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Group Boarding 2018 - first hand experiences

Group Boarding 2018 - first hand experiences

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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:52 am   -   Wikipost
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Please use this thread to document experiences of the new Group Boarding process in airports. I think it's well known how the previous boarding system works, so just the new process please, so that other travellers can gauge its effectiveness.

For discussion, conjecture and speculation about the scheme, please use this thread: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/brit...iscussion.html
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Old May 23, 18, 5:50 am
  #691  
 
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Originally Posted by Fitch View Post
Diver Boy, it seems clear to me that BA staff performance ratings / bonuses are driven more by on-time departure than adherence to Group Boarding process. While that remains the case, proper Group Boarding will always be a poor cousin to getting the aircraft away...
I personally know nothing about performance ratings and bonuses for BA staff. What you say here could well be right.

But here’s a thought : are the two objectives (effective Priority Boarding and on-time departures) mutually exclusive ?

In comon no doubt with many, many other FT-ers, I have travelled with a good number of airlines who consistently manage to achieve both ; and, it would seem, with no great drama or chaos.
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Old May 23, 18, 6:06 am
  #692  
 
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Originally Posted by subject2load View Post


I personally know nothing about performance ratings and bonuses for BA staff. What you say here could well be right.

But here’s a thought : are the two objectives (effective Priority Boarding and on-time departures) mutually exclusive ?

In comon no doubt with many, many other FT-ers, I have travelled with a good number of airlines who consistently manage to achieve both ; and, it would seem, with no great drama or chaos.
They're not mutually exclusive at all, quite the opposite in fact, but when you target people say 90% on A and 10% on B which one is going to be their primary focus...? Human nature is what it is !
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Old May 23, 18, 6:23 am
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Human nature is indeed like that. I wasn’t aware of those sort of percentages, assuming of course that they are (roughly) accurate ?

Although ...... I’m not at all sure that the ‘effectiveness’ - or otherwise - of Group Boarding is actually set as a target, or measured at all - let alone with even a 10% weighting. I say this because, judging from a good number of the posts - admittedly, not all - through the life of the thread to date, there seems little evidence that any real importance is being attached to it, in practice, (as opposed to in theory) by BA management. If it were, then staff would not feel so seemingly relaxed about making token announcements but then failing to actually police / enforce properly by checking eligibility at the point of boarding.
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Old May 23, 18, 6:39 am
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My percentages are illustrative rather than based on any real data. I am just extrapolating from observation (direct and reported). I think we are in violent agreement
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Old May 23, 18, 8:52 am
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LHR-EWR boarded group 1, then group 2 from T5B... straight onto a bus. Mostly pointless when a SCH is walking up the steps to a 777 ahead of a First passenger.
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Old May 23, 18, 9:02 am
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Originally Posted by Fitch View Post
Diver Boy, it seems clear to me that BA staff performance ratings / bonuses are driven more by on-time departure than adherence to Group Boarding process. While that remains the case, proper Group Boarding will always be a poor cousin to getting the aircraft away...
I think we all know that BA are driving cost efficiencies and targeting staff performances towards achieving the efficiencies which means they do not pay attention to actually enforcing some of the good policies they bring out ie group boarding. As has been said these should not be exclusive, if they actually enforced the procedure correctly on every flight then boarding would run smoother.

I had a Finnair flight this morning from a T3 bus gate and they managed to get group boarding working correctly. First bus was away just as I got to the gate but the next one was called as Groups 1 and 2 only. They actually had staff checking the boarding passes to ensure correct group. This bus also went not packed to the rafters, people still in the pen. Difference seemed to be AY pays for the buses but also the staff want to follow policy. This removed the excuse others have given that gates in T3 do not allow enforcement. They do if the staff step up. There were the same staff numbers BA use but they seemed to be more proactive. I know we criticise the BA GA's but they do need support from the company which doesn't seem to happen, they launch something in a blaze of publicity which is either poorly thought out, a lack of training or the company gets immediately distracted and doesn't follow up to ensure that all staff follow the procedures
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Old May 23, 18, 9:06 am
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Last flight I had (LGW-GLA) They called numbers 1, then 2, then all remaining passengers, within literally 30 seconds of each other. which made the queue to board just a mass of people groups 1-5. no real order. In fairness the flight was late leaving and it was the last flight of the day so I am sure they didn't want to hang about. I didn't have an overhead bag so I was happy to sit and wait till everyone else had boarded.
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Old May 24, 18, 2:09 am
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LHR - BIO on 19 May
Closed gate, had two old school lanes for ticket and passport checks. All bundled into the same waiting room.
Babies and wheelchairs called first.
Then Group 1. Didn't see what happened after that

BIO - LHR on 23 May
No lanes but a long queue of people to one side with another shorter queue in front of the entrance to the jetty. We must have arrived just after the announcement had been made and simply followed a couple we saw in the lounge. So, can't report at all on any attempt to follow the new system.

Last edited by fluffymitten; May 24, 18 at 5:14 am Reason: typo - referenced BIL not BIO
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Old May 24, 18, 3:22 am
  #699  
 
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My 2 recent trips groups actively policed.

LHR VIE
VIE LHR
LGW FNC
FNC LGW

Group 1 at FNC when called looked like a scene from the thriller video as usual!
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Old May 24, 18, 7:07 am
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Heathrow, T5, Gate A1. LHR-BHD

Automatic scanners, but this time the staff stopped Groups 2 and up from proceeding before Group 1 had gone through.
That meant Group 1 could use all the gates, for a pretty speedy boarding.

(Last time, the staff just let every queue approach 'their' boarding pass scanner, negating the group priority)
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Old May 24, 18, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by Fitch View Post
Diver Boy, it seems clear to me that BA staff performance ratings / bonuses are driven more by on-time departure than adherence to Group Boarding process. While that remains the case, proper Group Boarding will always be a poor cousin to getting the aircraft away...
So Group Boarding has nothing to do with On Time performance?

At LHR on Friday, the adherence to Group Boarding resulted in doors closing 10 minutes before scheduled departure, with an early arrival.
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Old May 24, 18, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by Sealink View Post
So Group Boarding has nothing to do with On Time performance?

At LHR on Friday, the adherence to Group Boarding resulted in doors closing 10 minutes before scheduled departure, with an early arrival.
Sealink, a stopped clock is right twice a day

Seriously though, it's human nature to react to incentives and if your bonus rests on xx.x% on time departures, it's much easier to fall back into default behaviour and the comfortable "just shove 'em all in" approach rather than taking a moment to reflect that controlled boarding is likely to be the most efficient in terms of throughput !! That latter reflection requires some management push and ongoing attention to embed new default behaviours, which I would venture to suggest is somewhat lacking, even at T5
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Old May 25, 18, 2:59 am
  #703  
 
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Very poor experience with group boarding on the BA432 to Amsterdam on Wednesday. The gate was A3 (one with the automatic gates) and passports were checked manually before entering the queue for the machines. There was a slight delay (although unsure why as the plane came in from ABZ and was early even) and the gate area was completely crowded and the poor staff member tried to line up groups 1 and 2 while checking passports. I believe the problem was that group 1/2 was very very large (usual on the AMS sectors?) and simply not enough space at that gate. Also, a significant chunk of group 2 boarded before group 1.

Eventually left the gate around 15 minutes late and arrived 5 minutes late.

I'm reporting back on this here because I'm very disappointed that BA can't properly organise (priority) boarding from their flagship hub at a gate with the latest(?) technology. Next time I see a low-numbered gate in T5 I'll make sure to arrive at the gate at the end of boarding.
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Old May 25, 18, 3:53 am
  #704  
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LCY-AMS earlier this week: A clear call for Group 1, and the lady immediately ahead of me was turned back, with the gate agent then pausing to make an immediate repeat announcement that she was boarding Group 1 only. As usual at LCY, this secured for Group 1 pax a place closer to the front of the queue to be let out of the downstairs door.

AMS-LCY: One agent standing at the head of the queue demanding to see BPs to check for Group 1 before allowing pax through to the agent operating the scanner. A very efficient turnaround, overall - the inbound aircraft was late and the outbound flight was ready to go within about 30 minutes, all then wrecked by having to wait for a tug.
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Old May 25, 18, 6:30 am
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IAD-LHR: It's been a while since I went out of IAD - and then on the A380's where the queuing was a bit topsy-turvy with the two decks. Anyway, Group1 is the furthest from the lounge - but closest to the front door access to First - which is fine for those flying First. However, travelling down the back we had to negotiate the tensa barrier across the corridor between the front and second doors - by which time Group 3 was being loaded. Other Group 1 passengers seem to have gone through via the aircraft route (probably a bit annoying for those 'exclusive' First passengers!
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