Monday, July 5, 2010

At The Gate How To Have A Pleasant Airline Experience



home-starbucks How was your coffee? Did you get a Latte? Since I work at the airport you could have gotten a discount if you used my user name. But, I thought you said your user name is taken?

Anyway, I know you are happy. Looks like your flight is on time.






Podium This is the first clue that the pieces are in place for you to have a pleasant airline experience.

Although most agents do not arrive at the boarding gate until one hour prior to departure, your flight status is normally displayed at your departure gate hours ahead of time.

If you have your boarding pass take a seat and relax.



Some airlines like Southwest do not have assigned seating.


Southwest_Airlines_Cabin From a Southwest Flight Attendant, “People,people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”

So you will have to wait until you are on board for a window, aisle or the dreaded middle seat. For now, a boarding pass will do.



Do you need to recharge your laptop or iPhone? Then find a seat near a column as this is usually where you will find an electrical outlet. Most airlines board the aircraft with passengers that will be seated in the rear of the airplane first. However, those needing assistance, First Class or Frequent Flyer members will get priority.

If your flight is showing a delay and you will have a tight connection (less than one hour), now is the time to work your charm. Getting a seat towards the front of the airplane will help with your next flight connection. Give up your window or aisle seat if it will get you closer to the deplaning door at your connecting city.


Boing_757_300_Northwest_Airlines_Seating_Chart If you are seated towards the rear of some airplanes like a 757-300, it can take you almost twenty minutes to deplane.




This is one good reason to check in online up to 24 hours prior to your departure.

Gate agents sometimes have limited seating options. Often they will ask other passengers with longer connection times to exchange their seats. Last minute seat changes can also be requested at this time. Your luck may depend on the level to which your flight is booked or the effect of your lame joke.


CCF07052010_00000 On flights where First Class is not full, upgrades maybe offered for a nominal price.

On long haul flights with full service this might be worth it. Since you weren't meant to fly coach here's an opportunity to treat yourself.





Historically, as a standard practice airlines have overbooked flights. A seemingly odd thing to do until you understand the reasoning behind it.


Picture 1937 Your graduation party goes into the wee hours of the morning and you never hear “The 5 am Freight Train” as it repeatedly passes through your bedroom.

Your flight now has an open seat.




Should that seat be technically sold again? The airlines say “Yes”. Money is made or at least should be made when an airplane is flown full. With historical data on a flight's estimate to actual capacity flown, airlines gamble on which flights to overbook.


thanksgiving-turkey Don’t expect many overbooked flights during peak travel times like Thanksgiving or Christmas.


A lot of turkeys might be flying. 





If your flight is overbooked, volunteers will be requested. Your flexibility may give you the opportunity to pick up a nice travel voucher along with meal or hotel accommodations if you have to fly the next day.


DSC00624No, you cannot use your travel voucher for a Carnival 7 Day Cruise or the new Apple iPhone 4.

Nice try!





Are you still relaxing? No need to crowd the boarding door or gate podium. Allow deplaning passengers easy access into the terminal as this will speed up your boarding process. If your flight is on an airplane that just arrived at the gate it will take about thirty minutes to get it nice and shiny for you.


snoop_small Do you see a pilot at the podium trolling over tons and tons and tons of paperwork? If you are a nervous flyer, want some technical or weather information about your flight then step on over and introduce yourself.



Most will be accommodating and will put your concerns at ease. A flight deck visit may even be in the offering. Get your camera ready!


passenger boarding “Now boarding passengers seated in rows 26 to 21”. That's you. See you on board.






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