AlnessW
Topic Author
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:11 am

Hi all - wow, this forum sure looks different from when I joined 8 years ago...
This question/thread is about technical operations in AIRPORTS, not on planes, so hope some of you out there may have insight.

When one imagines boarding a plane in most airports (at least in the US), your boarding pass is scanned at the door in the gate lounge/departure area, and said door connects you directly to the jetbridge which you walk down and board your aircraft. Simple, right? Indeed - but I've noticed this is not always the standard operating procedure at certain airports, both in the US and internationally. I've linked to some videos which help outline what I'm talking about...more below.

Take a look at DFW for instance. I've connected there several times (love that airport, anyways) over the years in terminals A, C, and D. The thing I remember most about boarding and deplaning there was the longer than normal walk from gate to aircraft, and vice versa. That is - when boarding, the agent scans your boarding pass, then you walk through the gate itself. But instead of that door leading to the jetbridge, it's a hallway. You walk down that hallway, then turn down another hallway, and then down another. Then that connects you with an elevated skybridge. Finally, you reach the jetbridge itself and board. Make sense? Here are some videos that better visualize what I'm talking about:
https://youtu.be/lIbTePtWI2M
https://youtu.be/FgdI4G4yw_E
https://youtu.be/VcfQyX8l3SA

So, why the long walk? Is there some advantage to designing things this way? Does it have something to do with building the terminal/passenger area much higher than ground level, where aircraft are parked?

Now, let's look at LHR, Terminal 5. I had the pleasure of connecting here once and what an experience that was! Literally, like no other airport I've ever seen...and all I even got to see was 1-2 concourses in a single terminal!! Terminal 5 is almost built like a sky loft, where the passenger areas and departure lounges are overlooking gates and parked aircraft below. (Pretty cool, IMO.) So in this case, it's a LONG walk from getting your boarding pass scanned to the aircraft! Sometimes it even involves escalators, stairs, and even more hallways/skybridges. Not too surprising, considering what a castle that airport is (double-entendre...), but I still wonder why one would set things up this way. Video below.
https://youtu.be/4haNHy_QGRY

I realize that sometimes this has to do with internationally-configured gates. Let's look at Terminal E in BOS, which actually has 3 different floors that passengers utilize. The 3rd floor is for departing passengers - ticketing, check-in, gate lounges, and the like. Immigration is on the 2nd floor, and then finally customs and the exit doors are on the 1st floor. When departing, the gate connects with an escalator that takes you downstairs to the jetbridge, where you board. This makes for easy international arrivals, as this escalator is never reversed and arriving passengers are simply directed through a set of doors on that same (2nd) level that lead to immigration and customs. Video:
https://youtu.be/0xpaeyvLEGI

Finally, let's go back to our friend Terminal D at DFW. It's almost the other way around, in that the immigration area is UPSTAIRS from the departures area. You can see the hallways that lead there from said departures area. In the videos below, you'll also see the 2 x psychically separate doors in the terminal - one leads inside, the other leads upstairs to immigration:
https://youtu.be/6tjcs-ySH9Q
https://youtu.be/veIFF7P35fE

I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed these long walks from terminal to aircraft, like it has that feeling of going downstairs to the Secret Laboratory. Or maybe it just builds up the excitement of traveling someplace...who knows!

Anyone out there well-versed in airport terminal design and can elaborate on why this sort of extra space in between is needed/used? Advantages and disadvantages to one or the other?

Again, I'm not referring to shuttle buses, remote stands, outdoor staircases, or trains - rather all internal, part of the terminal building itself.
 
teachpdx
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:51 am

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:43 am

My background is in architecture, and I think there are a few basic concepts that drive this. First and foremost, like you said, is separation for domestic and international flights. Many airports utilize these additional corridors as ramps (required by building accessibility codes) to change levels without costly conveying equipment such as escalators and lifts. They could also be due to the reconfiguration/remodel of an older terminal building to accommodate a newer, more efficient layout... which I believe drives a lot of the DFW non-terminal D stuff you mentioned. I flew into DFW terminal E a couple months ago and had a series of ramps/corridors to navigate around the newer skytrain station. Another reason is just a more modern, efficient concourse layout. Unless the concourse is super narrow, more people can sit in 150’ of gate lounge than can fit on the airplane with 150’ wingspan directly outside. So older concourse buildings filled up that otherwise wasted space with scattered dining and other services, which from a building systems perspective is very inefficient. Newer airports tend to concentrate their waiting areas instead of dispersing them (grouping food and services in another centralized location to share utilities, etc.) and this simply means that a longer circulation system is generally needed to get people out to their plane. From an airline ops perspective, I’m sure it’s great for the gate agents boarding the flight... not having to constantly stop boarding every time the jetbridge fills up... just board them all and let them wait in the corridors!
 
AlnessW
Topic Author
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:17 pm

teachpdx wrote:
My background is in architecture, and I think there are a few basic concepts that drive this.

You and I ought to link up sometime - as I love airport architecture myself. Sometimes I'll even arrive at an airport earlier than necessary to study its design and architecture!

I didn't even think about the whole building ADA thing - but that makes perfect sense on avoiding escalators and whatnot.
As for DFW, I suspect you're right with building remodels and addition of Skylink stations. Once, my flight from PDX arrived at gate A13 which you'll notice is built right into a Skylink station, so I recall the series of ramps much like you experienced to reach the gate lounge itself. As you mention, this must be a lot easier on gate agents and not having lines back up!

Now, about a more modern design...I THINK what you're saying makes sense. By concentrating gate lounges, they can fit more people into a given area while aircraft can't...hence the longer walks to reach them. This therefore makes the more efficient layout with grouping dining and other services together to share utilities, and whatnot.
 
AlnessW
Topic Author
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:24 pm

In doing some more research on this, I took the following screenshots of satellite images which help visualize some things.

First, DFW Terminal A, gates A11-A19. You can really see how the jetbridges have been extended to accommodate the Skylink tracks - and especially the station.
Image

Next, LHR Terminal 5, the "corner" gates A18-A23. As you can see, the terminal building is quite high, hence the long skybridges to reach the aircraft. I remember departing out of A19 on an intra-Europe flight (A320) once, and if my memory serves the gate agents didn't even need to board by rows - everyone's boarding pass was scanned in the gate lounge before proceeding down a series of escalators, halls and ramps before eventually reaching the skybridge. Then, that brings you to the "gate house" (?) where the movable jetbridge is connected - you can clearly see this in the satellite image.
Image

Finally, LHR Terminal 5, the "end" gates B33/B33 and B47/B48. The are crazy long!!! It must feel like walking a mile from boarding gate to aircraft (or vice versa) if you were ever to fly in/out of these gates. In fact, when arriving from the US in Terminal 5 once, I'm pretty sure our BA 747-400 parked at one of these end gates as I recall a long walk before we reached the terminal and began the trip (also long...) to Flight Connections. With skybridges this long, they must have some way of ensuring the entire passage is clear before closing the aircraft door?
Image

It occurred to me that another reason for this would appear to be all the LARGE aircraft that frequent LHR. These can't be parked terribly close to one another, hence the greater distance.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 1137
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:13 pm

The best is EK, the lounge has the jetways to your flight—no Grand Prix thru the house polloi

GF
 
AlnessW
Topic Author
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:07 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The best is EK, the lounge has the jetways to your flight—no Grand Prix thru the house polloi

How so? A Grand Prix lounge?
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 1137
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:25 pm

Business/First lounges at JFK and DXB both have jetways in the lounges. No battling the crowds, a Grand Prix race sometimes.

GF
 
phatfarmlines
Posts: 1376
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:08 pm

AlnessW wrote:

So, why the long walk? Is there some advantage to designing things this way? Does it have something to do with building the terminal/passenger area much higher than ground level, where aircraft are parked?



Actually many airports have such designs with descending down ramps to get to the jetway.

TPA has such gates. I like to call them "ramp gates". Gates C42, C43, E65, E66, E67, E68, E69, E72, E73, F78, F83, F85, F87, F88, and F90 all require descending down a ramp to access the jetway.

In the case of Airside F, the "ramp gates" function as international swing gates, which connect to another ramp which leads to the customs and immigration area.

In circa-2005 Airside C, gates C42 and C43 were originally designed for Independence Air (DH), who at the time had a significant CRJ-200 operation at TPA, so the jetways were lowered and the ramps added to be able to accomodate the CRJ height.

Even circa-1970 Airside C had one gate which was a "ramp gate", old gate C32.

In circa-2002 Airside E, the "ramp gates" there allow the planes to park closer to the terminal since Taxiway Victor is nearby, without creating a risky jetway situation by having a such a high angle connecting the gate area to the plane.

Then circa-1970 Airside E didn't even have ramps. All of the gates sat above the planes, and passengers were required to take escalators (or elevators) down to the plane during boarding and deplaning.

But TPA is one example. If you go across the bay to PIE, and where they added the two jetways requires traversing up the ramp to the connected jetways. All PIE waiting areas sit on ground level.

There are many other airports around the U.S. with such gate layouts. I've seen them in BOS, SDF, MSP, your aforementioned DFW, IAH, ATL, JFK, SEA, LAX, SFO, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. And as you mentioned in your LHR example, this is a typical design in many airports around the world.
 
AlnessW
Topic Author
Posts: 615
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:23 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:26 pm

phatfarmlines wrote:
Actually many airports have such designs with descending down ramps to get to the jetway.

TPA has such gates. I like to call them "ramp gates".

"Ramp gates" - I like it!

phatfarmlines wrote:
without creating a risky jetway situation by having a such a high angle connecting the gate area to the plane.

That makes sense...hence the ramps inside.

phatfarmlines wrote:
There are many other airports around the U.S. with such gate layouts. I've seen them in BOS, SDF, MSP, your aforementioned DFW, IAH, ATL, JFK, SEA, LAX, SFO, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. And as you mentioned in your LHR example, this is a typical design in many airports around the world.

Which terminals in BOS? Still, it does indeed sound like this might be more common than I thought - possibly because some of the airports you mention above I don't frequent as often.
I also wonder if the LHR-"style" architecture is more common in European airports?
 
phatfarmlines
Posts: 1376
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:24 pm

AlnessW wrote:
Which terminals in BOS?


From what I've seen, gates A1-A4 used by DL all have a ramp/long corridor configuration to connect to the Terminal A-landside gatehouse. At the A-satellite gates, A13, A14, A21, and A22 have a corridor configuration to connect to the A-satellite headhouse. You can see it on Google Maps in the 3D view.

At B6's Terminal C, some of the gates connecting the security checkpoint to the hammerheads have ramps, though some of the gates that originally had ramps have been reconfigured as B6 has heavily modified Terminal C, and don't use the ramps anymore. This is also noticeable on Google Maps in 3D view.

Now I'm not familiar with BOS Terminal E in-person, but I have seen Youtube videos of people boarding their flights via escalators from the gatehouse, which serve as the international swing gates.


AlnessW wrote:
I also wonder if the LHR-"style" architecture is more common in European airports?


Absolutely. This is seen at many of the large-hub European airports. A common design is to have a bridge over a roadway, which is connected to a jetway. The roadway below it is used by service vehicles as well as buses to shuttle passengers to remote stands. The closest thing you will see that in the U.S. is JFK Terminal 4, and that's because it is managed by a Dutch firm who was influential in its initial design back in the late 1990's.
 
Okcflyer
Posts: 493
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 11:10 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sat Apr 21, 2018 11:24 pm

phatfarmlines wrote:
AlnessW wrote:
Which terminals in BOS?


From what I've seen, gates A1-A4 used by DL all have a ramp/long corridor configuration to connect to the Terminal A-landside gatehouse. At the A-satellite gates, A13, A14, A21, and A22 have a corridor configuration to connect to the A-satellite headhouse. You can see it on Google Maps in the 3D view.

At B6's Terminal C, some of the gates connecting the security checkpoint to the hammerheads have ramps, though some of the gates that originally had ramps have been reconfigured as B6 has heavily modified Terminal C, and don't use the ramps anymore. This is also noticeable on Google Maps in 3D view.

Now I'm not familiar with BOS Terminal E in-person, but I have seen Youtube videos of people boarding their flights via escalators from the gatehouse, which serve as the international swing gates.


AlnessW wrote:
I also wonder if the LHR-"style" architecture is more common in European airports?


Absolutely. This is seen at many of the large-hub European airports. A common design is to have a bridge over a roadway, which is connected to a jetway. The roadway below it is used by service vehicles as well as buses to shuttle passengers to remote stands. The closest thing you will see that in the U.S. is JFK Terminal 4, and that's because it is managed by a Dutch firm who was influential in its initial design back in the late 1990's.


Eh?

This is precisely the setup on all 3 of the DEN terminals.
 
Kno
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:08 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:29 am

phatfarmlines wrote:
AlnessW wrote:
Which terminals in BOS?


From what I've seen, gates A1-A4 used by DL all have a ramp/long corridor configuration to connect to the Terminal A-landside gatehouse. At the A-satellite gates, A13, A14, A21, and A22 have a corridor configuration to connect to the A-satellite headhouse. You can see it on Google Maps in the 3D view.

At B6's Terminal C, some of the gates connecting the security checkpoint to the hammerheads have ramps, though some of the gates that originally had ramps have been reconfigured as B6 has heavily modified Terminal C, and don't use the ramps anymore. This is also noticeable on Google Maps in 3D view.

Now I'm not familiar with BOS Terminal E in-person, but I have seen Youtube videos of people boarding their flights via escalators from the gatehouse, which serve as the international swing gates.


AlnessW wrote:
I also wonder if the LHR-"style" architecture is more common in European airports?


Absolutely. This is seen at many of the large-hub European airports. A common design is to have a bridge over a roadway, which is connected to a jetway. The roadway below it is used by service vehicles as well as buses to shuttle passengers to remote stands. The closest thing you will see that in the U.S. is JFK Terminal 4, and that's because it is managed by a Dutch firm who was influential in its initial design back in the late 1990's.


Before Delta left C and jetblue took over they used to squeeze 767s at gate C28 and c26 which featured those ramps. I always found it funny that you'd walk down a ramp onto a jetway with such a steep incline to accommodate a 767. down the ramp up the jetway. I always marveled at how they even fit 767s in that alley. There would often be another 767 or l1011 (before retirement) at c36 and C21 which leaves not much clearance to enter that alley between wing tips. If I remember correctly those gates were tow in only for widebodies.
 
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Runway28L
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Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:58 am

phatfarmlines wrote:
Actually many airports have such designs with descending down ramps to get to the jetway.

TPA has such gates. I like to call them "ramp gates". Gates C42, C43, E65, E66, E67, E68, E69, E72, E73, F78, F83, F85, F87, F88, and F90 all require descending down a ramp to access the jetway.

In the case of Airside F, the "ramp gates" function as international swing gates, which connect to another ramp which leads to the customs and immigration area.

In circa-2005 Airside C, gates C42 and C43 were originally designed for Independence Air (DH), who at the time had a significant CRJ-200 operation at TPA, so the jetways were lowered and the ramps added to be able to accomodate the CRJ height.

Even circa-1970 Airside C had one gate which was a "ramp gate", old gate C32.

In circa-2002 Airside E, the "ramp gates" there allow the planes to park closer to the terminal since Taxiway Victor is nearby, without creating a risky jetway situation by having a such a high angle connecting the gate area to the plane.

Then circa-1970 Airside E didn't even have ramps. All of the gates sat above the planes, and passengers were required to take escalators (or elevators) down to the plane during boarding and deplaning.

But TPA is one example. If you go across the bay to PIE, and where they added the two jetways requires traversing up the ramp to the connected jetways. All PIE waiting areas sit on ground level.

There are many other airports around the U.S. with such gate layouts. I've seen them in BOS, SDF, MSP, your aforementioned DFW, IAH, ATL, JFK, SEA, LAX, SFO, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. And as you mentioned in your LHR example, this is a typical design in many airports around the world.

I've had to go down a set of ramps at PHL before ending up inside the jetbridge. I believe it was Gate B4, B6, or B8... somewhere in that area. Not sure if some of the gates in Concourse C are also like that.
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phatfarmlines
Posts: 1376
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2001 12:06 pm

Re: Getting from the Gate Lounge to the Jetbridge

Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:40 pm

Runway28L wrote:
I've had to go down a set of ramps at PHL before ending up inside the jetbridge. I believe it was Gate B4, B6, or B8... somewhere in that area. Not sure if some of the gates in Concourse C are also like that.


Yes, forgot to add PHL, where much like BOS Concourse C, all of the B, C, and D concourse gates leading to the hammerheads have this setup. They also have stairwells at all of the gates leading down to the jetways which have these ramps which has me thinking if the stairwells were part of the original design, and the ramps were added later to comply with ADA. Lots of real estate taken up to have this setup in place.

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