The seemingly easy procedure of getting passengers onto a plane is one part of the flying experience that airlines seem to be endlessly tinkering with. Whether it’s a desire to load planes just a little faster or sort passengers based on how many bags they can bring, there’s always something that can be changed.
Delta recently announced they will be changing their boarding process, again, starting with flights on January 23, 2019. I’d bet unless you’re a frequent flyer, you’d never notice.
Delta is very proud of their product, giving each seating category its own name. Names like Delta One, Premium Select, and Comfort Plus are used to differentiate these products from ordinary names like First Class, Business Class, and Premium Economy. I guess Delta really wants you to associate your experience with the product category you booked so they are going to start using “Branded Boarding.”
There will be a specific color from Delta’s primary brand color palette assigned to each class of service, from the Passport Plum for Delta One down to a basic blue for Basic Economy. The color of your category will follow you through the entire booking process online, at check-in and the gate for boarding. These colors will also be used to help and signify the time that passengers can board according to the class of ticket purchased. Delta will also be doing away with boarding by zones and will board by the category name. (Note from Sharon: Really? OMG, I am rolling my eyes SO HARD right now. Can you see the eyes in the back of my head? That’s how far they rolled)
Whereas there used to be six zones, now there will be up to eight categories. Apparently, the areas will be called by the category names instead of Zone 1, Zone 2. I could see how infrequent travelers could be confused being in Zone 1 but boarding Zone 3.
With the new system, passengers with Main Cabin 1 boarding passes will be welcome to board after calling for Delta One Passengers, Delta Comfort Plus, and those with Sky Priority.
With overcrowded gate areas, variable quality PA systems and TV screens that are not often visible from the seats, I’m not sure how much difference using a specific color to signify your boarding order will help out, not to mention if you’re color blind and trying to tell the difference between the blue from category 5 to the one from category 8.
While I’m glad to see Delta trying, again, to fix one of the most annoying things for passengers at the airport, this move seems to be just as much about showing off their new color scheme than it is about improving the boarding process. I’ll have to see how this is put into practice because no matter what the process is, it only works as well as the employees on the ground are at implementing the changes.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary