Arrived early but gate occupied

Old Feb 7, 18, 10:44 am
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Arrived early but gate occupied

It seems so often that when a flight arrives early, gate is occupied (at a non-hub destinations) and we have to wait on the tarmac for upwards of 15 to 30 minutes, erasing a chance for early arrival, but just an "on-time" arrival. It happens often to the airport which Alaska leases one or two gates. It has happened to me countless time at BOS, JFK, and BWI. Ive had a couple of instances when they would lease additional gate, but more often wait on the tarmac for a scheduled "on-time" arrival.

Am hoping Alaska would address this issue of improving coordination of gate usage (arrival and departures) and minimize our wait inside the aircraft. Additional gate (bean counters likely involved here)?

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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:00 am
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I've had this happen at SEA more times than I can count. Too bad AS doesn't have very many gates at SEA...
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:09 am
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additional gates may not even be available for lease, and the cost is probably prohibitive to justify these instances of "arriving early".

same thing happens on pretty much every airline at LAX, for instance. i've also had it with DL at ATL and JFK, and UA at ORD and SFO. it's aggravating, but honestly I'd rather wait 15-20 minutes and arrive at a gate than have to use the air-stairs and a bus.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:24 am
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Not only is gate space tight at many airports, but it is expensive.

A better question to OP is to ask whether he would be willing to pay more for his tickets in order to permit AS to lease more gates to sit empty (most of the time) but be available when an aircraft is early.

This is a problem at large airports too. Gates are scheduled to the minute because the timing is convenient and because there is pressure on costs.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:44 am
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I've had it happen repeatedly at PDX but I think that's a function of keeping OAK-PDX blocked at ~120 min for Q400 while flying it with a 737. 75 minute flight and then 30 minute wait on the tarmac.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:44 am
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They could presumably have made it appear you arrived just on time (fly slower, take off later) and you'd have been happy about an on time arrival instead of complaining about it.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 11:48 am
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Unfortunately this seems to be the new normal

Not enough gates to go around. Thankfully my last wait in SEA was pretty short (or at least seemed short; think I fell asleep while waiting).
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Old Feb 7, 18, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by PV_Premier View Post
additional gates may not even be available for lease, and the cost is probably prohibitive to justify these instances of "arriving early".

same thing happens on pretty much every airline at LAX, for instance. i've also had it with DL at ATL and JFK, and UA at ORD and SFO. it's aggravating, but honestly I'd rather wait 15-20 minutes and arrive at a gate than have to use the air-stairs and a bus.
Actually I had to use the "bus gate" at SFO recently and it went amazingly well. Everyone was in the terminal in just slightly more time than it takes at a normal gate.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by jsguyrus View Post
Actually I had to use the "bus gate" at SFO recently and it went amazingly well. Everyone was in the terminal in just slightly more time than it takes at a normal gate.
Interesting - where's the bus gate!? AS flight? Did the bus arrive in the A-side international terminal?
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Old Feb 7, 18, 1:48 pm
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Actually I was flying a QX E-jet and we were headed into Terminal 2. The gate was full so we parked over between the Delta terminal and the International Terminal. There were two buses waiting for us and they took us directly to terminal 2. Super quick and efficient and it was cool driving out on the ramp near all the wide bodies!!
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Old Feb 7, 18, 2:05 pm
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I have had this happen multiple times at IAH if we land early. Usually itís sun country airlines that has our gate.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 2:24 pm
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I agree that waiting for gate is more common now, but overall Alaska's operations have been really good lately. Possibly the early arrivals are the result of scheduled padding intended for bad weather that has not been occurring. At airports where AS has a small number of flights, they obviously share gates with other carriers. However, even at SEA and PDX, it can be an issue because AS has high gate utilization. Still, Alaska's January 2018 operations were very impressive, by far the best of any North American carrier.

89.8% of mainline AS flights arrived within 14 minutes of schedule and 89.0% of total network operations (including Skywest and Horizon branded regional flights). By comparison, only 82.9% of Delta network flights were on-time. Horizon was also the top-ranked regional carrier for on-time performance (even ahead of Hawaiian!)

Certainly, it's only one month, and AS probably had less exposure to bad weather, but it's a sign things are on the right track.

https://www.flightstats.com/v2/month...ports/airlines

Last edited by sltlyamusd; Feb 7, 18 at 2:57 pm Reason: included link
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Old Feb 7, 18, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by jsguyrus View Post
Actually I was flying a QX E-jet and we were headed into Terminal 2. The gate was full so we parked over between the Delta terminal and the International Terminal. There were two buses waiting for us and they took us directly to terminal 2. Super quick and efficient and it was cool driving out on the ramp near all the wide bodies!!
That's very interesting - I didn't know that was even a rare occurrence at SFO. That probably explains what happened to a boarding area full of SEA-bound pax in Dec. I was boarding a flight to SAN and I heard the overhead talking about a plane in the international A area and something about buses... I was glad I wasn't on that flight, but maybe the experience was not terrible!?

Last edited by DrAlex; Feb 7, 18 at 5:15 pm
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Old Feb 7, 18, 4:48 pm
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EWR is really bad about this.

The morning SEA flight is often early, landing between 3:00 and 3:30PM. The PDX and SEA flights dont leave until 3:50 and 4:05PM so the inbound aircraft has to sit at a remote stand.
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Old Feb 7, 18, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by MonThruThurs View Post
EWR is really bad about this.

The morning SEA flight is often early, landing between 3:00 and 3:30PM. The PDX and SEA flights dont leave until 3:50 and 4:05PM so the inbound aircraft has to sit at a remote stand.
Did this exact thing two weeks ago, 30 min early into EWR, sit on the ramp for 30 min.
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