Delta testing a new metered boarding process in Atlanta

a group of people in a room

Delta Air Lines is testing a new boarding procedure with the aim of speeding up the process and reducing congestion at the gate.

On February 20, the carrier tested a new system that meters the number of people in each boarding group on two flights departing its Atlanta (ATL) base. A reader reported the test to TPG and Delta confirmed it. The goal is to even out the number of people boarding at any given time.

“We are testing a new boarding process on select flights designed to make the experience easier and decrease crowding at the gate,” Delta spokeswoman Olivia Mayes told TPG. The Atlanta trials were “the first in a series of tests we’ll be running over the next few months and is based on customer feedback and focus group research.”

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

Delta currently has at least seven boarding groups, depending on the type of aircraft:

  • Delta One, Premium Select or First Class
  • Delta Comfort+
  • Sky Priority
  • Main Cabin 1
  • Main Cabin 2
  • Main Cabin 3
  • Basic Economy

When a boarding group is called all at once, passengers tend to bunch up and slow down the process. The new test keeps those groupings but subdivides them for boarding by metering how many passengers head toward the plane at any one time. The goal is to have an equal number trying to board at any given time.

Several TPG readers mentioned the boarding group experiment in the TPG Lounge, suggesting that Delta might be splitting the boarding into as many as 30+ separate groups. One reader told us elites are still boarding in Zone 1 or Zone 2 so they aren’t really impacted.

Airlines are constantly looking for more efficient ways to get people onto planes. A quicker boarding process means less ground time and more time that an aircraft is in the air — where it can earn revenue. A 2008 report from Boeing found that in the course of 2,000 trips, a saving of 10 minutes off the time it takes to turn a plane around could mean more than 300 extra hours available for revenue flights.

Delta is far from making a decision on whether to implement the new metered approach to boarding. The process will be tested on more flights departing from Atlanta, as well as from other airports, in the coming weeks after which customer feedback will be solicited and analyzed. Only at that point will the airline determine if the process does or does not work, or needs adjustment, before it decides whether or not to roll it out broadly.

Featured image by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: It’s vital to have the right travel credit card in your purse or wallet so that you’re not missing out on great travel rewards. While there are lots of terrific credit cards for travel out there, the reality is that the best one for you should suit your specific travel needs. 

In this guide, The Points Guy reviews all the details, including bonus offers and perks such as Global Entry fee credits and Priority Pass lounge access, to bring you a list of the very best cards. Remember that travel rewards can add up quickly, especially when a welcome bonus is involved, so it’s important to apply and start earning as soon as you can to maximize your points and miles.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Related video: Delta announces $1 billion investment to become carbon neutral by 2030 [via T+L]

  • Disney World's iconic Cinderella Castle is getting a makeover

    Disney World’s iconic Cinderella Castle is getting a makeover
    This year marks the 70th year since “Cinderella” was released, and Disney will be enhancing the princess’s castle to commemorate the anniversary.
    Travel + Leisure Logo
    Travel + Leisure

  • a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera

    Hate to fly? Use these tips to calm a nervous flyer
    Afraid of flying holding you back from some great travel experiences? There are ways to help calm a nervous flyer.
    Buzz60 Logo

  • a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a body of water

    Off-the-beaten-path destinations to visit in 2020
    Be the reason other people have FOMO by visiting these three underrated places with so much to offer. Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has more.
    Buzz60 Logo

Travel + Leisure Logo
Source: Read Full Article