AA @ MUC and Bus Gates

Old Mar 6, 2023, 9:14 am
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AA @ MUC and Bus Gates

One has to take the bus arriving and departing MUC when flying AA. What I found most odd if not comical is that for yesterday's departure the gate agent was announcing boarding zones but then zones 1-5 are all standing on a bus. lol Zero sense there.

Does AA not want to pay the city of Munich enough euro to be able to use a normal gate? I certainly saw other heavies parked at 1 (QR ).
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 9:39 am
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As far as i can remember back, AA has always used a remote gate at MUC. And it is very common across European airlines (especially LH) to bird the buses by group numbers.

some airline will segment out J/F and top pier priority PAX into a dedicated bus.

Originally Posted by enviroian
One has to take the bus arriving and departing MUC when flying AA. What I found most odd if not comical is that for yesterday's departure the gate agent was announcing boarding zones but then zones 1-5 are all standing on a bus. lol Zero sense there.

Does AA not want to pay the city of Munich enough euro to be able to use a normal gate? I certainly saw other heavies parked at 1 (QR ).
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 9:58 am
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That's how it works in FRA too. You board in order and then all get on the same bus. Arrivals are the same way. It is sometimes a hassle, especially if its hot on the bus (Athens was the worse for that), but it is cool at least in FRA to drive around all these huge planes. It doesn't make much sense to go through the gate first as you are just waiting on the bus longer, unless you get to stand in an area with a good plane view.

It happens a lot in FRA on Lufthansa, especially for inter-European flights. LH doesn't use separate busses for J, but you will wait on the bus at the plane until any VIP's load from a BMW. That's why I never board first at a bus gate. No big rush.

Funny story: I am on a flight to Seville from FRA. We are on the bus. We go to the plane and just park. Meanwhile, a BMW pulls up and an older man gets out with a young woman in a short short dress who is in very good shape. The entire crowd on the bus is just watching this old man and this bombshell slowly walk up the stairs when suddenly someone on the bus says loudly in English 'I am sure that is his daughter'. The entire bus started cracking up, even the bus driver was laughing. Once they were on the plane, we were released to walk up the steps.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 9:59 am
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I took this flight a lot in 2022 - it's always a bus.

I'm pretty sure it's not an issue of AA "not wanting to pay the city of Munich enough", rather I don't think they can do it at all.

I believe that all US nonstops out of Munich are currently bus only. Given the layout of the system at MUC (small "modules" with each having its own screening) there is no place to put all of the machines and people needed for enhanced screening anywhere else but in the "bus finger" right now. From what I understand MUC is working on fixing this and the construction you see between Modules A/B will include a US-dedicated portion (likely the far end which can be partitioned off, where you can board through gates.

In the future, you'll clear initial security as you do right now and rather than heading for the bus finger (where you clear enhanced security) you will head to the new US finger and clear and board directly from there.
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Last edited by FlyLotsII; Mar 6, 2023 at 10:05 am
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by bitterproffit
That's how it works in FRA too. You board in order and then all get on the same bus. Arrivals are the same way.
And ironically it's usually group 5 that boards first as they were the last to get on the bus but first to exit.

I'm not complaining actually I just didn't find it very efficient as a business class traveler. Yes, I agree the plane spotting was great though. Oh-there was some FUNKY liveried Condo 321 sitting there with a circular orange and white around the entire fuselage. REALLY cool livery.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:21 am
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Originally Posted by FlyLotsII
I took this flight a lot in 2022 - it's always a bus.

I'm pretty sure it's not an issue of AA "not wanting to pay the city of Munich enough", rather I don't think they can do it at all.

I believe that all US nonstops out of Munich are currently bus only. Given the layout of the system at MUC (small "modules" with each having its own screening) there is no place to put all of the machines and people needed for enhanced screening anywhere else but in the "bus finger" right now. From what I understand MUC is working on fixing this and the construction you see between Modules A/B will include a US-dedicated portion (likely the far end which can be partitioned off, where you can board through gates.

In the future, you'll clear initial security as you do right now and rather than heading for the bus finger (where you clear enhanced security) you will head to the new US finger and clear and board directly from there.
Good to know. I think the only other US flights are DL from ATL and UA from EWR (I *think*).
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:24 am
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When I used to fly PHL-MUC on US, they boarded with a normal bridge for all my flights there. Is it really a cost savings or just a capacity issue that AA can't even get a gate if they wanted to?
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:33 am
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Well non-StarAlliance that is correct. CLT and ATL are the only ones out of T1.

United of course uses T2 where this isn't an issue (far end of one of the concourses is set up for US clearance - similar to what it will be in T1).

UA nonstops from MUC include EWR, IAD, ORD, DEN and SFO (some of these may only be seasonal). LH of course has many more.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:35 am
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I believe this is "newer". With a combination of fewer (non Star Alliance) US nonstops, the shuffling of airlines in T1 in terms of Module location, and then finally plans for T1 expansion (impacting widebody gate access), it became undoable.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by FlyLotsII
I'm pretty sure it's not an issue of AA "not wanting to pay the city of Munich enough", rather I don't think they can do it at all.

I believe that all US nonstops out of Munich are currently bus only. ....
Back in the day, US Airways usually had assigned gates at MUC; I flew through there several times on US and I only remember once using a bus. But then again, US and LH were partners in Star Alliance.


As for using a bus... I've had to do it at many airports; I arrived on AA at LAX and went to what looked like a maintenance hangar, where buses met us. And of course I've used buses at BCN, MAD, LHR, and I'm sure others. It really isn't a big deal.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 11:30 am
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Based on the posts, it sounds like LH and Start Alliance partners are allocated the best gates. And the other alliances are relegated to bus gates...not unusal for airports to treat their larger tenants better.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by formeraa
Based on the posts, it sounds like LH and Start Alliance partners are allocated the best gates. And the other alliances are relegated to bus gates...not unusal for airports to treat their larger tenants better.
Makes complete sense.
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by FlyLotsII
UA nonstops from MUC include EWR, IAD, ORD, DEN and SFO (some of these may only be seasonal)
Wow! That's more flights to just Munich than AA serves Germany from all airports.

Last edited by enviroian; Mar 6, 2023 at 12:20 pm
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by formeraa
Based on the posts, it sounds like LH and Start Alliance partners are allocated the best gates. And the other alliances are relegated to bus gates...not unusal for airports to treat their larger tenants better.
As Lufthansa own half of terminal 2 in Munich, they will only allow partners to use their gates
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Old Mar 6, 2023, 12:53 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Good to know. I think the only other US flights are DL from ATL and UA from EWR (I *think*).
Let's not forget about DTW.
Originally Posted by formeraa
Based on the posts, it sounds like LH and Start Alliance partners are allocated the best gates. And the other alliances are relegated to bus gates...not unusal for airports to treat their larger tenants better.
If you're keen to take the bus to a *A flight, just book a CRJ-900 operated flight.
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