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Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Old Dec 31, 19, 11:03 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
I'd say it's partly the labour costs of bus and air stair drivers (and wheelchair lift operators) as well as capital and maintenance cost, as well as who pays for them (airline either through own or contractor, or airport, etc.) and how. Not just for regular use but sitting around just in case they're needed. A lot of people don't remember but for U.S.-made planes, 737s, 727s, DC-9s and perhaps some MD-80s once had integral air stairs (like some "commuter" planes still have today). Maybe the Jetway is simpler and easier as far as cost allocation goes.

One intermediate step was those mobile lounges which was a bus that elevated the passenger cabin to a/c door level. Once found at least at IAD and PHL.

I think it's the expectation of air stair otherwise it's seen as too.... 3rd world. The use of jetways for small a/c, especially the adapters between airstair and a/c door, astounds me.

FWIW, many air stairs are covered so passengers are at least partially protected from the elements.

Many major European hubs manage with air stairs and busses. FRA, AMS, CDG, FCO for example.

The best (or rather worst) combo of the lot is arriving at jetway gate in HNL only to have to use the Wiki Wiki shuttle to get to the terminal.
Yep, nothing worse than getting off of a 9 hour flight from Asia and then being crammed into a bus to get to immigration. What a way to greet visitors to Hawaii.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 6:52 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by milepig View Post
The OP is considerably uninformed. What is being described is preplanned arrival at actual bus gates with a whole support system of staff, stairs, buses, etc. Not as-hoc remote holding areas. The actual bus gates pretty much donít exist in the US since weíre built out such that under normal operations all the planes get actual gates.
I have absolutely no misunderstanding of the investment or operational requirements. I also take it you've never seen or experienced the remote bus-only gates at LAX. The same model can be replicated at reasonable cost at any number of large airports across the country.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 6:55 pm
  #48  
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your definition of “reasonable cost” probably doesn’t match how any airline (or airport authority) would define the term
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Old Dec 31, 19, 7:21 pm
  #49  
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I'm with you OP, I'll take a "bus gate" anyday over waiting 30-45 minutes waiting for a gate to open.

It's a sad state of affairs at US airports when you pull up to an empty terminal only for the one "assigned" gate to be occupied and having to wait, rather than the rational approach of using one of the empty gates. This is especially true of WN at MCO, DL at ATL, and AA at DFW/CLT. You're telling me you can't do a couple of gate swaps and make everyone happy?
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Old Dec 31, 19, 7:30 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyDeltaConnection View Post
I'm with you OP, I'll take a "bus gate" anyday over waiting 30-45 minutes waiting for a gate to open.

It's a sad state of affairs at US airports when you pull up to an empty terminal only for the one "assigned" gate to be occupied and having to wait, rather than the rational approach of using one of the empty gates. This is especially true of WN at MCO, DL at ATL, and AA at DFW/CLT. You're telling me you can't do a couple of gate swaps and make everyone happy?
So you would prefer being crammed into a steaming hot bus like a sardine at MCO versus waiting a few extra minutes in your comfortable air conditioned airplane seat? Different strokes I guess.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 7:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Sandeep1 View Post
So you would prefer being crammed into a steaming hot bus like a sardine at MCO versus waiting a few extra minutes in your comfortable air conditioned airplane seat? Different strokes I guess.
No, the problem is not pulling into an empty gate. I get leaving it empty if a plane scheduled to land a few minutes after we landed is supposed to go there, no excuse when that gate remains empty for a while.

And yes, I have a problem waiting on the plane on the ground longer, especially if I have to use the restroom.
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Old Dec 31, 19, 11:33 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
your definition of “reasonable cost” probably doesn’t match how any airline (or airport authority) would define the term
Bus gates are exponentially less expensive than conventional gates. Direct and opportunity costs of stationary burn make them extremely efficient and reasonable to build and operate compared to, say, a one-hour 737 gate wait.

And for those of you who've mentioned it, busses can easily be ADA compliant:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/trave...rs/2499296001/

Last edited by AADFW; Jan 1, 20 at 12:27 am
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Old Dec 31, 19, 11:56 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Sandeep1 View Post
It's a decent point but, on the flip side, American airports tend to do a few things much better than foreign airports (especially when arriving at the airport to go on our departing flight).

1) Our gates are listed hours before the flight unlike foreign airports where passengers are typically left walking and pacing back and forth until their gates are listed 30-45 minutes before departure time. That's super annoying.
2) At American airports, we don't need to catch a bus from the gate to the plane to board. We simply walk to our gate and board right there in a very orderly fashion. When having to bus to the gate, once you exit the bus, it's a giant free-for-all with people running to the stairs which creates quite a stressful environment.

So, my return question to the OP would be, why do foreigners tolerate the above?
3) USA airports rarely put passengers into a holding pen or announce boarding well before any customer can actually enter the aircraft. It's silly in European airports to have separate "pseudoboarding" calls to the desk with time or line determined by status, cabin class, etc. only to then be forced into an area with no facilities/services until people are actually allowed to board the plane in a mad rush and all in one implicit zone or group. It's disgraceful that premium cabin and high status passengers are forced to fight and push their way onto the jetway with the mob.
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Old Jan 1, 20, 12:06 am
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Originally Posted by andrewesque View Post
Airlines for America (which is not a group I would think would under-estimate the number of air travelers) says that the average American took 2.1 trips per year in 2016. EDITED TO CORRECT: these are round-trips, so that's 4.2 flights per year. I think the number is up since 2016, but probably not by 2+ flights.

In addition, over half (55%) of Americans did not take a single flight in 2016, and even just looking at air travelers, 50% of those take 1 or 2 round-trips per year. So if we're talking about Americans who take 3 or more trips via air per year, that's less than a quarter of the population (50% of the 45% who do fly, so 50% * 45% = 22.5%). Certainly not a tiny number of people, about 72 million (22.5% of the 323 million US population in 2016), but not an overwhelming majority of Americans by any means.
Your 4.2 flights per year calculation seems to assume that everyone flew nonstop only. This is obviously incorrect and is probably the explanation for the apparent discrepancy in the statistics.
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Old Jan 2, 20, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by SFO_LOW_CLOUDS View Post
Could use one of these to handle wheelchairs.


But yes, there's a lot of infrastructure needed at US airports to support remote stands.



These types of ramps are already in use at SEA and PAE.


Originally Posted by Nicoolio View Post
For the most part, IMO, the reason you arrive early is the airlines have padded the schedule, so if you had a shorter wait to takeoff or weren't held up by ATC, you're going to end up waiting for a gate when you arrived since the earlier flight hasn't departed. For the airline, they still will have plenty of time to turn your plane, as you likely will arrive at the gate approximately at your scheduled arrival. In other words, from an airline point of view, there's no problem, and there is no efficiency to offset the extra capital costs of creating bus stands.
Just because the flight still arrived on time, doesn't mean there's "no problem" - the airline is still accruing crew, maintenance, and fuel expenses from the increased block time, while also decreasing customer satisfaction.
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Old Jan 3, 20, 3:19 pm
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Many years ago I remember flying on Piedmont Airlines 737-200's with built-in air stairs. At small airports like LYH (Lynchburg, VA) there is no jetbridge so the stairs would come out of the plane and people would walk up or down the stairs.

Since then people have gotten quite lazy and this is why we have to sit there on the plane for an hour waiting for a gate. I think it's ridiculous.

I would rather go up and down the stairs and ride on a bus than wait even five minutes for a gate.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post

By contrast, in cities like Phnom Penh or Da Nang, itís not at all uncommon for the bags to hit the carousel before even the most customs-expedited passengers do. And thereís never a wait for an occupied gate.
To be fair, Phnom Penh has about 5million passengers whereas LAX has about 85million. The operations aren't exactly comparable. LAX does have the purpose-built remote gates for international arrivals, but those seem to be used far less frequently with the TBIT expansion.
It's probably conditioning more than anything else - it's just what we're used to. A few years ago during construction at LAX, AA would regularly use the remote gates for both domestic and international flights and people were in an uproar. I find it to be one of the more annoying things when flying in Europe, Asia, and South America. I always think about my elderly parents and if they were traveling on their own and had to navigate the stairs and then the bus ride.
I also think it's interesting whenever people complain about LAX and the congestion and the set-up of the terminals, etc. Every time I arrive at LHR, it feels like I'm walking about a mile to get to the main terminal from my gate. At LAX, it's a very short distance from airplane to curb. It's all what we're used to.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 8:05 pm
  #58  
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We have several threads on PVG S1 (largest satellite terminal in the world). I think, but am not certain, that S1 has made the remote stands obsolete for the time being. I wish this wasn't the case because a crowded bus driving me a mile directly to immigration is preferable to walking a mile through the maze in the terminals.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 8:26 pm
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Another factor is who controls the gates.

At most US airports, the airlines control the gates.

At many airports outside the US, the gates are controlled by the airport authority.
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Old Jan 5, 20, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
And the majority of US flyers hate bus gates at places like Washington National and Miami.
Where are there "bus" gates in Miami? AA Eagle flights are mostly out of the same gate D60, but it is a covered walkway to the plane, not a bus.

Getting back to the OP's original post:

Most airports have the gates assigned to particular airlines, so the actual airline controls the gate. It is only the airports who have common area type assignments of gates that the airports control the gate assignment. If you ever listen to ATC, the Controller asks more times than not which gate the plane is assigned to so they can turn the taxiing control to the proper controller.

Sorry, was replying before getting to the end of the thread, I see LarryJ made the same comment right before me.

Last edited by teddybear99; Jan 5, 20 at 1:05 pm Reason: ETA the disclaimer of LarryJ's response
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