Cranky on the Web (May 21 – 25)

Atlanta’s New International Terminal Opened—Here’s How it Will Benefit YouConde Nast Daily Traveler
The overly-expensive new terminal in Atlanta is open. For connecting passengers, you won’t care that much, but for those starting or ending in Atlanta, things are going to be a lot easier.

United Airlines ends coach preboarding for childrenCNN
I was asked to comment on what I thought about United ending preboarding for families. I’m wondering if it will actually slow things down. Not sure about that one.

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10 Responses to Cranky on the Web (May 21 – 25)

  1. FRANK says:

    Preboarding?

    …seriously, by the time you’ve announced, First class. Military in uniform, Parents traveling with children, Wheelchairs, Elites from OneWorld, Star Alliance, anyone needing special assistance…………..WHO LEFT???……LOL.

    Parents who are trying to travel cheaply, are now getting their small children to roll down rollaboards onto the aircraft. You should see most of them struggle with these suitcases on wheels, especially trying to turn at the entrance door. it slows boarding down. Hence, general boarding. ON TIME, people. You want an ON TIME airline.

    • Jim M says:

      Agree. I actually like to get the kids on-board first so I don’t have to witness the nightmare of getting kids strapped in first-hand. Horrors!!

  2. Wait, Kate Hanni and CF almost agree on something? (Or at least CF doesn’t completely disagree with Kate..

  3. I’ve definitely seen it slow things down. Last fall, I think on United (which I think I’d noticed not giving parents with small children preboarding a good bit before this change officially happened), I saw it slow down a plane by about 10 minutes. There was a family with small children assigned seats that weren’t next to each other (maybe as the result of a missed connection). The gate agents had refused to fix the seating and refused to let the family board early (they were in the last boarding group). When they actually got on the plane, the flight attendants’ reaction was that “of course you aren’t going to sit separately”, and had to spend 10 minutes talking people into swapping seats, moving their things, etc., which was a 10 minute delay of the departure.

  4. kendall c says:

    We travel often with our children, and prefer boarding last. As it lets the kids run around til the last minute & keeps them from getting too bored sitting with seatbelt on, not moving at the gate for 20-30+ minutes.

    Key is to not bring any roll-on luggage, or anything to slow you down. Travel as light onto plane as possible. Be nimble and quick.

  5. Michael says:

    Love It!!! Now let’s see the airlines start making the carry-on passengers with oversize bags check them at the gate or charge a hefty fee for not following the measured size guidelines. These selfish / ignorant people really slow things done when boarding and deboarding and aircraft. Let’s see what they do about that !!!

  6. NKFan says:

    Actually I believe the new ATL Concourse F causes quite a few inconveniences. One, the airport built a huge new Consolidated Rental Car Facility a few years back…. which is connected to the previous main terminal. So, you arrive into F as a local passenger, you must take a shuttle bus all the way around the massive airport to the other main terminal, then ride a train to the rental car. This takes about a half hour in total. Same thing if you want to ride MARTA, the public transportation, into downtown, as MANY MANY business travelers do when attending events at the massive Georgia World Congress Center or the AmericasMart.

    Additionally, for the airlines it causes problems. Airlines like AirTran have to staff the ticket counter at F all day, not just in the morning when their international departures occur, because people could potentially show up on that side all day long, and it’s bad for customer service if they can’t find a representative, then figure out what’s going on, and have to take a 20 minute shuttle bus ride around to the other side of the field.

    Plus, the airport tried to make all pre-cleared arrivals and departures come into F just to drive terminal usage where demand doesn’t really exist. It took a lot of negotiation to get the pre-cleared arrivals (such as NAS, AUA, BDA, etc) to be allowed to arrive into domestic gates so that normal connection times could be maintained, and avoid the need to spread resources to have domestic departures out of F or tow airplanes back to domestic gates. Trying to force all international departures off of E or F once again adds distance to connections, where before airlines could gate plot to minimize concourse changes for the majority of its customers.

    Yeah, it’s a pretty new building and if you live in Atlanta and fly on a non-stop international flight it’s great, but I don’t see an overwhelming benefit for anybody else, including the airlines.

  7. Oliver says:

    Cranky, didn’t UA board families with children between boarding groups 5 and 6 before this recent change? Calling it elimination of preboarding by the media seems incorrect,and thus the perceived impact of the change blown out of proportion.

    Here is where a United rep announced the boarding process in January:

    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/new-boarding-process.10138/page-6#post-1146209

    • CF says:

      I really hadn’t looked into it very closely. They asked for a comment and I said, well, if that’s the case then it could end up slowing things down. But truthfully I haven’t really been paying attention.

  8. T Whaley says:

    Here’s a video I produced while I participated as a “mock” passenger back in May, when the new terminal was being tested.

    http://youtu.be/FAKfYCvfCO8

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