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AmricanShamrok
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UK Boarding Gates

Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:57 pm

Why do some (most?) UK airports not display the boarding gates for flights until very close to the departure time? I find it highly annoying having to wait in a sometimes highly crowded "departure lounge" with all the seats occupied (i.e. Bristol on a recent trip) while waiting for the gate to be displayed on the screen before scrambling to get there the rush when it does appear. Why does this happen and why does it seem to be confined to UK airports only?
 
signol
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:37 pm

I suspect to keep passengers in the shopping area rather than camped out at the gate not spending their money  

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
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shamrock604
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:48 pm

Quoting signol (Reply 1):
I suspect to keep passengers in the shopping area rather than camped out at the gate not spending their money

signol

You are probably right. I always have to laugh at the FIDS screens at certain UK airports telling me to "Relax and Shop".

Of course, at bigger airports it may be a case of retaining maximum gate flexibility by not commiting to certain gate areas too early, thus allowing late changes to be made without inconveniencing passengers.

But it's probably more the first reason....  
 
nqyguy
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:58 pm

Quoting shamrock604 (Reply 2):
Of course, at bigger airports it may be a case of retaining maximum gate flexibility by not commiting to certain gate areas too early, thus allowing late changes to be made without inconveniencing passengers.

Totally- and the people that want to know their gate straight away are the first ones to moan when the gate changes and they have to move.
 
Maverick623
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Thread starter):
Why do some (most?) UK airports not display the boarding gates for flights until very close to the departure time?

You kind of answered your own question with the wording of it. Most people would ask "Why do most UK airports not assign gates until just before departure?"

The gate is assigned... they just won't tell anyone about it until the plane has arrived and has deplaned. This allows for gate changes without people getting lost and thinking it's at the same gate, and to keep the boarding area clear while deplaning. (Yes, keeping them in the shops too. But that's the airport authority, not the ops people thinking about that).
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glbltrvlr
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:21 pm

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
and to keep the boarding area clear while deplaning.

At Heathrow and IIRC Gatwick at least, arriving passengers are split leveled from departing, so gate crowding isn't a concern. As there are security screening and doc checks at the gate, it doesn't make sense to have people milling about in the hall waiting for staff to arrive.
 
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Vasu
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:35 pm

Out of interest, are there any UK airports that give you the gate information early on (and maybe even print it on the boarding pass, as I have seen at many other airports worldwide) ?
 
signol
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:49 pm

Quoting Vasu (Reply 6):
Out of interest, are there any UK airports that give you the gate information early on (and maybe even print it on the boarding pass, as I have seen at many other airports worldwide) ?

NWI does, but then it is one room with 4 doors leading to the apron!

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
bananaboy
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:07 am

Quoting glbltrvlr (Reply 5):
Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 4):
and to keep the boarding area clear while deplaning.

At Heathrow and IIRC Gatwick at least, arriving passengers are split leveled from departing, so gate crowding isn't a concern.

That wasn't always the case, though. Only in the last decade (AFAIR) has Dept. of Transport required arriving and departing passengers be segregated. I have memories, particularly at Gatwick, of the small gate areas where 300 or more people are being kept waiting in an area that is not designed for that amount of people. I think that gate crowding may indeed have been a concern, though perhaps not the prime one.

Prior to the passenger segregation, had there been a gate change, you may have had to head back towards the departure lounge, could end up following the crowd for arrivals and end up lost. To re-enter the departure lounge, you would need to be re-screened by security. It would be a waste of resources to have to staff the area to such an extent to allow passengers to walk back and forth, or have people move en-masse after the announcement of a gate change.

I'd rather be kept in the departure lounge area. I don't want to wait in an area with no refreshments, no toilets and no real distractions. As far as I'm concerned, I'll go to the aircraft when I'm asked to - I don't need to be there especially early.

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Thread starter):
I find it highly annoying having to wait in a sometimes highly crowded "departure lounge" with all the seats occupied

I tend to find the gate areas are equally, if not more crowded, plus with fewer distractions.

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Thread starter):
before scrambling to get there the rush when it does appear.

I don't ever recall a rush to get to the gate when the number is announced. I recall boarding rushes, particularly on airlines without seat assignments. Of course, others may have different recollections.

Mark
All my life, I've been kissing, your top lip 'cause your bottom one's missing
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:34 am

Quoting glbltrvlr (Reply 5):
At Heathrow and IIRC Gatwick at least, arriving passengers are split leveled from departing, so gate crowding isn't a concern.
Quoting bananaboy (Reply 8):
Only in the last decade (AFAIR) has Dept. of Transport required arriving and departing passengers be segregated.

post-911. The only exception is UK domestic.

Quoting bananaboy (Reply 8):
I don't ever recall a rush to get to the gate when the number is announced. I recall boarding rushes, particularly on airlines without seat assignments.

I understand what the OP is referring to. Last time at LHR (T3) gates weren't announced until the flight *started boarding*. i.e. "EYXXX to Abu Dhabi is now boarding through Gate 43" (first mention of number), at which point everyone had a 5 minute trek. You simply walked from the "departure lounge" (crowded and stuffy room with tatty shops) straight into one line for boarding: there was no priority at all.

For a premium airline like Etihad the set up was nothing less than disgraceful. I realise BAA is primarily to blame, but even so...
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glbltrvlr
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RE: UK Boarding Gates

Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:51 pm

Quoting bananaboy (Reply 8):
Prior to the passenger segregation, had there been a gate change, you may have had to head back towards the departure lounge, could end up following the crowd for arrivals and end up lost.

I do remember that! In the South terminal at the end of the gate hall the hallway split. There was a curved ramp that brought you up to the main terminal floor and the other hall that led to transfers and immigration.

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