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A modest proposal to improve the boarding situation

A modest proposal to improve the boarding situation

Old Jul 22, 19, 11:06 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
I don't follow...

If you are going to get your bag checked for free -- how is being reassigned to Group 9 a penalty?

I mean if you aren't worried about overhead space (your bag has been checked already), and you have your original seat assignment, what's the downside to boarding last?
It isn't about penalizing those that check in a bag, the idea is that by Group 9 there's no more overhead space, so people can't double up and check a bag and also have a full size carry-on.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:13 am
  #32  
 
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It is good to see PAX sharing ideas to address what is a very often stress filled boarding process. I have 10 flights this week, and I am sure all will be painful at the gate.

A good story about thinking outside the box and to be open to having "non-professionals" solve age old problems was the loading of cattle through gates onto trucks. The cattle stressed out, and it was a problem nobody seemed to be able to solve. A very young autistic adult actually designed a circular gate system, which reportedly greatly reduced the stress level of the cattle..... Engineers and cattlemen were the experts, but they missed with this young person caught about cattle characteristics.

Of course, I loaded many human cattle cars in my younger life, with lots of gear. We always loaded rear to front, and never had issues....
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:34 am
  #33  
 
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I think no matter what, there are always going to be complaints on the boarding process. It is just one of those things that not everyone is going to always agree to. I'll say that current boarding can be stressful. It's probably my least favorite thing and once I'm in my seat I always feel a bit more calm. It does seem to usually work itself out with the current process. Yes, you may need to squeeze by people and there may be people that board in the wrong group but most of the time, in the end, it works out.

There have been some decent suggestions here but I think a lot of the suggestions simplifies the process for the customer and doesn't necessarily save a ton of time. It would be nice to be more customer focused but we all know where that's gone. If people really want to line up then the best way to do it is have 4 boarding lines and 8 groups. You could have the first wave of lines be groups 1-4 and the second wave be groups 5-8. Groups 1 & 5 board in the same line, 2 & 6, etc. This seems great in theory but the space at most gates doesn't make it practical. And in the end, it probably doesn't save a ton of time.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:42 am
  #34  
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I think a big part is how well the FAs police overhead stowage. I always sit in the last row of First Class. On the flights where the FAs block people from using far forward bins so the people who are sitting near them have space, things generally flow smoothly.

In other cases I see people in the back of the plane if not using F bins using the first bins in Y, and then when those pax get there, there's no space and the FAs have to spend time trying to re-arrange things.

Maybe announcements in addition to only one bag in the overhead -- Please use a bin either at your row or slightly behind.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 11:57 am
  #35  
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I blush to recall that in my first years of flying I would just put my bags into the first open bin I came to... sigh, I was really going for great.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 12:18 pm
  #36  
 
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Hmmm, in my experience, I find groups 1-3 usually boards relatively easily and orderly, but when Group 4 is called, everyone starts to rush the lanes because they see the relatively high number of people that usually board in Group 4 start to move up there. If you are in Groups 1-4 and aren't near the gate when Group 4 gets called, you really have to push through the crowd to board (of mostly group 8 and 9 passengers). I am usually the last to board in Group 3 or I board with Group 4, and I don't think I have ever seen a Group 4 boarder 'in the lane' blocking groups 1-3 from getting on easily. Group 4 boarders aren't unaware of AA boarding procedures.

As for overall boarding speed, I think it helps a lot when you have the GAs push to check bags prior to boarding for free and telling anyone group 8 or 9 that they have to check it. When that is done, it seems boarding goes relatively smoothly in the back, but a full 738, 757 or 321 still has a lot of passengers to make their way through a single narrow aisle so it still takes time. And I second the call for the baggage handling system to be better to provide less disincentive to check bags. I am nearly always waiting nowadays about 45-60 minutes post landing for bags to arrive on the carousel and I am getting rather sick of it.

I wish more so that we can learn a method to deplane faster. Instead of taking turns row by row, I wish we could just have a 'first rush' where everyone that is in the aisle when the door opens first just moves forward and out and off the plane before other people scoot on over and block the aisle to pick up bags and stuff. Boarding stress is laughable compared to the stress of waiting 15 minutes in the back of the plane watching people take turns one by one to get their overhead bag, neck pillow, personal device, and underseat bag figured out when you have a 40 minute connection.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 2:41 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
My pie-in-the-sky thought: If you show up with a carry-on sized roller bag, they check it in for free. To prevent abuse (someone who leaves a second bag hiding with family and doubles up on their allowance) I would re-assign that passenger to Group 9 when taking the bag.
Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
I don't follow...

If you are going to get your bag checked for free -- how is being reassigned to Group 9 a penalty?

I mean if you aren't worried about overhead space (your bag has been checked already), and you have your original seat assignment, what's the downside to boarding last?

Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
It isn't about penalizing those that check in a bag, the idea is that by Group 9 there's no more overhead space, so people can't double up and check a bag and also have a full size carry-on.
But what happens to that 2nd bag when overheads are full? Answer - it gets checked for free.

So...I still don't follow. If you're travelling with multiple bags that won't fit under the seat, once you've checked one and if checked bags are free at the gate, then there's little reason not to check the rest of those bags.

So in your scenario person checks in one bag at the gate, then boards in Group 9, finds the overheads full, and the second bag gets checked along with the first. Or boards in Group 9 and finds that there is overhead space.

This system just tells me if I show up with one or more large bags, I'm going to get them checked free. It creates more incentive for me to bypass the paid checked luggage system and creates more baggage at the gate.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:09 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
But what happens to that 2nd bag when overheads are full? Answer - it gets checked for free.

So...I still don't follow. If you're travelling with multiple bags that won't fit under the seat, once you've checked one and if checked bags are free at the gate, then there's little reason not to check the rest of those bags.

So in your scenario person checks in one bag at the gate, then boards in Group 9, finds the overheads full, and the second bag gets checked along with the first. Or boards in Group 9 and finds that there is overhead space.

This system just tells me if I show up with one or more large bags, I'm going to get them checked free. It creates more incentive for me to bypass the paid checked luggage system and creates more baggage at the gate.
Your point about bags being checked at the gate does put a wrinkle in my plan. There are of course more complicated ways to handle baggage allowances, other airlines manage to do it, but I didn't think any of those were worth proposing even to FT.

In the mean time, let's just remember AA still boards faster than DL, who like to start with Pre-boards 40 minutes before a domestic departure.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:16 pm
  #39  
 
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I think I said this before in another thread, but if AA offered the Alaska 20 minute plane to carousel guarantee, I would check my carry on every time. Itís a much easier experience traveling without a rollaboard. No stressing about space, TSA is quicker and easier, getting on the plane is easier and quicker.

But, iíve checked my carry on today on my way back to CLT, and iím predicting iíll Wait 40 mins to get it back. Then likely another 20 for a Lyft (but thatís a different CLT based cluster that could easily be solved by directing Lyft / Uber to use the hourly lot for the free hour).
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:20 pm
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
In the mean time, let's just remember AA still boards faster than DL, who like to start with Pre-boards 40 minutes before a domestic departure.
But AA still boards a lot earlier than airlines that can start boarding 15-20 mins before departure and still leave on time
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:25 pm
  #41  
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Forget any linkage between baggage delivery times and carry-on policy.

Plain and simple, on a standard configuration domestic single aisle aircraft, there is not enough OH space to accommodate one compliant bag per passenger in the OH. Some people don't have such a bag, some people have a smaller one, and others don't have a second bag. But, with full aircraft there are still few flights where all bags can be boarded.

At the same time, the same aircraft which can be boarded for an intra-European flight in 10-15 minutes takes 20-25 at best in the US. It isn't just the GA's, it's that passengers don't listen and some of the worst offenders are the high-level elites and F pax who likely do know exactly what they are doing.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:33 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by Nicoolio View Post
I think a big part is how well the FAs police overhead stowage. I always sit in the last row of First Class. On the flights where the FAs block people from using far forward bins so the people who are sitting near them have space, things generally flow smoothly.

In other cases I see people in the back of the plane if not using F bins using the first bins in Y, and then when those pax get there, there's no space and the FAs have to spend time trying to re-arrange things.

Maybe announcements in addition to only one bag in the overhead -- Please use a bin either at your row or slightly behind.
I agree. When FA do monitor use of the overhead and facilitate stowing bags, it goes very smoothly.

Similarly, I sit in first class for most flights and see people using those bins or the next bins available when they are seated far from them. However, if I happen to board behind someone not in first class and see that person stuff their sack in a bin over my seat, Iíll politely remind them it is not for their use. If they make a fuss, no problem, I set the bag in the aisle, place mine there, and take a seat. Happens about 2-3 times per year. Sorted.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:50 pm
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
But AA still boards a lot earlier than airlines that can start boarding 15-20 mins before departure and still leave on time
Isn't "middle of the pack" the same thing as "Going for Great"?

I haven't flown a ULCC but Southwest is the only carrier I have flown that does it in 20 minutes, and while I know most of that has to do with the open boarding, some of it has to do with bags being allowed in the hold for no extra cost. But honestly,I'll still take a 30 or 40 minute boarding time if it means having my reserved aisle seat waiting for me.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:57 pm
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Gig103 View Post
Isn't "middle of the pack" the same thing as "Going for Great"?

I haven't flown a ULCC but Southwest is the only carrier I have flown that does it in 20 minutes, and while I know most of that has to do with the open boarding, some of it has to do with bags being allowed in the hold for no extra cost. But honestly,I'll still take a 30 or 40 minute boarding time if it means having my reserved aisle seat waiting for me.
The airlines that I travel on have allocated seating, but are capable of boarding an aeroplane such as a 737 in 15-20 minutes
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:32 pm
  #45  
 
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I wonder if anyone has ever asked gate lurkers why they are lurking. If I was an AA operations person seeking to solve this problem, Iíd start there.

Cheers,
LBBZman
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