Just about two years ago I posted about the old “EPQS” system that we have seen at certain gates in Atlanta. What is EPQS you ask? Delta says on the PR hub it is the “enhanced pillar queuing system“. First off, when will airlines ever learn that to frequent flyers the use of the word enhanced is equivalent to cursing (or worse). Beyond that, this test really is nothing that new since in one form or another the EPQS has been tinkered with for years.
What is new is the suggested expansion of this interim fix for a rather constant problem in boarding areas like you see in the shot above from LAX gates. Or, another example below from DTW.
This one from Detroit is mild in comparison to what you can see at any number of airports like JFK where the mass of folks can be so packed that it all but completely blocks the concourse preventing folks from passing to another gate.
Obviously, Delta has to do something and part of the issue is the confusion over boarding “zones” as Delta calls them vs. groups like other airlines use. Since “ZONE 1” is really the 4th (or even 5th at times) group to board you have folks assuming they will be 1st to board and start to cue up in the boarding area. Will the EPQS help? Maybe but there are clearly space issues.
Even in the PR provided photo on the Delta News Hub we can see what a mess it will create as folks try to work with gate agents before the flight and even during boarding. This is just not a great fix and as someone who flies Delta all the time I just don’t see EPQS as anything but a band-aid at best and making an already crowded area worse.
Clearly, this is all about money. Those who pay the most, including those who pay for the privilege to board early, want to get on ASAP. Delta has promoted this and will keep doing so as every bit of incremental revenue matters. Thus something has to give. Gates need to be totally reworked in order to become the clear revenue making area they want it to be and that is not how they are currently built.
You tell me. Have you experienced the EPQS yet? Do you think this will have any kind of positive impact in the boarding process? Do you have a better interim idea to fix the mess? – René
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