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CLE - Impact of other airlines (gates, routes, equipment, & etc) after UA De-Hubbing

CLE - Impact of other airlines (gates, routes, equipment, & etc) after UA De-Hubbing

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Old May 17, 18, 2:59 am
  #1726  
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
Today is the day Icelandair begins service!

TSMRSRNE and I will be there to take the inaugural flight to KEF. Afterward, I'll post a review on the Trip Report forum.

RNE, expecting to be on Cleveland TV news.

Enjoy!
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Old May 23, 18, 10:13 am
  #1727  
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Some quick observations.
  • CONCOURSE A: I've been a denizen of Concourse C since Moses Cleaveland founded the city. Concourse A seems to be from that century. The old, spongy carpeting—long removed from C—is still there. Confines were tight. There's a narrow cattle chute with 1950s-era wall fans. TSA was cramped, abysmally unmanned and dismally slow. Even the gate area was a cluster.
  • VIABILITY: Our KEF-CLE 737max had a total of 40 pax. Therefore, TSMRSRNE and I got exit rows to ourselves which we used as lie-flat seating, whereas Saga pax (paying $$$ more for their "better" seats) couldn't lie flat. Sweet irony. In respect to viability, yes, I realize it's very early yet, but that kind of pax load doesn't bode well. I do note that our outbound flight CLE-KEF was packed.
  • IMMIGRATION/CUSTOMS:
    • I'm very used to I&C at EWR and ORD (but have also been through IAD, BOS, MIA and LAX). They're pretty quick at their jobs. Delays are a result of pax volume, not inefficiency. So maybe I was naive to expect I&C at CLE to be just as fast if not faster. It took forever! (Remember, there were only 40 pax going through.) They interrogated everyone at length, particularly non-US pax, of course, but also red blooded Americans like yours truly.
    • After passing through I&C, I was expecting to be dumped out landside, not kept airside and forced to go through TSA again just to then leave the airport. Of course connecting pax should have to do that, but why make exiting pax go through that unnecessary hassle?
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Old May 23, 18, 10:43 am
  #1728  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
Some quick observations.
  • CONCOURSE A: I've been a denizen of Concourse C since Moses Cleaveland founded the city. Concourse A seems to be from that century. The old, spongy carpeting—long removed from C—is still there. Confines were tight. There's a narrow cattle chute with 1950s-era wall fans. TSA was cramped, abysmally unmanned and dismally slow. Even the gate area was a cluster.
  • VIABILITY: Our KEF-CLE 737max had a total of 40 pax. Therefore, TSMRSRNE and I got exit rows to ourselves which we used as lie-flat seating, whereas Saga pax (paying $$$ more for their "better" seats) couldn't lie flat. Sweet irony. In respect to viability, yes, I realize it's very early yet, but that kind of pax load doesn't bode well. I do note that our outbound flight CLE-KEF was packed.
  • IMMIGRATION/CUSTOMS:
    • I'm very used to I&C at EWR and ORD (but have also been through IAD, BOS, MIA and LAX). They're pretty quick at their jobs. Delays are a result of pax volume, not inefficiency. So maybe I was naive to expect I&C at CLE to be just as fast if not faster. It took forever! (Remember, there were only 40 pax going through.) They interrogated everyone at length, particularly non-US pax, of course, but also red blooded Americans like yours truly.
    • After passing through I&C, I was expecting to be dumped out landside, not kept airside and forced to go through TSA again just to then leave the airport. Of course connecting pax should have to do that, but why make exiting pax go through that unnecessary hassle?
Thanks for your observations. I try never to use North (A) security checkpoint because I find it claustrophobic. Unfortunately, Icelandair does not participate in TSA Pre-Check, so I might just go down to South. I don't find A so horrible and they have tried to upgrade seating, signage, flooring, etc. The whole Customs fiasco is really an issue of staffing and (mis-)management. I don't recall hearing of such delays in the Continental days. I agree that the much-discussed "enhancement" requiring all arriving passengers to re-clear TSA security and walk through A is a joke. I much preferred the bus system. An airport official told me that the problem with the bus was that they could not drive while Spirit or Frontier were re-fueling their aircraft. Not sure if this is accurate or not.

How was the on board experience with Icelandair? I fly out on Friday!
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Old May 23, 18, 5:39 pm
  #1729  
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Originally Posted by guy44134 View Post
I might just go down to South.
But will TSA at C allow you to pass through with an A boarding pass. Yes, I realize all the concourses are connected airside, but still I thought TSA looked askance at that (unless another checkpoint is closed).

How was the on board experience with Icelandair? I fly out on Friday!
737Max Boarding Order:
Saga
Anyone needing assistance or with small children.
Rows 20 and up.
All rows.

Our flight departed late owing to the inaugural speeches and such at the gate. But the 5 hr 15 mn flight arrived a little early. I think FI pads its schedules. In all four flights, we departed late but arrived early.

Immigration at KEF was a breeze. Fifteen minutes intervened between deplaning and arriving at the connecting gate. There were lots of officers and the EU-only ones started taking non-EU pax.

The airport itself is modern, smallish and replete with a full complement of shops and restaurants. Weirdly, the C and D concourses seem to be the same place. That is, Gate C29 was also Gate D29. Both designations were printed on one sign. Likewise, all the other C and D gates that I saw.

BTW, the AMS connections (via 767) don't have jet bridges. You have to walk to buses (in windy, freezing air) to be transported to and from the planes. (Not sure what connecting equipment you'll be on, but thought I should point that out.) Once aboard FI's planes, everything went well. The BOB food is not great, though.

Happy travels.
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Old May 23, 18, 6:20 pm
  #1730  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
My condolences to your son and your family. Hopefully the injury is healing well.

Did you reschedule your flight(s)? Hopefully, NEO'ers will fill FI and WW's planes, so this direct-to-EU option stays around. Because of it, we can conveniently leave for the airport at the end of the workday. Flying UA means wasting half the afternoon at EWR or ORD.

RNE, asking who else is going CLE to EU via these carriers this year?
Thanks. No we did not reschedule. The recovery is long and we have an August trip diving in Borneo on the calendar. But I'm hoping to get up there for the auroras.
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Old May 23, 18, 7:39 pm
  #1731  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
But will TSA at C allow you to pass through with an A boarding pass. Yes, I realize all the concourses are connected airside, but still I thought TSA looked askance at that (unless another checkpoint is closed).


737Max Boarding Order:
Saga
Anyone needing assistance or with small children.
Rows 20 and up.
All rows.

Our flight departed late owing to the inaugural speeches and such at the gate. But the 5 hr 15 mn flight arrived a little early. I think FI pads its schedules. In all four flights, we departed late but arrived early.

Immigration at KEF was a breeze. Fifteen minutes intervened between deplaning and arriving at the connecting gate. There were lots of officers and the EU-only ones started taking non-EU pax.

The airport itself is modern, smallish and replete with a full complement of shops and restaurants. Weirdly, the C and D concourses seem to be the same place. That is, Gate C29 was also Gate D29. Both designations were printed on one sign. Likewise, all the other C and D gates that I saw.

BTW, the AMS connections (via 767) don't have jet bridges. You have to walk to buses (in windy, freezing air) to be transported to and from the planes. (Not sure what connecting equipment you'll be on, but thought I should point that out.) Once aboard FI's planes, everything went well. The BOB food is not great,

Happy travels.
Thanks again for recounting your experiences. As to security at CLE, you may go to any checkpoint (of course, only those with Pre-check can use the checkpoints so designated) regardless of gate. That’s one reason they renamed them last year. Depending on utilization, TSA staffing levels, and use of canine units, TSA may direct you to another checkpoint.
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Old May 24, 18, 6:55 am
  #1732  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
But will TSA at C allow you to pass through with an A boarding pass. Yes, I realize all the concourses are connected airside, but still I thought TSA looked askance at that (unless another checkpoint is closed).

It makes no difference at CLE which security checkpoint you choose to use other than B which is PreCheck only.
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Old May 24, 18, 1:57 pm
  #1733  
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Originally Posted by guy44134 View Post
As to security at CLE, you may go to any checkpoint (of course, only those with Pre-check can use the checkpoints so designated) regardless of gate. That’s one reason they renamed them last year. Depending on utilization, TSA staffing levels, and use of canine units, TSA may direct you to another checkpoint.
Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
It makes no difference at CLE which security checkpoint you choose to use other than B which is PreCheck only.
In that case, I'll definitely avoid Concourse A's checkpoint from now on.

One more note regarding FI: My Chase CSR and CFU cards were rejected by the FA's handheld machine. Only my Citi card worked.
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Old May 24, 18, 4:04 pm
  #1734  
 
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Originally Posted by RNE View Post
In that case, I'll definitely avoid Concourse A's checkpoint from now on.

One more note regarding FI: My Chase CSR and CFU cards were rejected by the FA's handheld machine. Only my Citi card worked.
They have electronic signs which indicate the wait times for each security checkpoint. However, I can't vouch for how accurate they are.

Last edited by JimInOhio; May 24, 18 at 4:09 pm
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Old May 24, 18, 7:09 pm
  #1735  
 
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
They have electronic signs which indicate the wait times for each security checkpoint. However, I can't vouch for how accurate they are.
"Random" seems to be the answer. I flew out this morning and paid particular attention to the signage based on this post and it was showing C and B as "10-20 minutes" (or something along those lines) and A in red as something like "20+ minutes"

At B walked up to the TSA ID checker without ever stopping from the time I ducked under the tensabarrier to avoid 15 laps of zigzag in an empty queue. (so wait time = 0 minutes?)
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Old May 25, 18, 8:32 am
  #1736  
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
They have electronic signs which indicate the wait times for each security checkpoint. However, I can't vouch for how accurate they are.
Thanks. While time is certainly a factor, it's the starkly inferior experience at A that is so disappointing. It's easily the worst checkpoint I have ever been through anywhere in the Western World. Way worse than famously derided "third world" LGA. Why can't A be as nice as B and C?

RNE, pointing out that Director Kennedy walked through the checkpoint with me, so he's not in the dark about its dismal conditions.
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Old May 25, 18, 1:59 pm
  #1737  
 
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I don't think I've ever been through Checkpoint A in all the times I have been at that airport. How much could it cost for a minor facelift?
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Old May 25, 18, 2:07 pm
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Originally Posted by plinth857 View Post
I don't think I've ever been through Checkpoint A in all the times I have been at that airport. How much could it cost for a minor facelift?
It's not a matter of a "minor facelift." They relatively recently reconfigured that checkpoint in a way too narrow hallway with really nowhere else to expand to. They've squeezed up to 4 checkpoints in that claustrophobic corridor space that used to have only 2 checkpoints. If they reconfigure, we would lose 2 checkpoints. Not sure what a cost-effective short-term fix might be, that won't impact capacity. The only available expansion space on the ticketing level is at the south end where the glass window is. Perhaps they can expand the South checkpoint into that area and close North? I've also heard that was to be the general area for a new FIS (in the old plans put on the shelf in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis).
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Old May 25, 18, 2:12 pm
  #1739  
 
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Originally Posted by guy44134 View Post
It's not a matter of a "minor facelift." They relatively recently reconfigured that checkpoint in a way too narrow hallway with really nowhere else to expand to. They've squeezed up to 4 checkpoints in that claustrophobic corridor space that used to have only 2 checkpoints. If they reconfigure, we would lose 2 checkpoints. Not sure what a cost-effective short-term fix might be, that won't impact capacity. The only available expansion space on the ticketing level is at the south end where the glass window is. Perhaps they can expand the South checkpoint into that area and close North? I've also heard that was to be the general area for a new FIS (in the old plans put on the shelf in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis).
Oy... they should have addressed this in their reconstruction just prior to the RNC.
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Old May 25, 18, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by plinth857 View Post
Oy... they should have addressed this in their reconstruction just prior to the RNC.
Agreed. That's why a new master plan for CLE is desperately needed. There has been a tremendous increase in origin & destination passengers since UA de-hubbed, and the infrastructure has not kept up with these changes (parking, ground transportation, FIS, TSA, etc.).
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