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Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Why Do Americans Tolerate "Gate Waiting?"

Old Jan 5, 20, 2:18 pm
  #61  
 
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Of course, I've arrived at non-US airports where the airport controls the gates and hardstands (bus 'gates') only to have to wait for a spot or hard stand to be assigned.

My current flying is primarily in North and Central American and the Caribbean. In those regions, demand has outpaced airport expansion causing a shortage of runways, ramps, gates, concourse space, etc. nearly everywhere.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 10:07 am
  #62  
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There are a lot of reasons to hate U.S. airports.

This, however, is not one of them.

I love the fact that I almost never have to deplane in the middle of the airfield, walk outside in the weather, stand in a jam-packed bus, and drive to the terminal. That is *always* a 30-45 minute event, often beginning with a 10-15 minute wait for the airstairs and bus to begin with.

By contrast, in my 40-50 domestic flights last year, I had a few 5-10 minute waits for a gate. Maybe had one that pushed 20-30 minutes, but we had landed early so it was not going to cause a misconnect. I know it does happen on occasion - somebody misconnects when a late flight has to wait for a gate, making it even later - but it's likely rarer than misconnects involving the entire airstair/bus circus.

My last experience with the bus was at FRA. The bus itself was delayed 30 minutes, and I barely made my connection to DEN after running through the airport.

Occasionally you do have to walk outside at a U.S. airport, especially if you're using a regional jet or turboprop. But usually it's a walk to/from the terminal to the plane, eliminating the variability, discomfort, annoyance, and delays of a bus.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 10:37 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
To be fair, Phnom Penh has about 5million passengers whereas LAX has about 85million. The operations aren't exactly comparable.
Ok, how about HKG? Lived there for nearly a decade and never once waited for a gate or made it to my carousel before my bag.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 1:03 pm
  #64  
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Ok, how about HKG? Lived there for nearly a decade and never once waited for a gate or made it to my carousel before my bag.
I don't have data to prove it, but I would hypothesize that airports set up primarily for international operations and with a higher percentage of widebody operations have fewer unplanned gate availability issues.

When I arrive into a US international terminal on a widebody, I can't recall a case where we've had a long wait for a gate. When it's been a (minor) inconvenience for me, it's been domestic flights...short-hauls with quicker turnaround times at busy domestic terminals like ORD or DFW.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Ok, how about HKG? Lived there for nearly a decade and never once waited for a gate or made it to my carousel before my bag.
Still not sure it's the exact comparison.
While the passengers numbers are close, HKG in 2018 had 428,000 aircraft movements and LAX had 707,000 aircraft movements with about 13million more passengers. HKG also had double the freight tonnage, so probably even fewer of those jumbos pulling up to a passenger gate. HKG is a 20-year old purpose-built international airport on an island away from the metro, while LAX was built 40 years prior to that in the midst of the city for somewhat different operations, as are many of the major US airports.

Ultimately, it's what we are used to and willing to accept in the US. I'm not sure how much bashing of US airport operations by the OP will change perceptions. Frankly, if I was arriving at MSP in a snowstorm, I'd happily sit on the plane for an extra 20 minutes waiting for a gate than be deplaned via airstairs to a waiting bus.
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Old Jan 6, 20, 7:58 pm
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Speaking from personal experience and observing passengers in China, I've noticed that people like to deplane to a bridge. It is also safer in hard weather and avoiding people from tossing stuff towards the engines (yes, this is a somewhat uncommon but not unheard of occurrence in China to pray for "good luck", supposedly):

This obsession with air bridges has grown to a point that obnoxious things like this are being built in PEK at remote stands (picture stolen from Chinese "Twitter", Weibo):
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Old Jan 8, 20, 9:11 am
  #67  
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
Ok, how about HKG? Lived there for nearly a decade and never once waited for a gate or made it to my carousel before my bag.
Be thankful that you have HKIA at CLK now. Kai Tak was a fun place to disembark to a bus, especially with the flow of the tide in Kowloon bay around the runway. My nose would tell me that I am at Kai Tak when the plane's door open.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 1:43 pm
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Originally Posted by trooper View Post
And many US airports get weather that no Asian airport would ever see.. Snow? Ice? Sub zero temps? If bus gates can't be used due to such factors for significant portions of the year its even less efficient/cost effective to set that up parallel to the usual gate system. It certainly has NOT been MY experience in Asia (or "pretty much the rest of the world") on early arrivals, Ive sat and sat in Asian airports too waiting for a gate....
Busing happens at Oslo and Copenhagen airports. Lots of it. Havent been to Arlanda or Rejkjavik in a while, But I being bussed there too. So no, let's put that excuse to rest.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 2:59 pm
  #69  
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Originally Posted by osamede View Post
Busing happens at Oslo and Copenhagen airports. Lots of it. Havent been to Arlanda or Rejkjavik in a while, But I being bussed there too. So no, let's put that excuse to rest.
How 'bout we just use "it's a bad process" as the reason? @:-) Snow or not, I absolutely hate deplaning to a bus and adding a half-hour to my travels.

I'd say 90% of my flights have no gate waits.
Then I'd say 9% of them have a minor gate waits (less time than a bus would take).
That leaves 1% of them have a significant gate wait that results in an overall late arrival. These are a problem, especially for tight connectors, but is still far superior to using buses for all of these flights.

(0% of these flights leave me wet or cold.)

I know Flyertalk loves to bag on U.S. airports, and many of them deserve it, but this is one thing they get right.
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Old Jan 11, 20, 4:26 pm
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I have a definite dislike of bus gates. I'd rather wait on the plane. It is one of the negatives when flying to Europe. Especially thinking of Frankfurt, where you may well get a bus gate on a trans-atlantic flight. It is boggling to me that such large planes could end up at a bus gate.
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Old Jan 11, 20, 5:49 pm
  #71  
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Originally Posted by AlanInDC View Post
I have a definite dislike of bus gates. I'd rather wait on the plane. It is one of the negatives when flying to Europe. Especially thinking of Frankfurt, where you may well get a bus gate on a trans-atlantic flight. It is boggling to me that such large planes could end up at a bus gate.
As old HKG at Kai Tak has demonstrated, it is a more efficient use of airport land when the heavies are parked in a parking lot fashion and pax bused to the terminal versus building more gates, jet-bridges plus all the ingress/egress taxiways and tarmac.

But many of the US cities, airport land is not at a premium.
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Old Jan 11, 20, 9:00 pm
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There are two things American airports do better than overseas airports:

1) Lack of bus gates

2) Not forcing you through a duty free maze

Boy I hope we never screw those up.

(And I've definitely reached the baggage carousel before my bag at HKG)
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Old Jan 11, 20, 9:11 pm
  #73  
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Originally Posted by txflyer77 View Post
There are two things American airports do better than overseas airports:

1) Lack of bus gates

2) Not forcing you through a duty free maze

Boy I hope we never screw those up.

(And I've definitely reached the baggage carousel before my bag at HKG)
1) ^

2) US airport's flights are majority domestic. US street price for booze is often lower than any duty free prices. I don't smoke so I I don't know tobacco prices. I have allergies so the lack of a fragrance alley is Godsend.

HKG the train taking humans to the baggage carousel runs faster than the baggage train
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Old Jan 11, 20, 9:31 pm
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
2) US airport's flights are majority domestic. US street price for booze is often lower than any duty free prices. I don't smoke so I I don't know tobacco prices. I have allergies so the lack of a fragrance alley is Godsend.
This is all true. Though even in terminals where the majority of flights are international, we don't have to run the duty free gauntlet to reach our gate or upon landing. IAH terminal D, LAX TBIT, SFO A/G, ORD T5.
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Old Jan 12, 20, 3:13 am
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Originally Posted by AADFW View Post
I expatriated to Asia starting in about 2008 and moved back to the U.S. earlier this year. Now I travel quite a bit domestically for work. While I realize that it certainly isnít anything new in America, I have noticed one striking difference when it comes to airports and air travel here: the "gate wait."

When you land before your designated time pretty much anywhere else in the world and your gate is occupied, your aircraft is directed to a parking area where "air stairs" are used to deplane passengers, who are then promptly bussed to the terminal. Simple really.

This is true from Hong Kong to Geneva to Mexico City. Most third-world countries that Iíve visited also engage in the same practice. But this very rarely seems to happen at most major airports in America. While there are a few notable exceptions, it's mostly just f-you and wait as a general rule.

My flight from SFO to LAX earlier this week took 48 minutes in the air, but we spent even more time on the ground at our destination waiting for an open gate. It then took around 30 minutes to get our bags, and another 35 to (finally) get onto our shuttle bus to the rental car agency. In total, it took just over 7 hours from door to door. We could have driven faster.

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.

I suppose this is really a question more than a complaint: WHY do Americans put up with this, silently suffering and accepting it as the status quo when the solution is SO easy? It just seems like passengers here are resigned to an inferior, less efficient process. It is embarrassing for our nation, and I truly don't understand it at all.

Anyone care to enlighten me?
I agree with you and I'm Almerican
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