Delta Is Testing A New Way To Board Flights – Using Two Gates At The Same Time For Just One Plane

Delta Air Lines is conducting a test boarding planes using two jet bridges at the same time. This way they can get twice as many passengers onto the aircraft at once, making the boarding process go faster.

If adopted, in the future this could mean a single jet bridge that splits off and then boards passengers through two different doors on the aircraft. For now they are using two gates next to each other to accomplish the feat. Since Cincinnati is a much smaller station for Delta than the hub it used to be, they have extra gate space to allow this kind of test.

in Cincinnati

Okay I'm geekin'. Just boarded a test flight on @Delta where they used two adjacent gates to board one plane (B739). Gate B5 at CVG boarded rows 1-21 as usual, and gate B3 boarded 22-37, from the rear door. FA said it's a Cincinnati-specific test they're running this week.

— Jordan Roberts (@JordanOnBrand) September 16, 2022

FA mentioned that if this is rolled out more broadly they'd likely have to invest in different jet-bridges (probably a split one, which I assume wouldn't be a huge deal?) given gate limitations. @Delta this was among the best boarding experiences I've had, please expand this!

— Jordan Roberts (@JordanOnBrand) September 16, 2022

A Delta spokesperson confirms,

As part of our continuous efforts to improve the customer experience, Delta will conduct a limited test at CVG that evaluates the operational feasibility of leveraging dual jet bridges to more quickly board and deplane customers.

Using two jet bridges to board an aircraft is faster. That’s great for an airline because it helps to turn aircraft faster, and can avoid delays. That means lower costs, and potentially better aircraft utilization. Better reliability numbers have historically been important to Delta’s ability to generate a revenue premium, something they’ve struggled with as travel recovers from the pandemic.

At the same time boarding through a second door can mean more staffing, which also raises costs. And not all aircraft can support this. Airlines have had challenges with two-door boarding on the Airbus A321 due to engine location, though some like Lufthansa still do it.

(HT: @ApplyInLogic)

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