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Making the airport experience easier

Making the airport experience easier

Old Jul 9, 98, 1:05 pm
Commander Catcop
Original Poster
Join Date: May 1998
Posts: 10,259
Making the airport experience easier

Reading some of these posts and experiencing
long check in lines, the cattle drive to
get on the plane, difficulties with upgrades,
I have a idea or two about how to make the
dreaded airport processes a little bit easier.

*More check-in windows and people for the
ff programs, at least three, one for top tier, one for second, one for third. Of course there are times I get to the airport
and there's only two people working the ticket counters.

*A more organized boarding process. Yes, let those who may have trouble boarding and those
with children on first. Wait a few minutes,
then let the top tier and paid first class
then second tier then third tier ffers aboard with some pacing in boarding. Maybe wait like two minutes as each group boards.

*Redo the computers so when someone is an elite member and wants an upgrade he/she will
get it. A few times while sitting cramped in
coach I wondered how some lucky folks got into first, and how a few seats were empty.

*A row or two more of first and business class. Don't the airlines know the business
traveler group is growing? (At least it is to

Maybe my suggestions won't be popular with
most... but I had an urge to express myself.

Feel free to respond. Catman.
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Old Jul 9, 98, 3:16 pm
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Join Date: May 1998
Location: Colorado Springs CO USA
Posts: 55
Catman I couldn't agree more! You make a lot of great points. You just might have a future career within the airline industry. It is very aggravating to board a plane these days and a solution of some sort needs to be discovered.
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Old Jul 10, 98, 4:36 pm
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Location: Reno, NV (RNO)
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Catman, your suggestions are good but not likely to happen any time soon. Recent reports suggest that the carriers have cut staff by 10% while the customer base has grown. The airlines have no intention of adding new staff now and they certainly won't when the crowds subside. A move to computerized check-in, a la e-ticket kiosks, is the way to help the problem. I suggest the following: Everyone checks in at computerized kiosks for a boarding pass. Those checking luggage are issued a separate "computerized stub" which they take to a separate luggage drop. The stub is scanned and automatically generates a luggage tag and receipt. The bag handler only has to put the tag on your bag and you're good to go! Eliminating a sceen check saves time. The only people who interact with a live person are those who need to change their tickets. The airlines, who are cheap and not very comfortable with technology or change, won't do this because it costs money for the kiosks and scanning equipment.

As far as boarding, the solution is not restricting carry-ons. Am I the only one to notice that it STILL takes just as long to board with one bag as when you could bring on 2 or 3? The real problems are that everyone wants to get on as soon as possible and doesn't care what row they're calling, and the fact that planes are boarded through a single door! Using all doors would help somewhat but many planes have only one option. An alternative would be to have "baggage packers" for each flight who collect your large carry-ons at the gate before boarding and pack the plane's overhead/under seats accordingly (i.e. placing your baggage near your seat and maximizing room). My guess is that over 75% of people are in the gate area well before boarding making this feasible. Again, until one airline takes such a radical step we FFs will see no relief.
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Old Jul 10, 98, 7:54 pm
Commander Catcop
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Join Date: May 1998
Posts: 10,259
MileKing, my ideas are a nice dream, I know
the airlines would rather pay less and provide less.

Like your idea of computerized check in. In
fact I tried that with United in San Francisco twice (and secretly to get some
bonus mile offer I can't remember right now.)
It saved me a lot of time at the very long
check in counter, even at the first class and
Premier 1K counters!

You are NOT the only one to notice how long
boarding takes place. Normally as first
class ticket holder or Elite member I get
on first but still sit there and wait for
everyone else to get settled in, meaning late
takeoff a lot.

When I travel I take two bags. that's it.
Clothes in one garment bag which I sometimes
check... and the smaller bag with the work
stuff (for busines travel) or the backpack.
In both bags: one change of clothes & toiletries when the other bag goes off into the great luggage unknown. Like your idea of computerized luggage tags as well.

Also need some room for bringing those gifts back for friends.

I hope the airlines listen to us but I doubt
things will get easier for the ff-er's like
us. Catman.
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Old Jul 10, 98, 9:49 pm
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Join Date: May 1998
Location: San Diego CA USA
Posts: 32
Mile King,

Good luck trying to get a fully automated baggage drop off. Isn't "security screening" supposed to be one of the things that the agents do when they check you in? Who would ask you those "important" security questions?
I think the questions are a waste of time, but putting the cynicism aside, I would hope that airlines do give their check-in agents some kind of training to watch for activities or behavior that would indicate a higher than normal security risk.
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Old Jul 13, 98, 8:26 pm
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Join Date: May 1998
Location: houston, tx usa
Posts: 308
Catman, Believe it or not some of your
suggestions happened to me today when
flying from IAH to DFW. CO boarded the
elderly & people with children, waited......,
then boarded 1st class, waited and then
boarded half the plane with unlucky Gold's,
and other Elites. then, did not wait at all and started calling the back rows. I thought CO had something good going, but
as I have said in another thread, when CO
pre-boards Elites in Coach, better put full
pads and a helmet on. The light at the end of the tunnel IS a TRAIN!!!!
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Old Jul 14, 98, 8:32 pm
Commander Catcop
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Join Date: May 1998
Posts: 10,259
Jaws43... that's very interesting what happened to you. What I have seen on my last
few flights is that the boarding process is
going too fast. AS elites like myself board first with the children and the elderly..
all of sudden you see this "cattle drive" of
passengers running on trying to get overhead
space and seats.

It's worst when the flights late or getting
off late then it's like fast forward video.
That's why I try for First Class, either by
paying or upgrading. I turn around and
watch the race. (But that's not as bad as
the mad rush for the commuter train I take
to NYC daily. And the subways!)

I'm bracing for the next race this Friday when I fly to new Orleans for a long overdue
weekend of no business, all fun. It's on
United and going through Newark the "passenger race" on a friday will be very
fast. I hope they break up the boarding, but
I'm wearing comfortable shoes to be ready to
dash. Catman

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Old Jul 15, 98, 11:51 am
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Location: san francisco, ca 94123
Posts: 200
It seems to me that many of the changes that have been suggested are taking place. I fly American every week, and there seems to have been some improvements within the years. There is some eveidence that the airlines are trying to improve their current Computerized systems. For example, American uses computer generated boarding passes that get scanned into a computer upon boarding, which gives them an accurate assessment for open seats (so they can allow all the stand bys on and pack in the plane...hate feeling like a sardine). Now, you also have the option of bypassing all the check-ins and boarding passes by presenting your Aadvantage card when you board (although I have never done this, i have seen someone do it before). They stick the card into the computer and ask the person a couple of question and then they board. American also allows elites to board at their leisure as long as the cabin is clear.

Continental also offers you the ability to bypass the checkin counter by offering machines in the terminal that read your OnePass card to issue you a boarding pass.

As far as the carryon luggage goes, i think limiting the baggage reduces the amount of time significantly. Even with limitations, i still see that there is never enough overhead space on the plane. The problem is that everyone has a pull man suiter and you can only fit two of them in an over head space designed to accomodate between 4 and 6 people. What they ought to do, is redesign some of the space between cabins to add additional closet space that accomodates suiters. Nobody really brings garment bags on the plane anymore. They could redesign some of that space to accomodate say 6 suiters. This will save a lot of overhead space.
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