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9June2017 AC839 FRA-YOW boarding fiasco

9June2017 AC839 FRA-YOW boarding fiasco

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Old Jun 9, 17, 5:45 am
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9June2017 AC839 FRA-YOW boarding fiasco

Just boarded this flight. Didn't upgrade, so I was a lowly Zone 2. It was a short but pleasant visit to the lounge, and then it went pear-shaped.

First bad sign was when I had to descend two levels to get gate B61. Yep. Buses. I can't remember AC using a remote stand at FRA, but stuff happens.

Boarding was a "soft launch" as a few wheelchairs were taken up without any announcement being made. By then it was too late to recover as the door out to the bus was now jammed. Boarding started and then someone (the concierge) says (and not loudly) business class only. And then a priority announcement was made. No zones, no signs, no order.

So we get on the bus and drive off only to be taken to gate C8. But our bus driver was unable to open the door to the terminal. He called maintenance. Guy with tools shows up in about 10 minutes and pulls the door open. It wasn't locked, only stuck.

Inside, up the stairs (no escalator) and am now safely seated and pecking away on my smartphone.

Today's experience was so not what I am used to at FRA. It is usually hyper disciplined.
--
13F

Last edited by Seat13F_AC_CRJ; Jun 9, 17 at 5:54 am
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Old Jun 9, 17, 5:55 am
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they seem to be having problems with those doors in FRA. I had same issues 2 weeks ago. door wouldnt open, so they had a bunch of people on walkie talkies trying all sorts of things. Finally, they used an emergency button to get the door opened.
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Old Jun 9, 17, 6:15 am
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Okay, the bus to the C gate instead of a remote stand is weird; C departures are not unheard of for AC but I've never been bused there. Also back when I flew 838/839 all the time a remote stand was not unusual for YOW flights; probably happened at least 30% of the time. Lots of times I headed down to B59 or whatever and boarded by bus.
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Old Jun 9, 17, 8:03 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
Okay, the bus to the C gate instead of a remote stand is weird; C departures are not unheard of for AC but I've never been bused there. Also back when I flew 838/839 all the time a remote stand was not unusual for YOW flights; probably happened at least 30% of the time. Lots of times I headed down to B59 or whatever and boarded by bus.
Yeah actually the majority of AC838/39 flights I've taken have used a remote stand, while YUL, YYZ and YYC pretty much always get a bridge. The tradeoff is you get some mighty fine views of the FRA ramp/aprons while on the bus.

The busing to C though seems rather weird and pointless though.
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Old Jun 9, 17, 11:37 am
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Maybe it was a gate change on short notice from B to C. And they didn't want all passengers that were already airside in B to go through security and immigration again into C. So it would be easier to carry the passengers by bus.
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Old Jun 9, 17, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
Okay, the bus to the C gate instead of a remote stand is weird; C departures are not unheard of for AC but I've never been bused there. Also back when I flew 838/839 all the time a remote stand was not unusual for YOW flights; probably happened at least 30% of the time. Lots of times I headed down to B59 or whatever and boarded by bus.
I don't go to FRA that often, but my first question would be if its physically possible to walk from B61 to C8 without having to go through another security and/or passport control?

And if it is possible, how long would said walk take on average?

If there was a late gate change, it might make more sense to do it this way to avoid passengers missing the gate change announcement.
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Old Jun 9, 17, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by D582 View Post
I don't go to FRA that often, but my first question would be if its physically possible to walk from B61 to C8 without having to go through another security and/or passport control?

And if it is possible, how long would said walk take on average?

If there was a late gate change, it might make more sense to do it this way to avoid passengers missing the gate change announcement.
The B10 to B6x gates (the international ones ... B1-B9 along with the A gates are Schengen and are separate) have a common security checkpoint. The C gates have (mostly) individual security checkpoints at the gates themselves, one per gate on one per a handful of gates.

To walk from B to C would require going back landside and re-clearing security at the C gate, but not passport control - that would only be needed if you were going back in to the Schengen area.

It is possible that they had a last minute gate change from B to C and decided that would be too much of a hassle for all of the pax. I know that I've been sitting in the lounge (AC, or LH before it was there) waiting for a gate announcement for AC839 only to find out it was a C gate and having to hike across the airport. It would probably take 15-20 mins plus the security re-clear.
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Old Jun 10, 17, 4:14 am
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The gate B61 to C8 shuffle was a curiosity, perhaps an anomaly, but the most striking thing about yesterday's events was the absolute disarray of boarding. Passport checks (by the security contractor) and boarding pass checks were all performed with the usual efficiency, but when it came time to board (the buses) there was a complete lack of order or even any attempt to manage the process.
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Old Jun 10, 17, 9:12 pm
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Originally Posted by Seat13F_AC_CRJ View Post
The gate B61 to C8 shuffle was a curiosity, perhaps an anomaly, but the most striking thing about yesterday's events was the absolute disarray of boarding. Passport checks (by the security contractor) and boarding pass checks were all performed with the usual efficiency, but when it came time to board (the buses) there was a complete lack of order or even any attempt to manage the process.
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How un-German like. Are you certain this FRA and not Rome?
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Old Jun 11, 17, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Fiordland View Post
How un-German like. Are you certain this FRA and not Rome?
Precisely my point.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by RatherBeInYOW View Post
The B10 to B6x gates (the international ones ... B1-B9 along with the A gates are Schengen and are separate) have a common security checkpoint. The C gates have (mostly) individual security checkpoints at the gates themselves, one per gate on one per a handful of gates.

To walk from B to C would require going back landside and re-clearing security at the C gate, but not passport control - that would only be needed if you were going back in to the Schengen area.

It is possible that they had a last minute gate change from B to C and decided that would be too much of a hassle for all of the pax. I know that I've been sitting in the lounge (AC, or LH before it was there) waiting for a gate announcement for AC839 only to find out it was a C gate and having to hike across the airport. It would probably take 15-20 mins plus the security re-clear.
That makes a lot of sense and thanks for the explanation.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 1:02 am
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Originally Posted by Seat13F_AC_CRJ View Post
Inside, up the stairs (no escalator) and am now safely seated and pecking away on my smartphone.

Today's experience was so not what I am used to at FRA. It is usually hyper disciplined.
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13F
Wait...does an escalator to a plane exist? If so where, cuz I've never seen one and I'd like to.

I had a similar experience at GRU flying on UA. I was in Global First and there was basically everyone herded into buses without groups or anything. I'm usually a back of the bus flyer, but I was really surprised that they didn't at least do F/J in a group then everyone else.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
Wait...does an escalator to a plane exist? If so where, cuz I've never seen one and I'd like to.
how do people with poor mobility deal with bus bridges?
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:11 am
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Originally Posted by pewpew View Post
how do people with poor mobility deal with bus bridges?
Two wheelchair PAX and companions were taken first on their own bus. No escalator, but there was an elevator once we got to C8. They were seated by the time the rest of us boarded.
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Old Jun 13, 17, 6:26 am
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Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
Wait...does an escalator to a plane exist? If so where, cuz I've never seen one and I'd like to.
I assume he's referring to getting off the bus and going inside and up the escalator to a C gate waiting area before boarding the plane. In this case the bus did not take them to a remote stand, it took them to a gate in a different part of FRA.

Originally Posted by drvannostren View Post
I had a similar experience at GRU flying on UA. I was in Global First and there was basically everyone herded into buses without groups or anything. I'm usually a back of the bus flyer, but I was really surprised that they didn't at least do F/J in a group then everyone else.
Normally AC does priority boarding for board by bus, including at FRA. However since you're getting on/off a bus it is a bit pointless; all that group 1/2 ensures is that you'll be on the first bus, probably with several group 3 folks as well (depending on the number of status pax obviously).
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