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Goodbye Gate Agent, Hello Self Boarding.  
User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7359 posts, RR: 85
Posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17422 times:
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DL is leading the pack for US flag carriers to move away from the drudge gate agent. Charging passengers a fee to exit the plane first; save the money and let the work force shrink.

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2012/0...rnstile-boarding/?intcmp=obnetwork

66 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinetonystan From Ireland, joined Jan 2006, 1447 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17349 times:

I love new ideas and I love automation for just such things. For example I absolutely love online/mobile phone or Self Service checkins.

However I also like to know that there is someone nearby to phsycially talk to face to face should something go wrong or should I have a query and not some premium phone line to I can be connected to an agent thousands of miles away in some dank call center.

Automating boarding is an obvious move and Im amazed its taken so long to implement considering it is something less complicated then check in and sure its been automated for some years now. But I would be very concerned if at least one gate agent was not present, from a security perspective but also from a basic customer service perspective.

Also the more ground staff you remove due to automation, the fewer ground staff there will be available on the day should situations occur such as weather/security alerts/general cancellations etc meaning service recovery will become an even lesser priority and even more highly strung ground staff freaking out from the sheer number of irate customers screaming at them for something which is not really their fault!



My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
User currently offlinecatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3091 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17248 times:

For an airline who has based an ad campaign as "all airlines are equal, but it's the Delta people who differentiate us" they sure do everything they can to minimize any interaction with their employees. Additionally, will they be passing any of the savings from the efficiencies on to us, the customer?

Quoting fxramper (Thread starter):
Charging passengers a fee to exit the plane first

I didn't see that in the article. Is that something they're doing as well?


User currently offlineKDAYflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17220 times:

This may not be the brightest move an airline has considered. I agree with the above post that at least 1 person in the gate area for unexpected problems is needed.

User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12281 posts, RR: 35
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17131 times:
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Quoting catiii (Reply 2):
I didn't see that in the article. Is that something they're doing as well?

My guess is that it's a snide remark in reference to Economy Comfort seating towards the front of the plane.



“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6730 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17131 times:

Quoting KDAYflyer (Reply 3):
This may not be the brightest move an airline has considered. I agree with the above post that at least 1 person in the gate area for unexpected problems is needed.

And that's why this idea won't really save the airlines much. With U.S. carriers, most only use one gate agent to do boarding for narrowbody and RJ's. You really can't eliminate that person as there are constant problems with people's boarding passes. I've rarely seen a flight where there weren't at least a handful of people's whose boarding passes would not scan...requiring agent to do additional work. Plus you have people who don't really have a boarding pass, but try to use it as one anyway.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23299 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 17062 times:

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
And that's why this idea won't really save the airlines much. With U.S. carriers, most only use one gate agent to do boarding for narrowbody and RJ's.

But consider what WN does at many stations: 3 agents for 2 gates. One agent staffs each gate, and the third handles a podium in the middle for two gates. With a self boarding process that works well, they could go to 2 agents for the two gates, with both agents at the podium. That's a third fewer agents but twice as many agents available for all tasks other than taking boarding passes. The problem is exactly what you have identified, though. There are too many hiccups with boarding for this to work for the foreseeable future.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineEricR From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 1904 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16958 times:

Smart move by DL to reduce costs. Train stations have been using this concept for years. There is no need to pay an individual to stand at the gate and scan boarding passes.

It is funny how changes towards more automated ways of conducting business create such controversy when in the grand scheme of things, it is no big deal (or overhyped by the media).

When ATMs became a common, people complained because of the lack of human intervention. Now ATMs are the perferred method of conducting banking needs versus the old method of standing in a bank line.


User currently offlineghifty From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 891 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16917 times:

Quoting tonystan (Reply 1):

I love new ideas and I love automation for just such things. For example I absolutely love online/mobile phone or Self Service checkins.

Automation is good for the consumer, but what about the layoffs?

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 4):
My guess is that it's a snide remark in reference to Economy Comfort seating towards the front of the plane.

Yeah, because Y+ has absolutely no other perks.   



Fly Delta Jets
User currently offlineaffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16856 times:

This have been used by SK on their domestic routes for years. If you have a frequent flyer card or a credit card used for your booking that will be used in lieu of the boarding pass, you slide it through and go through a turnstile where you also get your ticket showing your name and seat number. Very efficient and simple. However, it can only be used by those who haven't checked baggage. There were trials with a machine that took your fingerprint at check-in of baggage and then you had to do the same thing at the gate but I don't know how that panned out..

Cheers,
Thomas



I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlinesomeone83 From Norway, joined Sep 2006, 3508 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16803 times:

Quoting affirmative (Reply 9):
This have been used by SK on their domestic routes for years. If you have a frequent flyer card or a credit card used for your booking that will be used in lieu of the boarding pass, you slide it through and go through a turnstile where you also get your ticket showing your name and seat number. Very efficient and simple. However, it can only be used by those who haven't checked baggage. There were trials with a machine that took your fingerprint at check-in of baggage and then you had to do the same thing at the gate but I don't know how that panned out..

Lufthansa has also done this for years at MUC

and you can self-board with SK even with luggage now  


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16762 times:

Quoting ghifty (Reply 8):
Automation is good for the consumer, but what about the layoffs?

Jobs lost to automation are jobs that have no place in the market anymore. Those people will have to find/create new jobs as part of the economic cycle that has been going on for hundreds of years now.


User currently offlinecatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3091 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16729 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 7):
Smart move by DL to reduce costs. Train stations have been using this concept for years. There is no need to pay an individual to stand at the gate and scan boarding passes.

It is funny how changes towards more automated ways of conducting business create such controversy when in the grand scheme of things, it is no big deal (or overhyped by the media).

When ATMs became a common, people complained because of the lack of human intervention. Now ATMs are the perferred method of conducting banking needs versus the old method of standing in a bank line

I don't have an objection based on that. What I do have an objection to is the whole notion of DL running ads like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Ltz8d16kE&feature=relmfu saying it comes down to the Delta people, but then trying to eliminate every opportunity to interact with those people.


User currently offlineglbltrvlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 770 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16690 times:

Quoting someone83 (Reply 10):
Lufthansa has also done this for years at MUC

And I've seen these at FRA as well.


User currently offlinesunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2058 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16692 times:

I see a new reality TV show, The Gates Of Hell. Staring Self Boarding passengers getting into fist fights over who goes first.

Up next TSA robots, to shake you down. Doesn't matter if you male, female, or GLTG. Equal all around.



Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6730 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 16636 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):
There are too many hiccups with boarding for this to work for the foreseeable future.

Indeed. From what I've heard, DL wasn't really thrilled with the results from this trial.

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 11):
Those people will have to find/create new jobs as part of the economic cycle that has been going on for hundreds of years now.

Maybe, but as automation has really cranked up over the past few decades, we've seen that automation eliminates jobs faster than they can be created.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 20334 posts, RR: 59
Reply 16, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16562 times:

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 5):
And that's why this idea won't really save the airlines much. With U.S. carriers, most only use one gate agent to do boarding for narrowbody and RJ's. You really can't eliminate that person as there are constant problems with people's boarding passes. I've rarely seen a flight where there weren't at least a handful of people's whose boarding passes would not scan...requiring agent to do additional work. Plus you have people who don't really have a boarding pass, but try to use it as one anyway.

And then you have little old ladies who can't figure out how to use the newfangled machine and snarl up the line. Not to mention accessibility for blind and other disabled passengers.

There needs to be one person working the gate for situations the system just can't handle.


User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7564 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16402 times:

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 15):

Indeed. From what I've heard, DL wasn't really thrilled with the results from this trial.

NW tried it at a couple stations too. Don't know if its true or not but customer feedback wasn't so hot on it.



"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16333 times:

This is actually old news.

Delta Testing Self Boarding Gates -ATL (by FlyASAGuy2005 Mar 19 2012 in Civil Aviation)

Unfortunately, the picture I took of it that was in the thread is gone because I deleted it from my profile page.

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 15):
Indeed. From what I've heard, DL wasn't really thrilled with the results from this trial.

They weren't. It's already been pulled from T05 and the concept has been shelved for now (for ATL at least).



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlinebohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2748 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16306 times:

Quoting catiii (Reply 2):
Quoting fxramper (Thread starter):
Charging passengers a fee to exit the plane first

I didn't see that in the article. Is that something they're doing as well?

There was an article in USA Today about that idea:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...-get-off-a-plane-faster/56073708/1


User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16240 times:
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WOW... hope it works, but there are enough "un-educted" people and "un-practiced" travellers that it will take some "getting used to".

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups".


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21857 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16243 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 7):
Train stations have been using this concept for years.

At least in the US, train tickets are checked mainly on the train, so there'd be no need for an agent to supervise getting on the train anyway. And there aren't the security concerns on trains that there are on aircraft. So the situations aren't really comparable.

Quoting sunking737 (Reply 14):
Staring Self Boarding passengers getting into fist fights over who goes first.

I can't wait until someone in Group 4 tries to board with Group 2, gets rejected by the turnstile, but still holds everyone else up as they keep trying to scan their boarding pass, insisting that they should be able to get on the plane then.   

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5533 posts, RR: 13
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16245 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 6):

Actually it's two different departments. At WN, the "Operations Agent" operates the jetway, pre-boards WCHR pax while the podium person is soley customer service. Two different unions.

This is going to take getting used to as I'm with FL and this position is a "Gate Agent" under Customer Service.

And how about when the automated system goes down. Which has and will happen time and again. From a self serving standpoint, I hope this flops.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16200 times:

Quoting EricR (Reply 7):
Smart move by DL to reduce costs. Train stations have been using this concept for years. There is no need to pay an individual to stand at the gate and scan boarding passes.

In all fairness to the agents, they're doing A LOT more than just "scanning boarding passes". I'd love to see you do what thay have to do for just one 8.5 hour shift  
Quoting catiii (Reply 12):

I don't have an objection based on that. What I do have an objection to is the whole notion of DL running ads like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2Ltz8d16kE&feature=relmfu saying it comes down to the Delta people, but then trying to eliminate every opportunity to interact with those people.

Let's be realistic here. Marketing is all fine and dandy and as a DL emplopyee, I really think that they mean it, but there's a delicate balance here between your 'folks' and technology and keeping up with it. We're nowhere near being totally ran by robots so let's take a breather  



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offline135mech From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 412 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 16144 times:
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Quoting sunking737 (Reply 14):
I see a new reality TV show, The Gates Of Hell. Staring Self Boarding passengers getting into fist fights over who goes first.

Up next TSA robots, to shake you down. Doesn't matter if you male, female, or GLTG. Equal all around.

HAHAHAHA!!! You can picture it now!


25 BC77008 : I just hope that at self-boarding gates that if a passenger tries to sneak by whose row has not been called that the machine makes a loud buzz sound a
26 tonystan : I agree that the human cost could be high. And I am also concerned that the actual customer service level will be reduced in this case. Automatic che
27 EricR : I was not referring to the total responsibilities of the gate agent, but the specific task of scanning the boarding pass. One centralized customer se
28 slvrblt : B - I - N - G - O. Automation is all well and good, and not completely bad actually. But these geniuses that sit in remote HQ offices and dream up st
29 gabrielchew : A few times I've seen chaos at the gates in MUC and FRA with LH. Priority boarding is ignored, and everyone just pushes and shoves to get to the front
30 fxramper : Proof in the pudding is the disgusting look on a gate agents face when the next generation approaches the gate with a mobile boarding pass and the fl
31 ghifty : Yes, 100% automation would be a disaster. My grandma has "issues," shall we say, with the Barcelona Metro's automated gates.. BUT, I highly doubt DL
32 Post contains images par13del : Made my day with that question, good one Bean counter answer: Based on the numbers this happens 1 in every 500 pax and since we have no a/c with 500
33 FlyASAGuy2005 : That is a clever way to deal with it and LAS would actually be ripe and they do this already to an extent for those that's seen DL's gate set-up ther
34 aznmadsci : sCO had trialled a self-boarding gate before and after its merger. It was the E4 gate at IAH and I got to use it once for a flight to LHR last year. Y
35 railker : I didn't see it mentioned and I don't know how often it is an issue, but one of the jobs of the Gate Agents is to make sure that Passenger X hasn't be
36 TecumsehSherman : It is if you're the employee losing a livelihood to the machine, isn't it? Since you're obviously not one of those, I can see your indifference. Ther
37 September11 : There needs to be someone closing the jetway door, the cabin door, and run the jetway to meet and dispatch aircraft. So agents aren't going anywhere
38 EricR : Obviously you are only thinking about the few rather than the entire company as a whole. I would rather eliminate x number of jobs for the sake of ke
39 gizmonc : The WN agents at the boarding door are not customer service agents, They are ops agents and they do the weight and balance. WN does boarding differen
40 TecumsehSherman : I mentioned that when I mentioned Special Needs customers. I'm not the owner, so I have to think of my butt first, don't I? And if you have to cut st
41 par13del : Ok a serious solution, let the gate area mimick the ground handling operations. At a number of airports there are ground handling companies who cater
42 david21487 : I agree. A lot of people seem to be imagining a completely agent-less gate area, and I'm not exactly sure why. Online check-in and kiosks haven't mad
43 irelayer : I would think Delta and all the others are struggling just to make a consistent narrow profit. I don't think there are any real "savings" to pass on.
44 NorthstarBoy : My gut reaction to this kind of scheme is "revenue protection." As in Elites may have been complaining that the gate agents are giving away preferred
45 einsteinboricua : It only takes a visit to the Facebook pages of the airlines to see the many complaints customers have when traveling: imagine if every airline went au
46 boeingorbust : How about when they need bag pulls, or info on flight entered into database by the agent? What about when a boarding pass wont scan properly (this has
47 FlyASAGuy2005 : What planet were you on that oil dropped to $30 per???? Oil saw a low of about $70 briefly around this time but it didn't go down to 30...
48 Post contains links Transpac787 : http://www.post1.net/lowem/entry/nym...mbpd_opec_production_cut_announced
49 Unflug : It has been mentioned above that Lufthansa has been doing this for years. The thread title is very misleading, this move does not mean "Goodbye Gate
50 Post contains images einsteinboricua : This made my morning....now I have to ask where were you when this happened? But that's only when everything goes according to plan: no delays, no ca
51 Unflug : I disagree. Especially if something does not go according to plan automatic boarding helps. It gives gate agents more time to look after the issues i
52 Post contains images cmf : We can do better than that. Let them in to the turnstile but instead of letting them on to the plane push them back to before security Those are all
53 FlyASAGuy2005 : My apologies DL converted to brent pricing and that's where my heads been for a couple years. Where was Brent at at the time.
54 silentbob : Or that the folks with exit row seats aren't 6 years old or have a broken leg or etc.... If you check in at home, have an electronic boarding pass an
55 babybus : I'll be honest, I don't see how such a system could work. You'll have people queuing at those boarding gates ages before the flight and on some routes
56 Unflug : You may not see it. But reality is that it works very well for other airlines. You don't honestly think that the gate agents know the exit rows and c
57 Quokkas : On International flights I am a complete novice when it comes to automated boarding simply because I have not entcountered it in PER, so at overseas a
58 B777A340Fan : This "idea" is as ridiculous as Ryanair's contemplation to charge passengers to use the lavatories. Not only will you have unseasoned travelers wonder
59 Post contains images FlyASAGuy2005 : And I apologize to you, sir
60 Quokkas : It may well change in the future, but every plane that I have ever boarded in recent times has required me not only to provide passport and other inf
61 Post contains images einsteinboricua : Aw, don't worry. Everyone makes mistakes. Part of who we are. It's all good. Brent I think came down to the low $40s.
62 planemaker : It is blue AND white collar jobs (we are even talking lawyers here) that are being eliminated by automation/robotics/IT. And even faster than you pro
63 ORD2PHL : When I have used the turn style system on LH there has always still been an agent at the gate. I think the main advantages here is that you can free u
64 Post contains images Maverick623 : I'm not against automation per se, but you can't really compare airplanes to trains in regards to either revenue protection or safety concerns. I per
65 zippyjet : And, how could I forget those kiosks at the ticket counters. They have a mind of their own and take longer than us mere mortals checking you in. The k
66 planemaker : And even with their problems they are proliferating. It all starts somewhere and then gradually improves... that is the way with IT. You just have to
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