Is this the best fix for Delta’s BOB of “ALL RUSH THE GATE” boarding issue?

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From twitter we see the above photo of what Delta is testing in Atlanta to try to fix the everyone rush and clog the gate area as soon as a gate agent calls for those who need extra time to board is announced.

Something sure should be done. Maybe Premium, Sky Priorty, Zone 1 etc lanes is the answer.  Once the current “blob of boarding”, that is BOB for short, begins it becomes almost impossible for:

1) Those who need to board early to get there
2) You to get to the desk for help
3) For Premium or Sky to get past everyone else
4) and boarding that can spill out blocking other gates

Now most of this really is #FirstWorldProblems other than the fact that if you do not board by the time they are calling ZONE 2 you are likely going to have to check your bag if it is not going to fit under the seat in front of you – that can be most irritating!

gate area in dtw detroid mi delta points blog

One real big help with this kind of lane boarding is getting people OUT OF THE WAY so others can get to their gates. It really is maddening to try to get to your gate and have to pick you way through the BOB in the way at another gate.

What do you think? Many have said this is much like what other airlines use and it works very well. Is this the fix for Delta BOB? – René

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  1. Multiple lanes at every gate are not possible in a lot of airports. The real issue is there are too many people who think they are deserving of early or premium boarding. The other problem are parents with children. Toddlers boarding early are one thing. Kids in fourth grade are another.

  2. I agree that, while separate lines with agents checking boarding passes would probably be ideal, it’s probably not a realistic expectation. What I’ve experienced a handful of times is when the gate agent(s) announce something to the tune of “ladies and gentlemen please review your boarding documents. Identify your boarding zone and please board only when called. My colleagues and I will be carefully checking all passes, and only those in the current zone or higher will be allowed to board.” Once people see agents actually enforcing the procedure, it discourages people from trying to jump the line. Do that enough and people will change their habits.

  3. At the end of the day, consistent enforcement by gate agents is the only way to solve the gate lice problem. If it takes someone being told to step aside and wait if they try to board early, so be it.

  4. Southwest gives you a blue ticket jacket at the check in counter if you need extra time to board. They typically only give them to people who actually need it. If you don’t have it at the gate then you’re out of luck. There is not a mad scramble when the call is made because everyone is pre-selected.

  5. Seems like every flight there is the mad rush to get in front when most ticket holders are really in Zone 1, 2, 3 yet they feel they should board first, just came back from Lima and the GA were checking each boarding pass and putting people where they belonged, Prem had its own line and we boarded first after those who needed assistance. So GA need to be the ones to check tickets, just announcing it is not going to do it.

  6. From reading comments by elites, it’s pretty clear that the best solution to this problem is for Delta to simply not sell tickets to anyone who is less than a platinum (or, whatever medallion level the complainer du jour happens to have).

  7. Separate lanes for each group work well, but when that’s not logistically practical, Premium passengers should board before people with strollers and car seats.

  8. i see too many able-bodied people NEEDING ASSISTANCE AND RUNNING ON FIRST ALSO THE BABES IN ARMS ARE LIKE 8 YEARS OLD NUTS… wish they could do something to make it better.. after wheelchairs / people needing XXTRA TIME and then the babes in arms the plane is 1/2 full nuts

  9. The root of this problem is charging for checked luggage. Though free gate checking helps, everyone must be at the front of the line regardless of when they will board as it is impossible to reach the front when they’re called.

  10. The gate agent makes various garbled announcements. I often can’t understand, even if I’m totally alert and listening, which I’m usually not. Everyone crowds to hear and/or stake out a position to board. It’s a mess.
    It would help tremendously if airlines used signs, as does Southwest. With Southwest it’s clear when and where to board, and a large part of the open area is clearly denoted with barriers for boarding lines. So dang simple.
    Or just use the electronic monitor to display a flashing sign saying “Now boarding: Sky Priority”. If airlines wanted to solve this problem, they could, and for very little money. I figure they just don’t care.

  11. Airlines are probably in a tricky spot legally if they deny early boarding to someone with an actual disability. Thus they turn a blind eye. Senior citizens shouldn’t get early boarding, unless they have physical handicaps. My dad is 75 and is in better shape than most 55-year-olds yet he could probably — no questions asked — get early boarding. Same for kids. If the kid can walk than no early boarding.

  12. When parents with strollers board before Premium passengers, it just slows things down in the jetway as parents try to corrall their toddlers whe simultaneously collapsing their pink-tagged strollers.

  13. I concur that urgent action is needed. Although I don’t fly Southwest because of its seating, I confess that numbered zones with strong enforcement works elegantly most of the time and avoids the BOB problem. Delta should try it.

  14. GA have to regulate otherwise you end up with people playing “dumb” as in “don’t know if my boarding pass says Sky Priority”. So I showed him my boarding pass so he would know what it looks like. He stopped talking to his friend about his alleged lack of knowledge. Of course he still kept following me in the line.

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