how you try to organize things, there will always be people crowding around the doorway for whatever reason. The reason I like it is because I can choose to board when I want in order to (hopefully) make things more convenient for myself and the other passengers. If I have a window seat, I like to join the crowd and board early so I can get into my seat early on and not have to cause a holdup while the passengers seated in the middle/aisle seat in my row have to get up and let me in. If I have an aisle seat, I like to wait until most other passengers have boarded so I probably won't have to get up for the passengers in the window/middle. If I'm in a middle seat, I'm probably still in the bar when boarding starts trying to forget about being in a middle seat.

I can see how the overhead bin space issue could be annoying, although I tend to travel light so I can usually fit my stuff under the seat in front if need be.

You know I don't mind it either. I remember when NW caught a little flak here when they announced the change, but I found that it really didn't make a difference. I liked the flexibility. If I wanted to board early, I could, and if I wanted to wait, I could do that too.

Quoting TheGov (Reply 17):
When I was a gate agent back in the early 90's, every now and then just to mess with people, (I know, I was an evil gate agent, but it was my social experiment), I would call for boarding of rows 40-49 on a plane that had only 36 rows. Sure enough, some people would get up and present their boarding pass to the flight attendant (when they used to take boarding passes) and would be let on. Mind you, I only did this after first class had boarded, because I wanted to see who was listening and paying attention.

LOL. Things haven't changed. They still get up like a herd of cattle even if they're doing it wrong.

Quoting NWADC9 (Reply 21):

I sure miss boarding by rows... sigh I know Midwest boards by rows, anyone else?

Does FL? Gosh, I just flew with them 5 months ago and can't remember already. I thought it was row boarding, but I could be imagining things.


User currently offlineBrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4416 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4409 times:



Quoting B767300ER (Reply 13):
This also allows an easier de-
boarding process as passengers are not moving agaist the flow of the other passengers.
With more cabing bags this problem has to be addressed by the airlines.

This does not have to be addressed. the airlines should just raise their ticket prices $50 and quit charging for the first bag. You will get more people willing to check their luggage. Also if there was more scrutiny for luggage being considered hand luggage and put in the hold there would not be as many problems. This is clearly the fault of the airlines by wanting to charge for luggage and keep the ticket prices low, even though they nickle and dime you to death any more.



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
25 Mayor : Not really. This problem has been going on for years, LONG before anyone was charging for the first bag.
26 DLDTW1962 : Ok. First. I have to agree with everything on here. 2nd. If the airlines would stop charging for checked bags. We would not have this problem of every
27 DeltAirlines : All the bag fees have done is seemingly increase the number of gate checks - even before baggage fees, bins were generally full - sure, you might hav
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