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Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:07 pm
by readytotaxi
From this side of the pond I have often seen different levels of service when boarding in the US at various airports.
I would have thought that an airline that charges its First Class passengers the most should treat them the best but it does not seem that way always. Should passengers with very young children or special needs passengers be boarded first? Would it be such a bad thing if the high priced seat where done and dusted first, after all they are at the front of the aircraft. Would it be a good marketing ploy to say"we'll seat you first, in First!"
Or is this something the US public would not tolerate?

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:37 pm
by IAHFLYR
Quoting readytotaxi (Thread starter):
Should passengers with very young children or special needs passengers be boarded first?



IMHO, it would depend on the type of aircraft and what door you are boarding through. More often than not the special needs passengers and passengers with children are going to be seated in the economy section with a few exceptions.

Take a B738 as example boarding through L1. As a first class passenger I'd rather had the above groups board first so they are not hitting the first class passengers seated on the aisle seats with their handful of carry on board items and such.

Now if it is an aircraft that is being boarded through the L2 with first class turning left once on the aircraft and the economy passengers going to the right it would not make a difference to me who boarded first. I just want my pre-departure drink and I'm happy with an ontime departure!!   

Quoting readytotaxi (Thread starter):
Or is this something the US public would not tolerate?



Now that is a complete toss up these days what the level of tolerance would be from the citizens.

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:25 pm
by blueflyer
Personally I much prefer the "board whenever you want" approach with a dedicated line for First and upper tier status frequent flyers the way UA/CO (and I believe DL) do.

Boarding at L2 as mentioned above would be great, but probably unlikely. It would also be great if more airports had dual jetways to board heavies both at L1 and L2.

That being said, in my list of services to be offered to premium customers, high and above everything else is, guarantee a minimum amount of overhead space on narrowbody aircraft (never an issue on widebodies). First step is, stop people seating in row 20 from putting their luggage above row 2 because they can't be bothered to take it all the way down.

That would be a major improvement in my book.

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:26 am
by jgw787
well on domestic F in the US there are a lot of F pax that airlines have to handle. there are so many that some airlines do not allow lounge access to F flyers unless they have a club membership. the only way for F to become more exclusive is if airlines take a few F seats out of the planes and charge more...

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:42 am
by RyanairGuru
Quoting readytotaxi (Thread starter):
I would have thought that an airline that charges its First Class passengers the most should treat them the best but it does not seem that way always.

I realise that the OP was referring to the USA, but just to chime in with an Australian observation:

Here there is no priority boarding for anyone on domestic flights. (except possibly wheel-chairs)

If you're flying Qantas in Business Class or you're Frequent Flyer Platinum or with young children, you line up with the general free for all.

The one boarding announcement goes along the lines of: "Qantas is pleased to announced that QF501 to Sydney is now ready for boarding through Gate 23. Please have your boarding pass ready for presentation to the flight attendants at the gate and once again on board. Thank you and enjoy your flight".

At that point it doesn't matter who you are or where you sit, you join the one line to board.

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:30 pm
by readytotaxi
Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
At that point it doesn't matter who you are or where you sit, you join the one line to board.

So,do you think Qantas have a marketing opportunity with this aspect of boarding or would the public not want a 2 tier boarding?

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:45 am
by RyanairGuru
Quoting readytotaxi (Reply 5):
do you think Qantas have a marketing opportunity with this aspect of boarding or would the public not want a 2 tier boarding

Given that the vast majority of business class and elite travelers no doubt fly internationally and are therefore accustomed to receiving priority boarding (QF int'l use a more structured boarding system) I'm sure that they would definitely appreciate it.

The wider traveling probably wouldn't care what method was used, just so long as they got on the plane.

I believe that this system is entirely down to how QF board. If you re-read the boarding announcement you will see that it says to present your boarding passes to the FLIGHT ATTENDANTS at the gate. On QF the people scanning your boarding pass are the same ones serving you coffee. They don't, however, do the boarding announcements. These are done by someone sitting (usually) behind a "Customer Service Desk" somewhere. These people do all the paper work, play with the computers and everything else required to actually get the plane away and which on other airlines is done at the gate. Firstly, this means that they often cannot actually see the gate and therefore don't know when the line is sufficiently short to call the next boarding group. Secondly, and more importantly, at peak times they can be boarding several flights simultaneously. If they had to go QFXXX to Sydney is now boarding business class/QFYYY to Brisbane is now boarding business class/..../QFXXX to Sydney is now boarding rows 20-30/QFYYY to Brisbane is now boarding rows 20-30 etc etc then they would never stopped making announcements and not actually have time to do anything else!

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:13 am
by wunala
Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 4):
Here there is no priority boarding for anyone on domestic flights. (except possibly wheel-chairs)

On Cityflyer fights (at least), Business, Platinum, Gold, OW Emerald and OW Sapphire are invited to board first and at their leisure.

On other flights, it is first in, best dressed.

Jetstar boards wheelchair, and assisted pax first. A few weeks ago, I was flying out of Ballina, and there were a number of pax that needed to use the lift to the aircraft. This meant a delay, and then we had to wait for migrating bats (it was twilight) to clear the airport before we could get on our way.

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:47 am
by cvg2lga
On my old airline, before boarding began (-23 to departure) agents would call for pax that needed assistance or extra time or even the lift, to get things underway and trying not to cause too much of a delay in boarding. Many times it would already be noted that the pax needed a lift and we'd have one at the gate on standby. But lifts can cause delays, sometimes rather lengthy delays.

Personally, having flown in both F, J & Y several times over, doesn't really matter to me when I board. But i know for many folks, overhead space is an issue and sometimes we all just want to get into our seat and relax and hope we get off the gate and off the ground. Just as someone else said above, so long as I can enjoy a pre-takeoff drink and am on the aircraft, I'm happy. Especially in J, I love the champagne. But it can be annoying, if you have pax passing you that are staring you down or oggling at the minor comforts of F/J and bumping you with their bags or a group of mouthy kids (or adults). I always feel a bit guilty being passed by those going back to Y, but them I remember some of the days from hell on the ramp and am reminded that since I'm lucky enough to be up there, I deserve it.

Tchau

DA-

RE: Premium Service At The Gate?

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:28 am
by jgw787
Well at PEK at terminal 2 domestic gates 41-49 (bus gates) China Eastern has a mini lounge at gate 49 since every premium pax that has a flight at these gates leaves through 49.