Parking Group 1 on the airbridge

Old Feb 12, 2024, 5:45 am
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Parking Group 1 on the airbridge

On several recent flights they have called Group 1 to board VERY early - sometimes while the incoming aircraft is still disembarking - and left us standing on the airbridge for 10-20 minutes.

I get that boarding could be accelerated and queues might in theory be reduced if they push through the first 60 or so passengers (and presumably as much of the throng behind as will fit on the airbridge) . But boy it can be unpleasant in an unheated/uncooled airbridge. And standing for 20 minutes will surely undo any calm from the lounge.

Is this a new policy? Do the maths support this overlap between disembarking/cleaning and boarding? Surely passengers finding seats will be slower than passport checks, so they should open the gate only when the aircraft is actually ready?
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:07 am
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Originally Posted by SP0
On several recent flights they have called Group 1 to board VERY early - sometimes while the incoming aircraft is still disembarking - and left us standing on the airbridge for 10-20 minutes.

I get that boarding could be accelerated and queues might in theory be reduced if they push through the first 60 or so passengers (and presumably as much of the throng behind as will fit on the airbridge) . But boy it can be unpleasant in an unheated/uncooled airbridge. And standing for 20 minutes will surely undo any calm from the lounge.

Is this a new policy? Do the maths support this overlap between disembarking/cleaning and boarding? Surely passengers finding seats will be slower than passport checks, so they should open the gate only when the aircraft is actually ready?
There would never be (should) an overlap between disembarking and boarding at LHR as arriving and departing passengers are kept separate at all times.

You may be sent down towards the aircraft while cleaning is being finished off as in theory after the cleaners get off, a minute or two later should see you over the threshold.

You shouldnt really have a wait on the air bridge of over 5 mins.

In answer to your question, having 60 people boarded at the gate instead of waiting until the aircraft is ready may be the difference between departing on time or not. Without doing this, theres 5 mins of dead time where the aircraft is ready and there are no passengers at the door ready to board.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by SP0
On several recent flights they have called Group 1 to board VERY early - sometimes while the incoming aircraft is still disembarking - and left us standing on the airbridge for 10-20 minutes.
you will not be on the bridge when the inbound is still disembarking.

It helps the ontime departure if people are already waiting on the jetty

It also means the gate team can show they started boarding on time
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:15 am
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BA started this some years ago, though I mainly see it at European outstations. In LHR T5 I've only very rarely had more than 60 seconds to wait in the jet bridge.

I can see how it allows BA to squeeze extra juice out of its routes, but it can be extremely uncomfortable (European summer jetbridges can be 45 degrees+ at times) feels a pretty hostile thing to make your passengers do. I could have saved 200 and flown Ryanair if I wanted to be exposed to the elements and long queueing.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:20 am
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet
you will not be on the bridge when the inbound is still disembarking.
It helps the ontime departure if people are already waiting on the jetty
It also means the gate team can show they started boarding on time
You can be stuck part-way during disembarking if there is a split bridge with physical segregation; it happened at VCE today.
And while it might in theory help on time departure, I am not convinced the maths support that and it is at the expense of passenger comfort.

Originally Posted by scottishpoet
It also means the gate team can show they started boarding on time
Now that might be a cause. Perhaps metrics producing undesirable results?

Originally Posted by EuropeanPete
it can be extremely uncomfortable (European summer jetbridges can be 45 degrees+ at times) feels a pretty hostile thing to make your passengers do. I could have saved 200 and flown Ryanair if I wanted to be exposed to the elements and long queueing.
Absolutely. Especially unwise as it is the premium passengers.

We had the same on IB departing Buenos Aires when it was 40 degrees outside and considerably more inside the airbridge, with no air circulation. Everyone was sweating buckets by the time we eventually boarded. Horrendous. Meanwhile Group 3+ were comfortably seated in the gate lounge.
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Last edited by golfmad; Feb 12, 2024 at 7:49 am Reason: Merged consecutive posts
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:24 am
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It's very common in European outstations and I think it is less to do with helping get the flight away and more to do with their measurable targets (we used to call them kpi's when I was a retail manager - key performance indicators). Just the same as in McDonalds will call the number several minutes before it is really ready, and the security scan of BPs
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:26 am
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Originally Posted by SP0
You can be there during disembarking if there is a split bridge with physical segregation; it happened at VCE today.
And while it might in theory help on time departure, I am not convinced the maths support that and it is at the expense of passenger comfort.
Doing that is a little too much. However the maths do support it as BAs most recent on time departure records have shown.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 6:28 am
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet

It also means the gate team can show they started boarding on time
Any metrics or performance analysis based on this are therefore false.

Youre not boarded when youre standing on an airbridge waiting for the crew to be ready.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:00 am
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Originally Posted by SP0
And while it might in theory help on time departure, I am not convinced the maths support that and it is at the expense of passenger comfort.
having 50 in the jetty waiting will get on the aircraft much quicker than if they are all still at the top of the escalator yet to scan their boarding pass.

yes it comes at the expense of passenger comfort.

If people prefer the comfort they can always wait and board later.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:03 am
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I have noted this a lot (from memory mostly at outstations- indeed as noted above) but rarely has it been for more than a few monutes and never anyting near to the 20 minutes mentioned by the OP. That would indeed be very annoying.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:03 am
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Standing in the airbridge and paying a premium is one of the reasons why I often select Wizzair where I enjoy the same fun for a third of the price...
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:16 am
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Its a disgraceful way to treat passengers and is a classic example of an airline which has a healthy disdain for its paying customers.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by Howard Long
Any metrics or performance analysis based on this are therefore false.

You’re not boarded when you’re standing on an airbridge waiting for the crew to be ready.
Physically no, but as far as the computer inputs are concerned, you are.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:29 am
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The fact that this is VCE is very relevant, the problem one has at some airports, which have a lot of LCC, is that ground agents who only do a bit of BA every day tend to develop local practices, which can include the long wait on the airbridge. And in a BA context that means Group 1. At LHR it still happens, but usually it's only for a few minutes - under 5 - though personally I find that irritating and disrespectful to the customer, but many Brits love to queue and don't seem to mind, so long as they are still at the front of the queue. I try to board last so fortunately I don't see it often.

The problem at LHR can be is that while the plan was 5 minutes, it can sometimes be longer when something goes wrong: I saw one incident where the G1 was all queued up, an Assistance passenger was wheeled on, but there was then some sort of medical issue on board, which screwed up the whole process royally, and the flight ended up about 45 minutes late. The G1 passengers were not a happy bunch, but the intent here was to get an on-time departure. That's an anecdote, it doesn't usually go that way.

I do think that if you think BA - or any airline apart from LCCs - is taking this too far, the best thing to do is to walk back off the airbridge. Annoying for the ground agents (but there is a function key in FLY for this) but it gets the message across.
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Old Feb 12, 2024, 7:30 am
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Originally Posted by itsmeitisss
It's very common in European outstations and I think it is less to do with helping get the flight away and more to do with their measurable targets (we used to call them kpi's when I was a retail manager - key performance indicators). Just the same as in McDonalds will call the number several minutes before it is really ready, and the security scan of BPs
Last year it happened to me at Catania (where we had to wait for an hour without recourse to water in the height of the summer heat) and at Marrakech at night which was pretty horrible. No explanations either and complained afterwards
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