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What a difference a good gate agent can make!

What a difference a good gate agent can make!

Old Apr 14, 15, 7:07 pm
  #1  
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What a difference a good gate agent can make!

Flew out of JFK today and the gate agent had everybody clear the boarding lanes and the area around them. She had SKY and Zone 1 on one side of the gates and 2 and 3 on the other side. She walked out and asked people to show them her boarding pass and shooed them over to where she wanted them. At the begininning, there were only Prem passengers allowed in the Sky Priority lane. I happened to be in first and was able to board without being in a rugby scrum. She even had people in a sort of queue going out laterally away from the gate area. It just goes to show what a little enforcement of rules and authority can do. People can actually be shamed into civilized behavior. And she did it all very nicely, too.
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Old Apr 14, 15, 8:32 pm
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I hope that she got a JWD cert, or that someone acknowledged her efforts, so she continues to do this. Good on her!
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Old Apr 14, 15, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by dungeonlurker View Post
I hope that she got a JWD cert, or that someone acknowledged her efforts, so she continues to do this. Good on her!
Yep, from me. But I am afraid that this will help only her in a minor way. Delta corporate does not seem interested in incentivizing and training its agents in this way. It is all part of the distressing decline in what is considered normative behavior.
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Old Apr 14, 15, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerslc View Post
Yep, from me. But I am afraid that this will help only her in a minor way. Delta corporate does not seem interested in incentivizing and training its agents in this way. It is all part of the distressing decline in what is considered normative behavior.
Yep. The metric they are working to is on-time departure. If they ever make the metric customer focused (provide a the best product experience through all phases of the flight) your experience would be the norm but I do not think that will ever happen.
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Old Apr 14, 15, 9:39 pm
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DL is doing what the DOT incentivizing them to do. On time performance. Sure they have a complaint metric as well but there are probably not as many DOT complaints about unorganized boarding lines.
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Old Apr 14, 15, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by avidflyer View Post
Yep. The metric they are working to is on-time departure. If they ever make the metric customer focused (provide a the best product experience through all phases of the flight) your experience would be the norm but I do not think that will ever happen.
The thing is, Delta does measure its agents based on customer service metrics. The issue is that what that GA did is probably overall poor customer service when surveys get sent out. Premium & SP passengers might think it's great service (and I do too!) but the Zone 2 & 3 passengers hate being told to wait their turn.

If Delta agents weren't measured by what Zone 2/3 passengers say/indicate in surveys, then we'd see more gate agents like this.

It'd be easy for me to do this, but my supervisors frown because it requires me to be confrontational and that hurts my survey scores (overall). Whenever I do stand my ground against a Zone 2 boarding with First Class, the Zone 2 person either makes a scene or complains. Maybe 1 Medallion will thank me if I'm very lucky.

I'll try what this JFK agent did tomorrow at work and see how it turns out...
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Old Apr 14, 15, 10:25 pm
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Is it really better for anyone when there are no rules? When my wife and kids travel in zone 2, they dislike the mob scene as much as when they travel in first. And my subjective (non-scientific) impression is that it is worse with Delta.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by Anudoric View Post
It'd be easy for me to do this, but my supervisors frown because it requires me to be confrontational and that hurts my survey scores (overall).
Really? A calm, polite "Ma'am/Sir, you're in Zone 2, I'm currently boarding only PREM. Please step to the side" works wonders. My scores have not taken a nose dive. I'm sure if you go "OH MY GOD YOUR IN THE WRONG ZONE GET IN THE BACK YOU PESKY E-FARE" may not go over as well.

Heck, when they split PREM and SkyPriority, I was sure that my scores were going to tank because I was tossing so many Golds/Plats out of the line. It wasn't the case.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by Starblazer View Post
Really? A calm, polite "Ma'am/Sir, you're in Zone 2, I'm currently boarding only PREM. Please step to the side" works wonders. My scores have not taken a nose dive. I'm sure if you go "OH MY GOD YOUR IN THE WRONG ZONE GET IN THE BACK YOU PESKY E-FARE" may not go over as well.

Heck, when they split PREM and SkyPriority, I was sure that my scores were going to tank because I was tossing so many Golds/Plats out of the line. It wasn't the case.
3/4 of passengers don't have a problem. But when that 1/4 of passengers who jump in line try it, they make a scene. Most recent case was a lady who literally yelled "Are you serious? I have two kids with me!" Her kids were taller than she was, probably young teens.

I'm just nervous about kicking a PM out of line during PREM boarding. I've always wondered if they'd complain and play the DYKWIA game. Silvers always board with SKY. Sometimes, I'll get a FO who says "But I'm a Medallion and I checked in at the SKY Priority counter downstairs."

It doesn't help that my station has a narrow hallway and the two busiest boarding doors are 10 feet from each other.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 10:19 am
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This gate agent sounds like she has it down.

I unfortunately had the agent who got it about half right.

Last week boarding JFK - LAX, the gate agent announces all Premium/Business, Sky and Zone 1 to line up to the right of the boarding zone. Everyone together.

Everyone obeys figuring she will sort it out once she has us all on the one side of the boarding area.

She tells Zone 2 and Zone 3 to line up to the left. They all follow suit on their side.

So there we all are, Premium/Business, Sky, Zone 1 lined up pretty much single file down the hall way in front of the restaurants, etc.

Then she disappears, the line does start to board/move forward, then stops. THere are about 6 people ahead of me. No one could hear any announcements being made so the single file line starts to curve into the front and slowly becomes wider and wider.

I asked the people in front of me why they stopped, after asking up to the 4th person ahead, I was told they were told to wait as they were only boarding Premium/Business, they were all Zone 1.

So we went around the people in line - we were Premium, worked our way through the now huddled masses who were just looking to get ahead and hear what was going on.

If they are going to line people up, that is fine - but do as the gate agent in the OP did, line up the zones seperately, check the boarding passes. Having 3 different zones in one line was a cluster for everyone involved.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 1:30 pm
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I think the GA should make a clear announcement before boarding that s/he will be enforcing zone boarding and to please respect the zone printed on ones bp. If anyone requires pre-boarding or wants to request a boarding earlier than the zone printed, please approach the podium with your request.

Then firmly but politely reject anyone who gets to the scanner before his zone is called.

The *only* exception I'd make aside from those who came with a request would be to allow a party traveling together to board with the highest priority, even if on different PNRs. (The spirit being a couple traveling together, not a family of 8.)
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Old Apr 15, 15, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Anudoric View Post
The thing is, Delta does measure its agents based on customer service metrics. The issue is that what that GA did is probably overall poor customer service when surveys get sent out. Premium & SP passengers might think it's great service (and I do too!) but the Zone 2 & 3 passengers hate being told to wait their turn.

If Delta agents weren't measured by what Zone 2/3 passengers say/indicate in surveys, then we'd see more gate agents like this.
Don't they measure more by what DM/PM passengers say in surveys?

You've convinced me to be more active in both responding to the surveys and in sending in individual messages as warranted. Any idea how a message praising you compares with a JWD certificate? (Obviously, I have limited numbers of the latter and not always enough time to find one.)
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Old Apr 15, 15, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by andymo99 View Post
I think the GA should make a clear announcement before boarding that s/he will be enforcing zone boarding and to please respect the zone printed on ones bp. If anyone requires pre-boarding or wants to request a boarding earlier than the zone printed, please approach the podium with your request.
They ought to be a little more clever, then. E.g. bulkhead seats should get some boarding priority. (If I have bulkhead in Y, it's faster to let me board with F/J; I'm not blocking them while putting my bags up, and I'm out of the way when more Y boarding starts.)
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Old Apr 15, 15, 2:27 pm
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Good to know.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 3:00 pm
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PLEASE don't be afraid to show authority and command the crowd. Do it with a sincere smile and you'll be amazed at your scores.

If you enforce it and do it in a good way like described in the above post your scores will more than likely go up - not down. Might even get a few chuckles out of the crowd if you do it in a pleasant way if you can put a little levity in the moment.

Example: Had a guy ask if Delta carried Kahlua and the flight attendant exclaimed with a witty "Have you been cheating on me? Thats not this airline!" Whole cabin bust out laughing for a good 30 seconds including him. This could have gone a different way "Wrong airline sir..." Same message, different delivery and the later might have embarrassed the customer and even pissed them off to complain.

And it takes time to break this habit.
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