It seems like a rhetorical question, but earlier this year, Delta phased in changes that they believe will make the boarding process smoother.
You can read the details of the new process here, but essentially Delta has added more groups – 8 boarding groups instead of 5 – and boarding is based on the fare you purchased, while still prioritizing customer loyalty.
Here’s what we like:
- More zones will result in fewer people per zone, and this COULD streamline the process.
- Delta is listening to customer feedback AND measuring their changes via customer surveys. As an example, they know when they added zone 4 boarding in 2018 for Basic Economy customers, the “change resulted in customer satisfaction scores improving dramatically for the reduced number of customers in zone 3, and improving in every other zone, including by double digits for the Main Cabin zones.”
- Once again, Delta proves its commitment to innovation and the customer experience.
- Our design and marketing brains love that the boarding is color-coded.
“The boarding order change – coming to all Delta-operated flights globally starting Jan. 23 – will be accompanied by new color accents distinguishing Delta’s fare products (Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, Delta Premium Select/First Class and Delta One), each of which, in addition to Sky Priority, will have a specific, complementary color – from booking through boarding. The colors are inspired by Delta’s primary brand palette and the Passport Plum shade of purple introduced with the global airline’s 2018 Zac Posen-designed uniforms.”
Here’s what we are reserving judgment on:
- The color-coding (that we love, remember). While we may able to tell you the exact shades of each of these colors, can the majority of travelers tell you the difference between the first 2 colors, or the 3 different shades of blue below?
- Is it really a fair statement to claim that “zone boarding” is over? Whether it’s called group boarding, zone boarding, branded boarding, or something else, people are still broken up into different groups (“zones”?) to board the plane at different times.
- The number one problem with boarding an airplane (at least according to us) is that EVERYONE LINES UP ALL AT ONCE AND CREATES CHAOS IN THE BOARDING AREA. Yes, the shouting was intentional. When you call “zone 1” now and everyone views that as the cue to stand up and get in line (even if your boarding pass says zone 27), what will change when you announce “purple” – will the people in the plum, blue (all 3 of them), and red groups all remain seated to wait patiently for their color to be announced?
Overall, we look forward to experiencing the changes soon, but until there is a solution for the “let’s everyone stand up at once instead of waiting for your number/group/zone/color to be called,” is there a way to avoid chaos in the boarding area? Planners, we solve problems and smooth out even the most complicated logistics all day long. Can we crowdsource a solution for this? Share how you would improve the boarding process! And, if you have experienced this new process, let us know how it worked!