CF-CPI
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US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments)

Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:29 pm

I recently flew USAirways roundtrip through PHX and became acquainted with their concept of 'zone' boarding. I ended up in Zone 4 or 5 both out and back. At first I thought it had to do with seat row (high zone # in back), but it appeared to do with how early you checked in, rather than any sort of territorial zone in the cabin, or price of the ticket ( I was traveling on a fairly pricey economy ticket for the distance), though status members seemed to get zone 1 or 2 by default.

There seems to be a real disadvantage to a bad zone, since it means that all the overhead space is taken by the time you board, in zone 5 especially. In addition, it creates a very chaotic and time consuming boarding process since zone effectively means that everyone's mixed location-wise, and if you need to go to the back to find that cherished overhead space, you end up walking forward again to your seat - a head-on with the people who are still headed for the back. There was a comical exchange between several of us zone 5-ers as we pointed to our seats at various locations and negotiated how we were going to reach them.

Can anyone confirm that zone is indeed assigned according to check in time? I got to the airport 2 hrs prior but still ended up with a bad zone.

On a final note, I ended up in USAirways 737-300s both ways and it seems this aircraft in general does not support the large carry ons people now have. I got verbally reprimanded by the F/A for (she thought) causing the overhead bin door to malfunction, when in reality it was someone's roll-aboard that was 1 inch to big for the bin which caused it to jam. They were 'west metal' 737s and a bit long in the tooth. The seat cushions were so flattened as to be useless. In addition there were no overhead air vents - this in PHX in July. What genius accountant thought to save bucks by eliminating them?

The first class section consisted of two rows, the first of which was so close to the boarding door that the 'legroom' consisted of the entryway. (It could be interesting when the elite members end up competing for legroom when the f/a in the jump seat) I like to see leagacy carriers survive and succeed, but USAiways is veering very close to seeming bargain-basement in treatment, without the better elements of Southwest's low-cost operation.
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:49 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
The first class section consisted of two rows, the first of which was so close to the boarding door that the 'legroom' consisted of the entryway. (It could be interesting when the elite members end up competing for legroom when the f/a in the jump seat) I like to see leagacy carriers survive and succeed, but USAiways is veering very close to seeming bargain-basement in treatment, without the better elements of Southwest's low-cost operation.

These are old America West (USAir-West) 737s. I remember flying them and having to sit slightly sideways because of the lack of kneeroom -- that's okay as long as the plane is not crowded or the flights are no longer than 60 minutes.

If they're back from the desert, then "West" must be short of metal.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:19 pm

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 1):
If they're back from the desert, then "West" must be short of metal.

I was surprised to see the 'west metal' 737-300s still around. Unless my eyes deceived me, I thought I saw a -200 in PHX, or was I hallucinating?
 
silentbob
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:21 pm

Those 737 leases were extended, essentially for free(according to some reports), by the lessors. Otherwise they would have been gone by now. When the deferred A320s start arriving again, those 737s will be parked.

As for the boarding, it's done by check-in type. Web check-in gets you higher on the list than checking in at the kiosk or counter. US wants people to check in and transact online as much as possible, reducing staffing needs. Quite frequently is results in longer boarding times and more traffic jams than the old system.
 
tharanga
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:24 pm

Quoting silentbob (Reply 3):
Web check-in gets you higher on the list than checking in at the kiosk or counter. US wants people to check in and transact online as much as possible, reducing staffing needs.

That incentive to check in online wouldn't work unless people knew about it.
 
silentbob
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:30 pm

Quoting tharanga (Reply 4):
That incentive to check in online wouldn't work unless people knew about it.

I was under the impression that, as well as cheaper baggage fees, is mentioned when purchasing a ticket. Been a while since I've done that with them though.
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:34 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 2):
Unless my eyes deceived me, I thought I saw a -200 in PHX, or was I hallucinating?

It's not totally beyond the realm of possibility since they weren't retired that long ago.


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Possibly brought back for some type of casino charter.
 
KPHXFlyer
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:26 pm

Ughh, I do not miss the US/HP 733s. I took them on one trip PHX-RNO a few years ago. Fortunately it wasn't a full flight so I was able to stretch out. I've flown both the WN 733s and the US 733s

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 6):
Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 2):
Unless my eyes deceived me, I thought I saw a -200 in PHX, or was I hallucinating?

It's not totally beyond the realm of possibility since they weren't retired that long ago.

If there was a -200 here, it was definitely a charter. Neither WN nor US operates the -200 anymore. You'll see the classics here (300/400/500), and most of the NGs (rare to see a WestJet -600) here.
 
Bridogger6
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:15 pm

Zone 1 = Chairman, Platinum, Gold, and Star Gold elite members, as well as those assigned to bulkhead seating. Also, although called to board before Zone 1, first class seating also as a zone 1 printed on the boarding pass.

Zone 2 = US Silver preferred members, United Premier members, US Airways Bank of America Visa Siganature card holders, and Premier World Mastercard holders, as well as passengers who are in "choice" seats (seats that are aisles and windows toward the front of the aircraft).

Zone 3 = Anyone who checked in online and has their printed web check in boarding pass.

Zone 4 = The back half of the plane of anyone who did not meet the above criteria

Zone 5 = The front of half of te plane of anyone who did not meet the above criteria.

It make not make sense for efficiency in boarding, but it gives preference to those who US wishes to give preference to. So in order to get overhead bin space, in most cases checking in on the web and receiving Zone 3 boarding is sufficient. Hope this helps!

Oh, and the 733 you were on that didn't have gasper vents? It's only one of two in the fleet that were purchased from another carrier and were never fitted with the vents. US has not redone the interiors of the old HP 733's as they will be leaving the fleet within the next year or so and were actually already all supposed to have been gone except for the leasing deal US made to keep them a little longer.
 
thegman
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:38 am

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 8):
Zone 1 = Chairman, Platinum, Gold, and Star Gold elite members, as well as those assigned to bulkhead seating. Also, although called to board before Zone 1, first class seating also as a zone 1 printed on the boarding pass.

Zone 2 = US Silver preferred members, United Premier members, US Airways Bank of America Visa Siganature card holders, and Premier World Mastercard holders, as well as passengers who are in "choice" seats (seats that are aisles and windows toward the front of the aircraft).

Zone 3 = Anyone who checked in online and has their printed web check in boarding pass.

Zone 4 = The back half of the plane of anyone who did not meet the above criteria

Zone 5 = The front of half of te plane of anyone who did not meet the above criteria.

It make not make sense for efficiency in boarding, but it gives preference to those who US wishes to give preference to. So in order to get overhead bin space, in most cases checking in on the web and receiving Zone 3 boarding is sufficient. Hope this helps!

Oh, and the 733 you were on that didn't have gasper vents? It's only one of two in the fleet that were purchased from another carrier and were never fitted with the vents. US has not redone the interiors of the old HP 733's as they will be leaving the fleet within the next year or so and were actually already all supposed to have been gone except for the leasing deal US made to keep them a little longer.

And that explains why I sometimes end up in Zone 2 as a non-rev. It is the choice seats. Of course, by the time I have the assignment zone 4 has been called.
 
Maverick623
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:19 am

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 1):
If they're back from the desert, then "West" must be short of metal.

The ones flying still never went to the desert. One of them had been stripped of the US logos, but the day it was supposed to fly to MCN is when:

Quoting silentbob (Reply 3):
Those 737 leases were extended, essentially for free(according to some reports), by the lessors.
Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 2):
I was surprised to see the 'west metal' 737-300s still around.

They'll be gone by the end of next year.

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 2):
Unless my eyes deceived me, I thought I saw a -200 in PHX, or was I hallucinating?

Mirages are a common thing in the desert  

If you did see a -200 (entirely possible), it wasn't an old HP one.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
chepos
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:33 am

You could not have seen a 732 in US or HP colors as they are long gone. In the 4 years and a half I have been here in PHX I have never encountered one and I am at the airport basically on a daily basis.
I personally think we should go back to boarding by rows, the baggage issue is a real headache for the cabin crew and the passengers alike. Additionally, those 733's need to go, they are old and uncomfortable to fly on. It is so much nicer to fly on one of the Airbuses (be it a 319, 320 or 321).

Regards,

Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
Maverick623
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RE: US Airways 'Zone' Boarding (and A Few Comments

Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:35 pm

Quoting chepos (Reply 11):
Additionally, those 733's need to go, they are old and uncomfortable to fly on

One more year.....  
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way

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