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Total General Boarding - new directive?

Total General Boarding - new directive?

 
Old May 12, 06, 11:56 am
  #1  
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Total General Boarding - new directive?

On the return for my red-eye MR, the LAS agent boarded the plane in two groups... F, and general boarding. No Elite... but also not by rows from the back.

It was a freakin' zoo. The FAs (post takeoff) called it a cattle-call. People in the front boarding first, slowing everything down. People in the back boarding early, putting their luggage over the front. When trying to get off, it was just as bad... people in the front trying to get upstream to their luggage in the back, people in the back trying to get downstream to their luggage in the front. The flight was over an hour late departing, and general mayhem in the aisle surely didn't help.

While chatting with the FAs, they say that a directive came down from headquarters that all boardings, for all flights, for all cities, for all markets, for all planes, is now general boarding after F. ...?!?! Boarding the 757 took 2x as long as it should have. The first explanation offered was that now that everyone was Elite, Elite boarding was taking longer... aside from everyone not being Plat, yes... F, then Plat, then Gold, then Silver, then from the back, is confusing. Sure, I can buy that? But not boarding from the rear? Can't buy that.

But not boarding from the back. Huh?!?! Pax were boarding terribly, it was a mess with overhead luggage, everything was messed up. Has anyone heard anything about a cattle-call method? The GA kept saying "that's how Southwest does it" as he checked people's boarding pass, but doesn't even Southwest board by zones, from the back?

I might just have to send my first customer complaint letter to NW. It wasn't as much as the flight leaving an hour late, but cattle-call on a 757 just defies logic. Anyone else hear about this?

Steve B.
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Old May 12, 06, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by sbagdon
But not boarding from the back. Huh?!?! Pax were boarding terribly, it was a mess with overhead luggage, everything was messed up. Has anyone heard anything about a cattle-call method? The GA kept saying "that's how Southwest does it" as he checked people's boarding pass, but doesn't even Southwest board by zones, from the back?
Southwest doesn't have assigned seats. They board according to elite status and checkin time, and people grab whatever seat is open, which ends up being faster than any system with assigned seats tried so far.

If you have assigned seats, however, boarding all-at-once is extremely inefficient. Boarding from the back is better, but is still not optimal. See http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70689-0.html
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Old May 12, 06, 12:13 pm
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I took the red-eye from SFO to MSP last night, flying a 757, and when I boarded (late) they were calling for rows 30 and higher.
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Old May 12, 06, 12:21 pm
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Yesterday afternoon, LAS-DTW

Boarding "seemed" organized.

F first --- followed by a pause for a few minutes; and then, very specifically, Elite Passengers --- not sure how it continued after that; though, seemed that the rear was filling up first...
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Old May 12, 06, 12:33 pm
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Originally Posted by themicah
Southwest doesn't have assigned seats. They board according to elite status and checkin time, and people grab whatever seat is open, which ends up being faster than any system with assigned seats tried so far.

If you have assigned seats, however, boarding all-at-once is extremely inefficient. Boarding from the back is better, but is still not optimal. See http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70689-0.html

SW may not have assigned seats, but as the OP suggested, they at least board by groups, so it's not a total free-for-all.
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Old May 12, 06, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by themicah
Southwest doesn't have assigned seats. They board according to elite status and checkin time, and people grab whatever seat is open, which ends up being faster than any system with assigned seats tried so far.

If you have assigned seats, however, boarding all-at-once is extremely inefficient. Boarding from the back is better, but is still not optimal. See http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70689-0.html
WN doesn't board according to elite status, first because they don't have an elite level, second because they just don't do it. A B C. That's it.
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Old May 12, 06, 12:44 pm
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This sounds like what AS has done for the last couple years before finally giving it up and going back to a more orderly (although I haven't seen it personally yet) form of boarding. It had created chaos at the boarding doors, to say the least, not to mention the mess inside the plane. Thankfully, AS has come to its senses and dropped the idea.
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Old May 12, 06, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by iriefrank
WN doesn't board according to elite status, first because they don't have an elite level, second because they just don't do it. A B C. That's it.
I though WN had some sort of program where frequent flyers were assured zone A? Not sure where I got that, since I've never flown on them.
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Old May 12, 06, 1:07 pm
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Of my 6 flights(segments) last week, none, including those segments on Saab 340's, were boarded any differently than FC(obviously not on the CRJ/SF3s), Elites, and then general boarding for SF3/ back of plane first for CRJ/ARJ/DC9
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Old May 12, 06, 1:13 pm
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Just seems to me that they usually board FC first then everyone else comes in. Since I usually sit in FC I cant tell you what happens at the gate area!
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Old May 12, 06, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by fromYXU
Just seems to me that they usually board FC first then everyone else comes in. Since I usually sit in FC I cant tell you what happens at the gate area!
If it's anything like it's been at AS, it can be uuugggglllly out there - pushing, nasty looks, cranky faces. One trip from EWR-SEA on a Friday evening about 6 p.m. was particularly bad - and the gate agents didn't mince words when they said how disorganized it was - complaining about the passengers, etc. etc. Sort of reminds me of those stories you hear on the news about folks getting crushed waiting outside of theatres for rock stars, stuff like that
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Old May 12, 06, 2:24 pm
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Same on 319 today MSP-LAX. It was total bedlam, particularly trying to handle the wheelchair passengers with the general boarding groups.

Not boarding disabled passengers is completely inappropriate and disruptive. I'm loyal to the red-tail, but the way I saw the wheelchair pax treated this morning, all nine of them, was a disgrace.
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Old May 12, 06, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by themicah
Southwest doesn't have assigned seats. They board according to elite status and checkin time, and people grab whatever seat is open, which ends up being faster than any system with assigned seats tried so far.

If you have assigned seats, however, boarding all-at-once is extremely inefficient. Boarding from the back is better, but is still not optimal. See http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70689-0.html
That article shows what can be done in the best possible situation, but with confirmed seats, some order has to occur. As the article says... if there's no assigned seating, people take care of themselves. But with assigned seating, people are trying to get to a specific location (usually first), and getting in each other's way.

Originally Posted by baccarat_king
Yesterday afternoon, LAS-DTW

Boarding "seemed" organized.

F first --- followed by a pause for a few minutes; and then, very specifically, Elite Passengers --- not sure how it continued after that; though, seemed that the rear was filling up first...
Too odd. Two different flights, with the same city pair (DTW-LAS), with two different boarding patterns.

Originally Posted by inthchips
This sounds like what AS has done for the last couple years before finally giving it up and going back to a more orderly (although I haven't seen it personally yet) form of boarding. It had created chaos at the boarding doors, to say the least, not to mention the mess inside the plane. Thankfully, AS has come to its senses and dropped the idea.
And that was what this flight was like. Chaos.

I defer back to my original question... has anyone else heard of this no-Elite no-row-order boarding process? Or was this just a GA modification to the no-Elite process, to get the pax onto the jetway? I'll be honest... it really looked like the GAs were more interested in just getting the people checked-in (in any order), and going on to the next flight. It really gave me the idea that the GAs could really screw with the FAs, if the GAs just dumped the pax down the jetway, in any order. The flight had a ton of standbys, upgrades, etc, so I'm sure the flights keep the GAs busy. But dumping the pax past the counter, and onto the FAs, in a disorganized way, just made things worse...

Steve B.
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Old May 12, 06, 3:29 pm
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Back in January and February I encountered an agent in HNL who was using the United model -- windows back to front, then middles back to front, finally aisles back to front. But if you were with someone you could board with them.

If NW is going to absolute shove and push thisn without elite boarding, more than CoachChoice could push me away.

Who can possibly benefit from herd boarding with planes as crowded as they are now?
tom

Last edited by mot29; May 12, 06 at 5:24 pm
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Old May 12, 06, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by mot29
If NW is going to absolute shove and push this, more than CoachChoice could push me away.
or.... they could introduce a new boarding choice program

but, I don't want to give NW any ideas.
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