new boarding policy effective 1/1/14

Old Jan 2, 14, 8:04 am
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new boarding policy effective 1/1/14

I arrived at SVO earlier today and am seriously jet-lagged for some reason so my memory is a bit foggy at the moment. However, yesterday I experienced a new boarding process at OKC, ATL, and JFK. One or more GAs said this was a new policy effective 1/1/14.

The pre-boarding was limited to those in wheelchairs, a child who had a ticket for a seat where they were using a car seat (or whatever they use on a plane), and children with a peanut allergy. I never said anyone pre-board other than those in wheelchairs.

Next to board were those in FC. My BP did not have any zone written on it. OKC and ATL made a clear distinction between FC boarding then elites were to follow and others with zones. I do not know if elites not in FC had Zone 1 on their BP. However, clearly families with children of any age were not given any kind of special boarding privilege.

The GA at ATL was more specific about how we boarded. She said that DOT had received a lot of complaints about the boarding process - adding that DL had begen singled out for a lot of this criticism - and she implored everyone to comply with her exact instructions. For example, not only were wheelchairs first but no one in FC was allowed to start toward the aircraft until she confirmed herself that all those in wheelchairs were actually inside the plane itself.

On a related note the GA at ATL did not want those on the standby and ug list to get in line to talk to her. She arrived more than an hour early but said the gate was not open until 1 hour before departure. At the one hour mark, she announced that she needed 15-20 more minutes to sort out both lists. It happened that my B/SWU ticket did not clear on the ATL-JFK segment until maybe 45 minutes before departure and once I said this noted on the board at the gate then I got in line to get a new BP for ATL-JFK.

Another note is that when I did OLCI, I did not get a BP for JFK-SVO but instructions to go the gate for check-in since they had to verify not only my passport but also my visa.

Last edited by Xeno; Jan 2, 14 at 8:22 am
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:21 am
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Same kind of experience reported by passengers on 12/30 who were flying DL out of EWR and DTW.

Zone 1 was so massive according to their reports that Zone 2 and/or 3 seemed like oasis of calm in comparison if not for the issue with overhead bin space.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:23 am
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In terms of OB space, all three gates made several announcements that people should bring their carry-on luggage to the gate to be checked to their final destination at no charge.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:24 am
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When everyone is "elite" nobody is "elite".

It really is that simple. If there are X pax to board an aircraft, the sole question is how and whether to group them.

You can debate from now until the end of time which pax go first, but you can't do what DL did and tell everybody that they're special, when they're not.

Bear in mind that DL's problem isn't its boarding order, it's the failure to enforce carry-on policy. That is where DOT (FAA) becomes invovled and should. If DL enforced its own policy, there would be only a very few carry-on issues and the herd mentality to stampede the aircraft would largely go away.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
In terms of OB space, all three gates made several announcements that people should bring their carry-on luggage to the gate to be checked to their final destination at no charge.
Same thing with DL at EWR and DTW, from what I was told or observed.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:29 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
...when I did OLCI, I did not get a BP for JFK-SVO but instructions to go the gate for check-in since they had to verify not only my passport but also my visa.
Interesting. On December 29, I flew to Brazil, which also requires a visa, but OLCI worked fine for me. I printed my boarding pass for ATL-GIG at home. When I got to the SkyClub, they checked my visa and printed a new boarding pass that said "DOCS OK" or something like that.

Bruce
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:30 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
In terms of OB space, all three gates made several announcements that people should bring their carry-on luggage to the gate to be checked to their final destination at no charge.
That was announced at every flight I had during the last half of 2013. DL has conditioned people to look for this offer.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
When everyone is "elite" nobody is "elite".

It really is that simple. If there are X pax to board an aircraft, the sole question is how and whether to group them.

You can debate from now until the end of time which pax go first, but you can't do what DL did and tell everybody that they're special, when they're not.

Bear in mind that DL's problem isn't its boarding order, it's the failure to enforce carry-on policy. That is where DOT (FAA) becomes invovled and should. If DL enforced its own policy, there would be only a very few carry-on issues and the herd mentality to stampede the aircraft would largely go away.
I know this does not go directly to your point, but when describing elites I think all three GAs named the various medallion levels to then be followed by Zonoe 1. But admittedly I was not listening close to that nor did I see what actually happened because I boarded with FC/BE.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by bdschobel View Post
Interesting. On December 29, I flew to Brazil, which also requires a visa, but OLCI worked fine for me. I printed my boarding pass for ATL-GIG at home. When I got to the SkyClub, they checked my visa and printed a new boarding pass that said "DOCS OK" or something like that.

Bruce
I, too, got new BPs at the OKC ticket counter that said "DOCS OK" but the ticket counter told me to go to the gate agent at SVO for a stamp.

I only got a few minutes in the new lounge at JFK Term 4 but I was told that in the past someone from the gate would come to the lounge to stamp for confirmed visas but now the gate staff was too small to do this for us.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by Xeno View Post
I know this does not go directly to your point, but when describing elites I think all three GAs named the various medallion levels to then be followed by Zonoe 1. But admittedly I was not listening close to that nor did I see what actually happened because I boarded with FC/BE.
I think distinguishing between the levels is especially important on flights with many elites. I always think of an MD88 I was on MSP-ATL a few years ago where there were 20-somthing DMs and nearly 90 on the UG list.

With the overall boarding policy change, I agree it's a good thing. However, if GA's do not consistently enforce it (my experience the other night comes to mind), it wil not be effective.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Same thing with DL at EWR and DTW, from what I was told or observed.
Given the weather and what we have to wear outside this time of year (in certain parts of the country at least), there's much less space in the overheads for carry ons than in the middle of the summer.

<loL>

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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
If DL enforced its own policy, there would be only a very few carry-on issues and the herd mentality to stampede the aircraft would largely go away.
Doubtful that it's that simply effective for travel this week. Going to ban coats too?

Carry-on placement issues are mostly a direct result of the airline greed that comes with reduced free checked baggage allowance and increased checked baggage fees and that arises from cramming more passengers into planes than the manufacturers had originally expected at design phase.

DL's carry-on policy is whatever DL wanted and filed with the FAA without facing an FAA rejection.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by rwoman View Post
I think distinguishing between the levels is especially important on flights with many elites. I always think of an MD88 I was on MSP-ATL a few years ago where there were 20-somthing DMs and nearly 90 on the UG list.

With the overall boarding policy change, I agree it's a good thing. However, if GA's do not consistently enforce it (my experience the other night comes to mind), it wil not be effective.
I know 3 GAs does not a pattern prove, but each one wanted the elites - DM, PM, GM, FO - to follow first class.

ATL-JFK had 13 persons on the ug list but there were only 2 FC seats and I was at the top of the list (after checking to make certain I was listed UP2A).
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Old Jan 2, 14, 9:11 am
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I wasn't paying very close attention, but I believe my TPE-NRT-ATL flights yesterday also followed this boarding pattern. Special needs, then BE, then medallions.
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Old Jan 2, 14, 9:16 am
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Forgive me for being ignorant, but from what I can read the only difference seems to be no families with small children during pre-boarding. Is this accurate?
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