Boarding "circus" with LH?

Old Sep 7, 2010, 12:29 pm
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Boarding "circus" with LH?

I was reading on another forum about boarding 'circus' issues where GAs do not seem to be able to control the crowd at boarding time.

How are LH GA's in handling the boarding issue? I have not flown LH in several years and wonder if tLH uses zone boarding or fill the back of the plane first (first in last out)?

Flying TA in October and wondered with what I will be faced.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 12:57 pm
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They used to have zones, but gave up, now some GAs practice boarding by rows, but of course no one listens and wants to get into that metal tube as soon as possible. I usually board as late as possible as I like minimizing the time spent on board.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 1:15 pm
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Could This rush to get aboard to be based on getting those overhead bins and the space therein?

Flying is just not the fun it used to be.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 4:49 pm
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I flew several LH flights over the weekend. Here's my experience.

1. EWR-FRA - A pre-board for UMs and families, then First/Business, and Economy. No idea how they dealt with Economy, because I was in Business. They did have a separate line for F/C pax.

2. FRA-TXL - Cattle call. It was very orderly. Everyone had to use the Quick Boarding Machines.

3. TXL-FRA - Cattle call. Again, quite orderly.

4. FRA-JFK. Absolute circus. A fully booked out 747 in all classes. They did pre-board UMs and families. Everyone seemed to be part of a family and tried to rush to board. Then they called for F/C and everyone started rushing for the gate. M pax were not turned away. Not sure whether any further boarding announcements were made.

They seem to have it down on the shorter sectors, but with a fully booked 747 the boarding process needs improvement. I think eliminating this pre-boarding needs to go.
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Old Sep 7, 2010, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by MCMAHONSMR
I think eliminating this pre-boarding needs to go.
After reading many comments on other threads I am inclined to agree. Families with one baby I can understand but when it involves the entire 'grandma, grandpa and 4 siblings' group and several of them is when it becomes a circus.
Having had the experience of needing a wheel chair for someone who needed that extra time to maneuver through the narrow isles of a 333, this pre boarding was necessary however having flown out of a Florida airport (PBI) it seemed that the entire plane was wheel chair bound!

I would like to see the return of calling by rows.
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 12:27 am
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For some reasons European carriers are unable to improve boarding experience... I do not know even one carrier (let it be *A, oneWorld or ST), that would enforce boarding process - they all do try from time to time and fail every time... Or like with LX - they somehow are able to have a separate boarding channel for F/C in Terminal E, but in Terminals A/B it is a circus... Or LH with new C14-16 gates in FRA - it is done properly from SEN/FTL Lounges upstairs, but at other gates - it is again a circus... Call it a cultural difference between Europe and the rest of the world
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 3:33 am
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As can be concluded from the other posts already, the way boarding is handled differs from airport to airport. Here is some of my experience:

Brussels
At Brussels there is a separate entrance for First and Business Class travelers as also for *A Gold passengers. They are invited to board first or at their own convenience. Economy class is boarded in bulk.
Passengers with small children/handicapped persons are usually taken on board first, as are UMs.

John F. Kennedy
Passengers with small children and "slow boarders" are boarded first.
Next are First and Business Class together with *Gold. However, it happens frequently to me that on the final passport check I am rejected despite my HON-status because of my Economy Class ticket. I usually have to point to my status addressing a Lufthansa employee.

Los Angeles
As a HON I get picked up at the lounge and can board whenever we reach the gate area (provided boarding has started already).
Otherwise the usual procedure applies: Families/slow boarders, First&Business Class, Economy.

Orlando
HONs get picked up in the lounge and board the aircraft via a separate gate. I don't know for the rest since usually I made myself comfortable already when the standard boarding starts.

Munich
In Munich there are usually (for long haul flights) two gates available: one for Priority Boarding and one for Economy Class. However, both gates open at the same time which makes the whole procedure a bit superfluous.
Here as well pre-boarding applies to families/slow boarders.
For domestic or European flights pretty much the "cattle procedure" applies.

Washington D.C.
With the direct gate access from the SEN lounge, boarding usually works very smooth. After the announcement in the lounge you just move towards the aircraft and get in.
For the rest: standard procedure.

With all these airports there is one basic problem: no matter which procedure you try to implement, one has to rely on the cooperation of the passengers. If a limited number of rows is called for boarding and nobody cares about it, it is very difficult to board in an orderly way. Of course the gate agents could reject passengers not yet called, but with the discussions then likely to start this would certainly hold up the boarding proceduer even more. And with the use of quick boarding gates where passengers scan the boarding passes themselves, everybody is on his own anyways.
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 4:19 am
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Hi all,

there were studies about several boarding types (with zones, by rows). The chaotic way is the fastest way to get the self loading cargo on board.

If I travel with small hand-luggage and on small planes (with delivery at aircraft), I usually try to stay in the lounge as long as possible.

If I have to stow some luggage I now try to be on board quite early, because filling some one else's overhead space came a bit into fashion.
Especially the Bins in the Euro-C will be filled quickly by very nice guys sitting in the last rows, but stowing their oversized luggage in the front of the plane. So if you arrive and three rows around your seat are empty, but all the bins are filled, it is just quite a mess. I wish LH would just gate-check the oversized hand luggage - especially in Y.
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 4:26 am
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Originally Posted by Tyrolean
Hi all,

there were studies about several boarding types (with zones, by rows). The chaotic way is the fastest way to get the self loading cargo on board.
In general I agree.

This rule, however, only applies until you encounter that special pax who sits in first row of Economy, boards first and then

- takes off his coat and stores it in the overhead bin, then
- takes off his jacket and nicely puts it on the coat hanger, then
- opens his briefcase, takes out his laptop and puts it on the middle seat, then
- takes out his newspaper and nicely puts it into the seat-pocket

and only then moves his a** out of the aisle.

O.k., maybe a bit exaggerated - but it happens.
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Last edited by aengel2; Sep 8, 2010 at 4:26 am Reason: Typing errors
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 4:35 am
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Originally Posted by Tyrolean
there were studies about several boarding types (with zones, by rows). The chaotic way is the fastest way to get the self loading cargo on board.
+1
Since the instinct of everyone is to rush to the gate once boarding starts (even with babies in arm and in CorF plus being SEN I find difficult to get to the gate when pre-boarding begins because everyone is in front of the gate) you might as well give up trying to board in an orderly fashion. Now in the US where people pay to check luggage and hence carry their wardrobe as hand luggage I see a reason to board early as a elite to store their own wardrobe in the OH first, but in the rest of the world I board the absolute last to sit down before doors close.
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 9:38 am
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As long as they let people with kids board first I'm happy. Unfortunately, way too often I see the gate staff "omit" this part of the boarding procedure and just open up the flood gates...
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Old Sep 8, 2010, 1:02 pm
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For most international flights, LH usually is a bit more organzied, by allowing F/C to board first.

But for short-haul flights within Europe ...... "y'all git on board now!" As structured and compulsive as Germans are, the LH boarding process is a cattle call.
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Old Sep 9, 2010, 3:44 am
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This is one of those things US airlines and airports seem to handle better. I've just returned from a trip via a few US stop-offs with our UA and CO friends. I was again struck by the compliance of domestic passengers with instructions on where to line-up and which line starts to board first.

The fact that the ground-agents were scarily determined that the system not be breached might have helped.
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Old Sep 9, 2010, 4:05 am
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Originally Posted by IAN-UK
The fact that the ground-agents were scarily determined that the system not be breached might have helped.
Yes, they actually do send you away when you try to board at the wrong time or through the wrong gate.

But you're right, the boarding process works better in the US than with LH. What always amazes me is the punctuality of the start of boarding. When the aircraft is available and the rule says "boarding 30 minutes before EOBT", then they start at that time - not a minute earlier or later.
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Old Sep 9, 2010, 2:39 pm
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In Amsterdam today they turned away anyone not in business class who tried to board which I thought was pretty brave
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