Ex-LAS trial of new boarding process

Old Sep 1, 14, 5:49 pm
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Ex-LAS trial of new boarding process

Was boarding today from LAS and they announced they were using a trial boarding process, and we should give feedback online. Don't know the full set of changes other than they boarded F first, didn't even call for pre-boarders. I was in F so didn't see what, if any, other changes were made. This new or seen before?
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Old Sep 1, 14, 6:48 pm
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They're trying it in PHX as well. I usually am in the UA club til the last possible moment, so I haven't noticed any huge changes except they now start paging me 20 min before the door closes.
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Old Sep 1, 14, 10:44 pm
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
They're trying it in PHX as well. I usually am in the UA club til the last possible moment, so I haven't noticed any huge changes except they now start paging me 20 min before the door closes.
Yikes, they already seem like they board REALLY early, can't imagine they're feeling the need to board even earlier....I don't mind the early boarding now that I know that's an "Alaska Airlines thing", but it does make me try to pick longer connection times in places like SEA when I know an hour layover is actually more like 15 min. when boarding begins 45 min. early.
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Old Sep 2, 14, 1:24 am
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I guess since everyone on this board either boards with F or boards last minute, we'll never find out what this new boarding process is...
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Old Sep 2, 14, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
They're trying it in PHX as well. I usually am in the UA club til the last possible moment, so I haven't noticed any huge changes except they now start paging me 20 min before the door closes.
Why on earth would they board so early in Phoenix? During the summer the plane gets really warm with a full passenger load and, often, they don't leave until the scheduled departure time.

If they intend to leave early, FINE! If not, don't put me on a crowded, under air conditioned plane in 110+ temps.
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Old Sep 2, 14, 5:42 pm
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They also tried this in MSP a couple of weeks ago, which led to some nice dialogue exchanges between myself and the site supervisor their via Alaska Listens.com. Anywho, here's a little bit of my experience, FWIW:

They called for Pre-boards. Several families with small children boarded first.
Then First Class, though I noticed that they had omitted the MVP/Gold/75k, but a bunch of us had approached anyway. Regardless, myself and two others were expressly halted from boarding. Watched another family come up and board.

Then, it was like a sketch I had seen either on SNL or in the movie "The Air Up There" where they announce First passengers, and nobody else comes. And they wait some more before finally announcing Golds/75ks/MVPs. What I cannot distinctly remember is if they included partner elites.

Afterward, when I was visiting over the phone with the Site Supervisor (she called me 10 mins after I submitted my AlaskaListens survey!) and they were, in fact, in trial of a new boarding process. The primary reason was to allow families plenty of time, then FC passengers to at least obtain PDB's, before allowing others to board. That seemed to be the biggest difference.
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Old Sep 2, 14, 6:36 pm
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I have gone through the new process twice in the last few weeks. Once it was announced as a test and the second time no announcement was made about test boarding at all. I figured the second time the process must have been accepted.
I still have problems with families boarding before elites and first class. I have always been of the opinion that families and such should board after first class and elites.
The new process seems to demote gold elites and just adds to the continued erosion of the gold benefits. The 75K had done a major number on gold being by upgraded.
What I would suggest is a tweak to the AS boarding strategy as First Class, Elites, families and other needy folks, and then the rest. Is this all important to me? No but it still seems like erosion.
Forgot to mention serviceman as well and military retired being boarded early? I have been on flights where even retired military get on board before Gold. Being a Vietnam veteran with more than six years of honourable foreign service I can understand a man in uniform but come on retired military too.
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Old Sep 3, 14, 5:44 pm
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Allowing F to board first seems reasonable, but I also can see the point of allowing those needing extra time or assistance, and families with kids aged 2 and under to pre-board. They almost always are headed to the back and need extra time to settle in.

Next I'd like to see Golds & G75K called, followed by top tier elites from other carriers. Then MVPs & other carrier elites, then the rest of coach back to front.

Not sure how many of you fly elite-heavy routes to or from Alaska. Up here virtually everyone has status of some sort - you can clear out the entire gate area by calling for MVPs with MVP Gold & Gold 75s ...
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Old Sep 4, 14, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by ChuckArtic View Post
I still have problems with families boarding before elites and first class. I have always been of the opinion that families and such should board after first class and elites.
This is just my take on it, but I believe the main reason for testing the idea of allowing families to board ahead of elites is that it's not uncommon for anywhere from a 30% to 50% of the passengers on a given flight to consist of elite members, increasing the likelihood of families hauling kids and carseats clogging up the works while elites are still boarding.

I'd assume that by allowing families to board first, you get them "out of the way" first so elites can enjoy a more hassle-free boarding experience after they're situated.
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Old Sep 4, 14, 12:59 am
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Originally Posted by AKCuisine View Post
Allowing F to board first seems reasonable, but I also can see the point of allowing those needing extra time or assistance, and families with kids aged 2 and under to pre-board. They almost always are headed to the back and need extra time to settle in.

Next I'd like to see Golds & G75K called, followed by top tier elites from other carriers. Then MVPs & other carrier elites, then the rest of coach back to front.

Not sure how many of you fly elite-heavy routes to or from Alaska. Up here virtually everyone has status of some sort - you can clear out the entire gate area by calling for MVPs with MVP Gold & Gold 75s ...
I have been in areas where by the time they called for military, families, elites and first class there was only 3 people left in the gate area. It was rather odd, to be a partner elite and yet the last to board. (the airport was a near a military base, almost 80% of the plane were kids in boot camp)
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Old Sep 4, 14, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by Snowdevil View Post
...I'd assume that by allowing families to board first, you get them "out of the way" first so elites can enjoy a more hassle-free boarding experience after they're situated.
I see the logic in this as long as only families with very young children (i.e. under the age of 2) board first. In practice I see families whose youngest child is much older taking advantage of family preboarding with no objection from the gate agent despite the "children under the age of 2" announcement. I think people see that the rules are not enforced and this can encourage people to board whenever they want. Some of your gate agents need to learn to say no.
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Old Sep 4, 14, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by formeraa View Post

If they intend to leave early, FINE! If not, don't put me on a crowded, under air conditioned plane in 110+ temps.
Under air conditioned? Not this summer. Every AS flight I've had the cabin has been uncomfortably cold (to this desert dweller). In my experience they crank the temp down to the tundra setting. Especially the ANC pilots.

WN? Those planes have been toasty this year, but not AS. Besides we've left early most mornings (minus the time when the plane broke).
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Old Sep 4, 14, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by AKCuisine
Allowing F to board first seems reasonable, but I also can see the point of allowing those needing extra time or assistance, and families with kids aged 2 and under to pre-board. They almost always are headed to the back and need extra time to settle in.

Next I'd like to see Golds & G75K called, followed by top tier elites from other carriers. Then MVPs & other carrier elites, then the rest of coach back to front.

Not sure how many of you fly elite-heavy routes to or from Alaska. Up here virtually everyone has status of some sort - you can clear out the entire gate area by calling for MVPs with MVP Gold & Gold 75s ...
Personally I'd board MVP before partner elites.

That said, so many of AS' boarding issues would be solved by moving to zone boarding. I'm disappointed to hear they aren't testing that as part of the process.

Also, as someone who travels frequently with a two year old, the ability to board early is a huge help not only to us but other travelers. Unless you want to get stuck behind a family trying to get settled during general boarding.
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Old Sep 4, 14, 11:16 pm
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I have been in a couple of AA test boardings, where they loaded window seats, then middle then aisle (after all the usual F, elites, families and old folks, Etc.). I thought it was great and sped things up a lot but never saw it again so I guess it wasn't a good idea.

As to the hot planes, I fly to PSP a lot and this summer SEA/PSP turn is on a 734. That one they simply cannot keep cool at all when loading at PSP.
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Old Sep 4, 14, 11:41 pm
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However long they've had Gold 75K, I've been one every year. Attaining 75K status requires almost double the amount of pure Alaska miles as Gold (75000 vs. 40000) and yet we get boarded at the same time. The problem is that Alaska's got so darned many Golds these days that often it seems like a good 30% of the gate lounge heeds the call for Gold/75K boarding.

I'd rather see:

First: Families, people needing assistance, etc.

Second: First Class and MVP Gold 75K

Third: MVP Gold

Fourth: MVP and Partner Elites and Military

Fifth: General Boarding by Row Number
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