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Alaska Airlines learns its ABCs to board passengers

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The new boarding process for Alaska Airlines divides passengers into groups labeled A,B,C and D. The airline says the new process reduces confusion among passengers.
(Alaska Airlines)

If you have ever been bewildered by the boarding process at Alaska Airlines, you’ll be happy to learn that the new procedure for the Seattle-based carriers is as easy as A, B, C — and D.

Alaska Airlines has announced that starting July 18 the boarding procedure will be updated to reduce passenger confusion and align with the procedures used by other carriers.

Airlines tweak their boarding processes regularly, trying to find the most efficient and easy-to-understand system for loading passengers as quickly as possible. In February, United Airlines began testing a new boarding process at Los Angeles International Airport, among other airports.

Alaska Airlines currently boards passengers, first, by classification and then by row number.

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In other words, after passengers with disabilities, families with kids and active members of the military, the crew calls out for first-class passengers and elite status members of the airline’s frequent flier rewards program. Once those groups are seated, the gate crew calls out passengers by their row number, such as passengers in rows 20 to 25.

Under the new procedure, gate agents will first call for the pre-boarding passengers — those with disabilities, families with kids and members of the military — and then call out Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D. A screen at the gate will show which group has been called to board.

Group A will include the premier elite frequent flier members, such as “Million Milers.” Group B will include the second-tier frequent flier members and premium-class passengers. The last two groups are the remaining passengers in the cabin.

The group letter will be printed in a large font — along with the departure gate number and the boarding time — on each boarding pass.

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.


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