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Broken Record: Boarding Zones - Delta Policy Not to Enforce

Broken Record: Boarding Zones - Delta Policy Not to Enforce

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Old Dec 13, 13, 9:16 am
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Broken Record: Boarding Zones - Delta Policy Not to Enforce

Hi All,

This has been beaten to death but I have to raise the topic again. I was flying ATL-LAX yesterday and had probably one of the worst boarding zone experiences ever. When they called First Class, all the AMEX Zone 1 SkyMiles Members started boarding... The agents told people at first that they were in the wrong zone, but they kept boarding. The agents kept making clear announcements that they were only boarding First Class but the Kettle kept coming. Finally the agents had enough of it and just said "Calling All Rows And All Zones to Board." This caused a semi-stampeed to the boarding door.

I know the Agents primary responsibility is to have the flight push back on time; however, is there anything Delta can do to to better enforce these boarding zones in the future? Why advertise these medallion programs when any Kettle can walk up and board with First Class as long as he/she is carrying their American Express card? I asked the agents when boarding why they don't enforce the zones (preferably putting those who do not listen in time out), and they told them it is Delta's policy not to enforce Boarding Zones on Domestic Flights.

Has anyone seen anything like this?

Regards,

mbwmbw
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Old Dec 13, 13, 9:37 am
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My experience has been 50/50. I have seen them turn away people and tell them to wait for the Zone 1 announcement. I'd like to see large monitors with current loading zone in HUGE letters, so everyone can see it. My biggest issue is trying to find a path through the GL to the gate. Sometimes its almost impossible.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by richardinmotion View Post
My experience has been 50/50. I have seen them turn away people and tell them to wait for the Zone 1 announcement. I'd like to see large monitors with current loading zone in HUGE letters, so everyone can see it. My biggest issue is trying to find a path through the GL to the gate. Sometimes its almost impossible.
I propose they put in automated boarding lanes w/ actual gates (much like you see on many metro systems), and if your BP doesn't meet that zone then you are rejected. The social backlash from holding up the line and being an idiot might be enough to fix the boarding zone process.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by mbwmbw View Post
I propose they put in automated boarding lanes w/ actual gates (much like you see on many metro systems), and if your BP doesn't meet that zone then you are rejected. The social backlash from holding up the line and being an idiot might be enough to fix the boarding zone process.
honestly not a terrible idea. Just have a turnstile where you must scan your BP to board. GA controls which zones can board, and assigns special priority to pre-boards. GA calls zones, and anyone who is ineligible to board simply gets rejected at the turnstile
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Old Dec 13, 13, 10:01 am
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I am not sure how we really expect the kettles to understand that zone 1 is not first class (first=1 correct?).

There is normally not any indication prior to boarding about the naming and order of the boarding zones (OK - sometimes there is a garbled message from the GA - but some of the PA systems are hard to hear clearly)

I have often thought that it might be a good idea to have a clear display screen on the GIDs that would list all zones and and what order they are called.

There is I think one screen that tells you where to find your zone # on the boarding pass - but nothing to indicate what zones there are or what order they are called in.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 10:02 am
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I think the biggest issue is the desire to be first. Setup separate lanes for each zone. That way if someone with their fancy AMEX card wants to be the first in zone 1 line, all the power to them. The wouldn't be in the first class lane, or the SKY lane and everyone is happy. Sure, you would probably have more gate lice this way, but at least they would be more organized!
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Old Dec 13, 13, 10:02 am
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If the policy really is not to (even try to) enforce boarding zones on domestic flights, I find this shocking.

It would help a lot IMO to post the current boarding zone on the monitor over the GA's "desk" at the gate. Often it's difficult to hear what zone is called or someone arrives late and discovers too late that his or her zone is already boarding.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by jacobac00 View Post
I think the biggest issue is the desire to be first. Setup separate lanes for each zone. That way if someone with their fancy AMEX card wants to be the first in zone 1 line, all the power to them. The wouldn't be in the first class lane, or the SKY lane and everyone is happy. Sure, you would probably have more gate lice this way, but at least they would be more organized!
This has actually helped quite a bit on United flights. It's much more visible to the Kettle who have no idea what's going on. Plus, it makes it easier to get there later and go down the priority lane. The bigger issue with United is for smaller gates, they have Zone 1-2 in a single line; which causes traffic jams as Zone 2 fill up the line and when Zone 1 is called no one can get through.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by mbwmbw View Post
This has actually helped quite a bit on United flights. It's much more visible to the Kettle who have no idea what's going on. Plus, it makes it easier to get there later and go down the priority lane. The bigger issue with United is for smaller gates, they have Zone 1-2 in a single line; which causes traffic jams as Zone 2 fill up the line and when Zone 1 is called no one can get through.
This is what happens when PREM boards but all the DL elites who weren't upgraded block the SkyPriority lane. My most recent bad example of this was when BE boarded on a TPAC flight but no one in BE could get to the podium and some apparent non kettles who should have known better simply refused to move.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by mbwmbw View Post
I propose they put in automated boarding lanes w/ actual gates (much like you see on many metro systems), and if your BP doesn't meet that zone then you are rejected. The social backlash from holding up the line and being an idiot might be enough to fix the boarding zone process.
A similar system controls access to the priority security queue at BRU, but I imagine automated turnstiles would be prohibitively expensive to install at every Delta gate.

That said, whatever became of the self-boarding system that Delta was testing at BOS gate A2 (among other locations)?

Originally Posted by FlyerBrit View Post
I have often thought that it might be a good idea to have a clear display screen on the GIDs that would list all zones and and what order they are called.

There is I think one screen that tells you where to find your zone # on the boarding pass - but nothing to indicate what zones there are or what order they are called in.
I seriously doubt that infrequent flyers pay much attention the screens.

Originally Posted by jacobac00 View Post
Setup separate lanes for each zone... Sure, you would probably have more gate lice this way, but at least they would be more organized!
UA uses this process, at least in BOS Terminal A. It appears to work well enough, though the separate lanes take up quite a bit of room that might not be available at every gate.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
It would help a lot IMO to post the current boarding zone on the monitor over the GA's "desk" at the gate. Often it's difficult to hear what zone is called or someone arrives late and discovers too late that his or her zone is already boarding.
I've noticed that the overhead GID screens already display the currently-boarding zone in a bright green box at some Delta stations. It doesn't seem to help.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
This is what happens when PREM boards but all the DL elites who weren't upgraded block the SkyPriority lane. My most recent bad example of this was when BE boarded on a TPAC flight but no one in BE could get to the podium and some apparent non kettles who should have known better simply refused to move.
No doubt, the gate agents need to do a better job clearing a path to the podium at the start of boarding. Simply announce that everyone must step aside.

Last edited by MS02113; Dec 13, 13 at 2:08 pm
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:06 am
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Broken Record: Boarding Zones - Delta Policy Not to Enforce

Following instructions is hard :/

Whether it's a human or a robot gate giving those instructions really won't matter. I saw somewhere around here that DL experimented with an auto gate. I assume it was a disaster.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:13 am
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Broken Record: Boarding Zones - Delta Policy Not to Enforce

This thread is why I hang out in the skyclub until T-15.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by Vegasmusician View Post
This thread is why I hang out in the skyclub until T-15.
If I don't have bags I would do the same. Perhaps DL should only allow Elites to bring bags on the plane in the overhead. The problem is the Kettle chew through the bin space like it's spinach and when the Elite flyers get on there isn't any left.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by mbwmbw View Post
This has actually helped quite a bit on United flights. It's much more visible to the Kettle who have no idea what's going on. Plus, it makes it easier to get there later and go down the priority lane. The bigger issue with United is for smaller gates, they have Zone 1-2 in a single line; which causes traffic jams as Zone 2 fill up the line and when Zone 1 is called no one can get through.

DL tested this in DTW and a few other places. Word was they really didn't help much and elites didn't like lining up either.
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Old Dec 13, 13, 11:42 am
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I'm often afraid on very full flights that if I board late there could be a duplicate seat assignment and the GA will give it to the early occupant. It's also harder to deal with seat poachers if you board very late.
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