Frustrated with very early boarding of flights

 
Old Feb 9, 12, 11:16 pm
  #1  
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Frustrated with very early boarding of flights

It seems to be happening more often of late. It's become the status quo out of LAX on many early morning departures. Whatever the boarding time is on your BP, just assume it'll start 5-10 minutes sooner.

I arrived at the gate tonight for my DFW-LAX flight 10 minutes after boarding was to have commenced according to schedule. The problem for me and everyone else who had tight connections was that all boarding groups had already been processed on a completely full flight. I got to the gate reader and the agent informed me my carry on would have to be gate checked. 20 minutes before scheduled departure. They had to have started boarding 10-15 minutes early for that to have happened.

It's frustrating. A big perk of status is being able to board the plane as early as possible so I can find space for my bag (side note - by the time I actually got to my seat, the bin directly over my seat was empty, which certainly didn't improve my mood).

If they want to board passengers earlier, fine... they need to move up the standard start times for boarding these planes so that people can prepare properly.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 12:03 am
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I don't understand the complaint - you solve the problem in the third sentence of your post. If flights are boarding 40-45 minutes before departure, show up at the gate 40-45 minutes before departure and you'll still be one of the first ones on.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 12:16 am
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Originally Posted by Science Goy View Post
I don't understand the complaint - you solve the problem in the third sentence of your post. If flights are boarding 40-45 minutes before departure, show up at the gate 40-45 minutes before departure and you'll still be one of the first ones on.
The complaint is that boarding starts BEFORE the time printed on the boarding pass.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 12:23 am
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And if you know there is a trend of boarding early and show up 10 minutes after the stated time you expect things to go as you wish them?
If the plane is there and people are there getting them on early makes sense..especially in the morning. You start your day out with no delays usually means a less stressful time in the eyes of the crew/GA.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 12:25 am
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During my MRs in January I noticed this too... more so in LAX and ORD than SFO though. On one of my flights at ORD, I showed up about 10 minutes before the boarding time on the BP to check my place on the upgrade standby list... only to see the last of the First Class/EXPs going through the door to the jetway.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 12:33 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by mreed911 View Post
The complaint is that boarding starts BEFORE the time printed on the boarding pass.
Right, but if you know this is the case (as the OP does), then show up 15-20 minutes before the time printed on your boarding pass and you're golden. Especially if you have a tight connection. Pretending that you're obligated to show up exactly at the nominal boarding time is silly. Not to mention that in the OP's example, he showed up 10 minutes LATER than the boarding time (20 minutes to departure) and was apparently shocked to discover he wasn't at the front of the line.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 1:30 am
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Originally Posted by Science Goy View Post
Right, but if you know this is the case (as the OP does), then show up 15-20 minutes before the time printed on your boarding pass and you're golden. Especially if you have a tight connection. Pretending that you're obligated to show up exactly at the nominal boarding time is silly. Not to mention that in the OP's example, he showed up 10 minutes LATER than the boarding time (20 minutes to departure) and was apparently shocked to discover he wasn't at the front of the line.
Agreed. I've started showing up at the gate 40 to 45 min ahead of departure.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 1:53 am
  #8  
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The problem would be that the reservation system does not take into account the fact that passengers may want to make their connections by being at the gate at the stated boarding tme.

If the actual boarding time is moved up (compared to the stated 'official' boarding time), then the reservation system will have no way of guaranteeing that PAX can arrive at the boarding gate for tight connections prior to boarding.


Some FF's mitigate tight connection issues by avoiding them. However, the odds are that if one books for an earlier flight, there is less chance of being stranded overnight, especially if a reasonable connection time results in booking for the last flight.

Just guessing, but early boarding might be a policy to try and avoid the snowball effect of one late flight, at least until later in the day.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 2:32 am
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Originally Posted by TonySCV View Post
I arrived at the gate tonight for my DFW-LAX flight 10 minutes after boarding was to have commenced according to schedule.
There is the real problem.

If overhead space is vital to your plans then you should at the very least plan to be there 5-10 mins before boarding is scheduled to begin.

If you did that you'd still be fine even if they did start a little early.

Can't arrive 10 mins after boarding is due to start then complain.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 4:18 am
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FYI-- this week I have been flying in Central America with COPA Airlines (star alliance) and in this region, at least at the non-hub airports (Panama is the only hub), it seems customary for the planes to close to door and leave the gate as much as 10-12 mins early (cant do more than 15 I guess) and arriving 15-20 mins early at the hub airport. Boarding time is listed as 1 hr before and the plane starts boarding about 30-40 mins before- I guess this must ensure ontime departures at the hub.... anyways-- I make this comment to illustrate the point that whenever possible one should be at the gate area no later than 25 mins before boarding a flight, especially if you want carry on space near your seat.

One thing that I find a bit annoying in AA though, is that there have been times I have arrived at gate within the 20 mins time frame, and ironically it is faster to walk up the regular boarding line as the priority line is packed with the non elites boarding the plane....I guess AA assumes all elites take advantage of the early boarding... and this isnt always the case....
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Old Feb 10, 12, 4:51 am
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Had the same experience on Wednesday at SFO. The flight definitely boarded 10 minutes before te time on boarding pass. Next time, just means 10 minutes less at AC and 19 minutes more waiting on plane.

At SFO, looked like it was a new gate agent, though.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 5:10 am
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+1- was doing SAN-LAX-DFW 2 days ago, Eagle boarded on time but the LAX boarded 10 min before the posted time. Good thing I was monitoring. Didn't happen at DFW either way. But of course this is why we pay attention to FT. Looks like a trend, heads up.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 5:18 am
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Originally Posted by Davidjhonda View Post
Had the same experience on Wednesday at SFO. The flight definitely boarded 10 minutes before te time on boarding pass. Next time, just means 10 minutes less at AC and 19 minutes more waiting on plane.
This is what frustrates me... I like to maximize my time in AC and minimize on plane. But usually intend to be at the gate when boarding begins.

However I have been caught out several times lately for two reasons, one that often (NOT always) they board early, before the time stated on the BP. Two, more importantly, I watch the monitors in AC and if it does NOT show "boarding" next to a flight, then I figure they have not started (no matter early or late), and recently this hasn't been the case.

Last time I left SFO I asked if they had started boarding, the AAngel checked and said no, but they were probably about to, so I left. When I got to the gate a minute or two later they were on Group 4.

I don't like standing around in the gate crowd when I can sit in the AC, and have no problem trying to guess if they'll start early but it hasn't been consistent. And the montitors don't always show when they do start.

I guess I agree with the OP.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by bostonoski View Post
This is what frustrates me... I like to maximize my time in AC and minimize on plane.
Who doesn't? But of course it's necessary to prioritize -- would you rather have an extra 10 minutes in the AC, or potentially have to gate-check your carry-on? If I'm really concerned about being able to put my bag in the overhead, I'm at the gate 45-60 minutes before scheduled departure, just to ensure I'm at the front of the line. If not, I'll show up at T-15 minutes.

On a related note, the OP's assumption that they began boarding early isn't justified, in my opinion. You'd be surprised how many boarding passes those GAs can scan in 10 minutes, especially if the jetbridge is long and the plane is smallish. Several times I've entered a deserted gate area 10 minutes after boarding began, scanned my pass, and found the entire planeload of pax waiting in the bridge.
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Old Feb 10, 12, 5:33 am
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Reading the OP post I think this is the issue:
Originally Posted by TonySCV View Post
The problem for me and everyone else who had tight connections was that all boarding groups had already been processed on a completely full flight.
Same thing happened to me late last month at LAX. I had a 40 min connection from the AE terminal. As I approached the gate right at the designated boarding time they were already boarding Group 2. For me it wasn't a problem as I didn't have luggage and was in F.

For someone with status, in Y, that has a bag, I can identify with his issue.
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