Friday, November 10, 2023

Delta CEO Ed Bastian Slams United's 'Complicated' New Airplane Boarding Process

Delta CEO Ed Bastian slams United's 'complicated' new airplane boarding process: 'Just boarding people' is fastest 

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has hit out at rival United Airlines' new policy of boarding window-seat passengers first - and says his own company has no plans to do the same. In an interview with Today, Bastian said his airline will not be copying United's new plan to let economy passengers with window seats board before middle and aisle seats anytime soon. 'We have found that actually just boarding people and getting people moving through the plane is the fastest. Every time you add another feature, it gets more complicated,' the CEO said. He said Delta has tried 'every which way to board customers,' but if United does 'crack that nut better, we'll certainly copy them.' United Airlines new seating plan, which went into effect on October 26, is called WILMA, which stands for window-middle-aisle. It is intended to cut two minutes on the boarding process for each flight. It means that aisle seat passengers board last - potentially leaving them with no room to stow their overhead luggage. Economy passengers with window seats will board in Group 3, followed by passengers with middle seats in Group 4 and passengers in aisle seats in Group 5, according to a company memo. First-class and business-class passengers will experience no change in their boarding process and pre-boarding through Group 3 will also remain the same Airlines are about to head into a busy season, Deloitte's 2023 holiday survey found that 48 percent of Americans plan to travel during the holidays. 'I expect our fourth quarter to be a record for the company both in revenues as well as in demand,' Bastian told Yahoo Finance Live. In 2022, the airline estimated they carried nearly 6 million customers from Nov. 18-29, averaging close to 500,000 customers per day. Delta sparked a major backlash in September when it announced plans to cap the number of entries to its lounges and tighten the qualifying criteria for customers to earn frequent flyer status. Bastian admitted the airline went 'too far' with its SkyMiles changes and said they will adjust. 'There will be modifications that we will make, and you will hear about it sometime over the next few weeks,' Bastian said. After a year of flight delays and cancellations and plane collision near misses, the Department of Transportation admitted complaints are nearly double what they were a year ago. Source

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