Belmopan
Topic Author
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Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - Why?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:20 am

Hi there,

I was travelling as a transfer via Heathrow recently and I didn't get any information on the departure gate when I checked in at FRA. That might have been too early, but when I arrived at T5 I also couldn't get information on the departure gate. They announced it just a few minutes before boarding.

For me it makes perfect sense, as it gives airlines the highest flexibility possible to do ad-hoc aircraft stand changes (and of course related gate changes). However, I am wondering why it is only done at Heathrow. I haven't seen it yet at other hub airports (where I think it only makes sense...). Any ideas why?
 
Tristarsteve
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:25 am

BA at LHR has always had the policy of not announcing the gate until the aircraft is parked there and allocated to the service. It was the same in T1. They don't want pax going off to the wrong gate, and not being able to get back.
At T5 if you go off to T5B on the train, and find your aircraft is at T5A, you have to go through security to get back.

I find it a nuisance at times. You wait in the main departure hall until the gate is announced, then go over to T5B and its deserted.
 
MEA-707
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:42 am

I think the retailers insisted on it so people would shop more instead of sitting at the gate.
It gets me on my nerves every time I am at LHR. You have to check a TV screan every 15 minutes and it makes you feel uncomfy that you could miss it if you doze off a bit and not check often enough.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
lhr380
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:04 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
It gets me on my nerves every time I am at LHR. You have to check a TV screan every 15 minutes and it makes you feel uncomfy that you could miss it if you doze off a bit and not check often enough.

If the screens are the same in the other terminals (i know they are in T3, but not sure with t4 and 1) the screens have gate opening times, the time that the gate will be displayed. That should mean you don't have to keep looking every 15 min for it.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
Panman
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:04 am

It's as Tristarsteve said. I have lost count of the number of times we have had a gate allocated, and because the previous flight is delayed, we have had to change gates. Then it's a mad dash of vehicles (Swissport, Aviance, Airfayre, ASIG, Qantas, refuelling bowser), from the old gate to the new gate. The passengers are not allowed to assemble at the gate until the aircraft is parked there.

PanMan
 
ozvirginuk
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:35 am

Quoting Belmopan (Thread starter):
I was travelling as a transfer via Heathrow recently and I didn't get any information on the departure gate when I checked in at FRA. That might have been too early, but when I arrived at T5 I also couldn't get information on the departure gate. They announced it just a few minutes before boarding.

Hi Belmopan,

In your example, it may simply have been that when you checked in at FRA the gate for your onward flight had not been decided. I know when I used to work at VS (I often used to do check in shifts for a hobby...) many many times if the gate was known it would be loaded into the system, and would print on BPs. Of course the chances of this always increased the closer to departure, so more often pax checking in at T-90 to T-60 were more likely to have this info on the BP, not always the case naturally, but it does happen.

Ozvirginuk
 
B747forever
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:42 am

I think it is kind of good that they dont show the departure gate shortly before it is time for boarding. I know that CO usually assign a gate many hours before the flight is supposed to depart, sometimes 24hrs before and that can cause quite a confusion for some pax. For instance a few days ago when I flew out of EWR there was a gate change. Our flight to ARN changed to gate C112 which originally was the gate for a departure for DEN. Quite a lot of pax came to our gate and thought they were at the right gate. Then when it was time for boarding for the DEN flight the pax noticed they were at the wrong gate. Many off them had to run to the other side of the terminal.

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 1):
You wait in the main departure hall until the gate is announced, then go over to T5B and its deserted.



Yeah, I know what you mean.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
Speedbird2155
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:13 am

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 1):
BA at LHR has always had the policy of not announcing the gate until the aircraft is parked there and allocated to the service. It was the same in T1. They don't want pax going off to the wrong gate, and not being able to get back.

Correct, as a general rule, the earliest we will publish gate information so that it prints on boarding cards is -3hrs for longhaul. Shorthaul is more variable as some aircraft might be on stand for a couple hours so can be published earlier, but generally will only be published when the aircraft has actually arrived at the gate. So for shorthaul flights, this could be around -50mins, which is still more than enough time for customers to reach the gate, as it's still another 20mins minimum before boarding starts.

If the gate numbers aren't shown on the boarding card, then as LHR380 noted, the information screens all show a time when you will be given the gate information. There is no need to constantly check the screens for gate information.

From an operational and customer service perspective, it cuts the number of gate change announcements that need to be made and prevents customers from having to run from gate to gate. Indeed, since T5 opened, the number of times that I can think of having made or heard announcements regarding gate changes have been very few.....possibly around 5 times. Once was during the snow disruption earlier this year and another was after we had boarded a flight and had to get customers off.
 
MEA-707
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:21 am

Quoting Speedbird2155 (Reply 7):
There is no need to constantly check the screens for gate information.

But sometimes when the aircraft is late it doesn't show up at the announced time, that happened to me the last two times I was there, and then you have to check the screens all the time.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
PlymSpotter
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:33 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
I think the retailers insisted on it so people would shop more instead of sitting at the gate.
It gets me on my nerves every time I am at LHR.

That's what I've been told by groundstaff before, and I find it very annoying as well. Especially when it goes straight from no gate to 'Boarding', or sometimes even 'Final Call' - just to get you to hurry.


Dan  
...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
 
lhr380
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:13 pm

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 8):
But sometimes when the aircraft is late it doesn't show up at the announced time, that happened to me the last two times I was there, and then you have to check the screens all the time.

If that happens in T5/T3, the new time the gate opens is displayed. HOWEVER, It is very confusing to see a 1400 departure showing up as 1420 gate opens. I wish there was a way to say flight delayed, new dep time and gate opening time but there is not enough room on the screen to do that, even it it scrolled thru
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
airbazar
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:34 pm

I find that annoying too. Then again it's only one of many things I find annoying about LHR which is why I avoid it like the plague   I much prefer waiting by the gate where it's less crowded and quiet and then take the walk to the new gate if it changes, than wait in the main terminal. This is especially true if I'm coming out of a red-eye and want some place quieter to rest.
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:34 pm

I don't know what BA does, but I know that in the terminal where VS is, they don't put a gate either . . . for any of the airlines. It's a retail ploy plain and simple.

They had you sit in a big, mall like room surrounded by shops and restaurants until just prior to departure. There are departure boards everywhere so you know when the gate is announced. They did the same thing at Stansted.

As for LHR, may I take this time to rant. The room was hot, disgusting, and crowded. There were people from all over the world (sights and smells included) laying around with their belongings. Air Condition was no match for the 85 degree weather outside. I was stuck there for 7 hours and got to know it well. People were walking around in bare feet, sleeping on the floor. Truly a disgusting setup, in a disgusting terminal.
 
vtmaa
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:43 pm

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 1):
You wait in the main departure hall until the gate is announced, then go over to T5B and its deserted.

Just like Penn Station in NY! its funny to see people watching the board intently and then scattering like insects as soon as the gate is announced.
I've had this happen to me on T4 during trips to India from NA.
 
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Vasu
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:04 pm

I must say that until a year or so ( ? ) ago, I found the system of not announcing the gates at LGW to be incredibly irritating... but then when they started updating the screens with "Gate opens XX:XX" I grew to like the system a bit more!
 
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GCT64
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:29 pm

Quoting Vasu (Reply 14):
when they started updating the screens with "Gate opens XX:XX" I grew to like the system a bit more!

Havin recently experienced the LHR system a few times and, conversely, the IAD and DFW system "Flight yyy to xxxx scheduled for gate Cxx is now going from gate Dxx and not any other gate that might be printed on your boarding pass" then I think the LHR system might be better (even if it is a little frustrating). At LHR T5 there is also the compelling reason that if you go to T5B in error, you can't get back to the main T5 easily or quickly.
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otnysaslhr
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:25 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 12):
but I know that in the terminal where VS is, they don't put a gate either . . . for any of the airlines. It's a retail ploy plain and simple.

The last thing that the airlines want is for passengers to be stuck/delayed in duty free shopping!
Also a lot of aircraft if they're not on short turnarounds don't get towed to a stand until -90, certainly in T3 at LHR that was case. As soon as the gate was confirmed and the aircraft was on the gate then the check-in system would be updated with the Gate Number.
The policy used to be that an A/C with more tha 3hr between flights had to be towed off stand and then repositioned at 90mins before departure. At busy times taxiway congestion could reduce that on stand time down to 60 mins or so.
Quite often we would put "Final call" on the boards as soon as gate was opened , especially at times when slot times were tight and the last thing you need is for pax late to gate!
rgds Tony
oTny
 
blrsea
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:47 pm

It is a bit annoying. We were flying BLR-LHR-SEA and both BLR-LHR and LHR-SEA were flying from same terminal and gate area (T5B?). However, when we arrived at LHR from BLR, the gate for LHR-SEA wasn't announced yet, and we weren't able to get to the departure area as security wouldn't allow us. We had to go back to the main T5 terminal using the train, and then after 30mins come back again to the same area ( the gates were like 2-3 apart). Same thing happened on the return journey too!
 
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Vasu
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:03 pm

Quoting blrsea (Reply 17):

That must have been annoying! I didn't think about this actually... and when T5C opens, the situation could actually get worse!
 
mutu
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:11 pm

As gates are in short supply across the whle airport, and as delays build during the day there is at peak times tremendous variation in the gate from which a particular flight operates, so you will find this practice quite common until about 9-00pm when departure frequencies thin out a bit
 
lhr380
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:17 pm

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 12):
I don't know what BA does, but I know that in the terminal where VS is, they don't put a gate either . . . for any of the airlines. It's a retail ploy plain and simple.

In T3, why would you want to go to the gate really early. There is nothing at the gates.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
AirNZ
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:36 pm

Quoting Belmopan (Thread starter):
I was travelling as a transfer via Heathrow recently and I didn't get any information on the departure gate when I checked in at FRA. That might have been too early, but when I arrived at T5 I also couldn't get information on the departure gate. They announced it just a few minutes before boarding.

In among the absurdities being posted it's really quite simple......a boarding gate can change at short notice depending on operational requirements, and long after a boarding card may have been issued. Some should think about it......with many checking-in online and thus boarding passes issued, do they really expect an airline/airport to know exactly what gate a particular flight is going to be guaranteed to depart from say three days ahead????
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Viscount724
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:33 am

When I departed BRU on KL a couple of weeks ago I noted many flights weren't showing gate numbers on the info displays until about one hour before departure. Strangely, when I checked in using Internet check-in the day before, my boarding pass did show a gate number for the BRU-AMS flight but not for AMS-GVA. However when I got to the airport the next day the gate appering on my boarding pass for the KL flight was being used by another carrier and no gate number appeared on the monitors until about the time the inbound flight from AMS landed.
 
SNLH
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:06 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 22):
However when I got to the airport the next day the gate appering on my boarding pass for the KL flight was being used by another carrier and no gate number appeared on the monitors until about the time the inbound flight from AMS landed.

If you want to know the gate number before they appear on the FIDS you can always ask a service agent at the gates or check-in desk in BRU that have some spare time. (Especially those from one of the two handling companies). They have access to this information.
 
mckvakk
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:41 am

Quoting SNLH (Reply 23):
If you want to know the gate number before they appear on the FIDS you can always ask a service agent at the gates or check-in desk in BRU that have some spare time. (Especially those from one of the two handling companies). They have access to this information.

This applies to LHR also (at least T5). I was dead tired one day and wanted to know in which direction my flight was most likely to depart from so i could go sit down. They were able to give me the exact gate about 2hrs before flight.
 
jlarsson
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RE: Boarding Cards At LHR Don't Show Dep. Gate - W

Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:46 pm

The last 5 times I've been to LHR the monitors used for gate announcements have displayed "No flight information available" for several hours, so people are running around like crazy and no one knows what gate to go to.

No.

This system sucks and LHR is the worst airport in the world along with CDG.     
Next trip; ARN-FRA-YYC-YVR-SEA-ORD-BOS-MUC-GOT.

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