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Pre-Boarding in the Corridor and Airbridge - BA now a true LCC?

Pre-Boarding in the Corridor and Airbridge - BA now a true LCC?

Old Nov 4, 19, 6:01 am
  #1  
BOH
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Angry Pre-Boarding in the Corridor and Airbridge - BA now a true LCC?

This seems to be happening more and more with BA, particularly at the outstations. So boarding is announced...but the aircraft is nowhere near ready and the first to board stand and wait 15-20 minutes in a corridor or half-way down the airbridge

At one of my regular outstation destinations it used to be the real exception and was only ever done if the inbound aircraft was going to be late....this is perfectly understandable as it no doubt helps reduce the turnaround time. But lately it seems the norm - the last time time I departed from this airport 10 days ago they announced boarding and started this corridor queue even before the inbound aircraft had arrived at the gate. Now we all know that it takes BA at least 20-25 minutes to make the aircraft ready after the inbound pax have got off so this seems ridiculous.

They also did it the time before too and it was so early that some pax having gone past the GA and had their BP's scanned, started ducking back under the Tensa barrier from the queue and sitting back down again in the gate area or going to the loo. Once boarding then actually started, the same pax ducked back under the Tensa-barrier and re-joined. Curious as to whether this is a security risk or as a minimum, cause discrepancies on the manifest - some infrequent fliers might be tempted to jump the main queue if they see other pax doing it and not realise those have already been past the GA with their BP.

The whole process at some places just now seems very LCC. At 2 outstations now in the last 6 weeks it also seemed completely unnecessary as the inbound aircraft had either not arrived at all or only just arrived meaning many of the departing pax stood and queued for some 15-20 minutes. 10 days ago we boarded so early the "boarding complete" message to the CC was announced some 20 minutes before our scheduled departure time resulting in the aircraft just sitting idly at the gate for that amount of time

Thought only U2 and FR did this sort of thing....further race to the bottom for BA I fear
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:04 am
  #2  
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It’s now BA policy and we hate it as much as you do, it looks so unorganised unprofessional but it saves a couple of minutes!
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:08 am
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I had one better than that on Friday, had our BPs scanned at DUB, and walked out the door and made to wait in the rain for about 5-10 minutes before we could board.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:09 am
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Originally Posted by BOH View Post
Thought only U2 and FR did this sort of thing....further race to the bottom for BA I fear
I doubt that it is "official" BA policy, but a set of circumstances that has evolved. There are a few things might be at play.
1) Sub contracted 3rd Party agents used to handling LCC airlines. Costs have been cut to the bone, the sooner the gate staff can get the passengers boarded the sooner they can handle the next flight, or assist elsewhere.
2) Heavy penalties for delays attributable to ground-handling delays
3) BA's rather generous hand luggage allowances causing slow boarding, delayed departures and missed slots.

Although FR have a very draconian hand luggage policy, it has really sped up boarding and disembarkation times and not having to slam, cram and jam the kitchen sink into ivy nook possible has reduced the stress for everyone. The policy is readily enforced with a £50 fee to gate-check. The rules are fair, transparent and consistency applied. FR even have a VR bag sizer function in the app. It quite impressive really.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:13 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
It’s now BA policy and we hate it as much as you do, it looks so unorganised unprofessional but it saves a couple of minutes!
That is really bad. You employee a monkey to supervise fruit picking in a farm, and you will end up with bananas only. [sorry for the distasteful example, but that is how I feel about a certain CEO].
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:13 am
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Originally Posted by Can I help you View Post
It’s now BA policy and we hate it as much as you do, it looks so unorganised unprofessional but it saves a couple of minutes!
Ah I see, thanks. The one problem I see is the pax it will mostly pi$$ off the most are the Group 1s and 2s though. Surely many of those will be BA's most regular or higher yielding customers as either Gold / Silvers or having bought C/J/F tickets. As generally they like to board early to snare the overhead space, they will be the ones standing in the corridors / steps / airbridge the longest
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by BrianDromey View Post
I doubt that it is "official" BA policy, but a set of circumstances that has evolved. There are a few things might be at play.
No, there was a change of policy about a year ago, indeed there was a thread when it happened. It happens in the Europe network, though some stations don't do it. But it happens at LGW and LHR (and effectively LCY but that's another matter). The idea, however, is that the first person from Priority 1 should only be held on the bridge for just a minute or two, not 20 minutes (which incidentally is unlikely to happen often, it means BA's ground handling bill will go up a lot given their usual timetable structure). Of course it may feel like 20 minutes....

I'm not at all fond of it either, so I simply decline to participate.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:31 am
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Originally Posted by BOH View Post
Ah I see, thanks. The one problem I see is the pax it will mostly pi$$ off the most are the Group 1s and 2s though. Surely many of those will be BA's most regular or higher yielding customers as either Gold / Silvers or having bought C/J/F tickets. As generally they like to board early to snare the overhead space, they will be the ones standing in the corridors / steps / airbridge the longest
I agree I had a recent experience at Sofia Airport where there was no attempt to board by group number, and then as part of the boarding scrum we had to wait in the airbridge for about 5 minutes. The group boarding is a feature which BA "include" as part of the premium service, and it's frustrating when they just can't be bothered to enfore it.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:52 am
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I've had it at T5 on at least a couple of occasions in 2019 so far. Wasn't quite 20 minutes, but it was a good few.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 6:57 am
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I think BA might well be contravening Health and Safety regulations on this one based on a quick reading of the CAA guidance which suggests airbridges are for passenger movements - embarkation and disembarkation - rather than as a holding area or gate add on facility. The regs also mention something about airbridges not being left unattended during passenger movements. Having experienced being held on the airbridges in Malaga recently with the aircraft door slightly closed (Aka “not ready for boarding) and no ground staff on the airbridge, BA might need to be reminded. If the aircraft is not ready for passengers, you could argue that they shouldn’t be on the airbridge......

Last edited by kaizenflying; Nov 4, 19 at 7:21 am
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:15 am
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2-3 mins standing in a different place (airbridge instead of terminal) doesn't bother me - it's just variety in where to vegetate whilst in a queue. This pre-loading into the airbridge seems to be normal practice at MAN now.

The simple way out is to board at the last minute (with the risks that carries).

On the other hand, 10mins plus stood on an airbridge strikes me as lack of respect for customers and would be an unwelcome behaviour by BA.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by BOH View Post
This seems to be happening more and more with BA, particularly at the outstations. So boarding is announced...but the aircraft is nowhere near ready and the first to board stand and wait 15-20 minutes in a corridor or half-way down the airbridge

At one of my regular outstation destinations it used to be the real exception and was only ever done if the inbound aircraft was going to be late....this is perfectly understandable as it no doubt helps reduce the turnaround time. But lately it seems the norm - the last time time I departed from this airport 10 days ago they announced boarding and started this corridor queue even before the inbound aircraft had arrived at the gate. Now we all know that it takes BA at least 20-25 minutes to make the aircraft ready after the inbound pax have got off so this seems ridiculous.
Is your outstation Brussels cause this happens to me all the time when I depart from Brussels. It sometimes happens at CDG too. It is really annoying as you are called from the lounge early in order to end up waiting 10min+ not on the jet bridge but the corridor that leads to the jet bridge. In Brussels it is a corridor in a slope. Not very appropriate for standing. I have already seen people sitting on the floor after a few minutes wait and in summer it tends to get hot down there...
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by BrianDromey View Post
Although FR have a very draconian hand luggage policy, it has really sped up boarding and disembarkation times and not having to slam, cram and jam the kitchen sink into ivy nook possible has reduced the stress for everyone. The policy is readily enforced with a £50 fee to gate-check. The rules are fair, transparent and consistency applied. FR even have a VR bag sizer function in the app. It quite impressive really.
It's £25 for a cabin sized bag (20" or so tops) and £50 if more towards a hold bag (sort of family sized suitcase).

Consistency isn't applied at all. Dublin, Shannon, Belfast etc. don't bother following half of Ryanair's rules such as enforcing baggage, so you constantly see people arguing how they took their trolley case from Dublin for free as a non-priority customer when they're being told "£25 please" at Manchester.
Lots of people still believe a wheeled trolley bag to be a small bag as well. No matter what the website, emails, pictorial signage etc. tells them, they choose to ignore it, or at the very least, fail to understand it. That plus "Easyjet / Aer Lingus" etc. let me take this on so logically, every other airline must have exactly the same baggage policy.

At LHR, I don't think it makes a blind bit of difference half the time how early a flight boards. You always seem to leave 10-20 mins after your official departure time.

As for staffing levels, sometimes airlines are short staffed for whatever reason.
Dispatchers seem to be short on the ground at MAN and not sure if this is true, but if the ramp team are loading a delayed aircraft, and the next plane comes in on time on their list, they're supposed to leave it and move on so that another plane isn't delayed.
Believe FR tend to fine whoever, at least £50/min for any boarding delays.

I personally have no issues queuing in a corridor or on an airbridge. Bit closer to the plane in my opinion and it's not usually that long anyway.
If I've no bags, I've no reason outside of "status benefits" to board that early anyway.



.

Last edited by xenole; Nov 4, 19 at 7:56 am
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by BA6948 View Post
Is your outstation Brussels cause this happens to me all the time when I depart from Brussels. It sometimes happens at CDG too. It is really annoying as you are called from the lounge early in order to end up waiting 10min+ not on the jet bridge but the corridor that leads to the jet bridge. In Brussels it is a corridor in a slope. Not very appropriate for standing. I have already seen people sitting on the floor after a few minutes wait and in summer it tends to get hot down there...
Brussels is an absolute prime example, because they have so much space with the 3 level ramp going down they can board almost an entire A319 into that space without even using the airbridge itself. They can close the doors at the bottom and have the entire flight "boarded" into the ramp before the inbound has even finished disembarking.
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Old Nov 4, 19, 7:57 am
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I use this time to take my jacket off, get my water bottle and headphones out and prepare to get my stuff stowed away and sit down as soon as possible.
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