News Flash … United Airlines Has a Good Idea!

By Robert Mark on November 5th, 2007

Jim Ott wrote an interesting article in last week’s Aviation Week and Space Technology called Surly Skies about … what else, airline travel.

He said, “Any adaptation airlines make to counter the negatives of air travel seem to be useless … amid the turmoil, customer loyalty is disappearing …”

Occasionally though, an airline develops a good idea and this time I think United has done it.

Many of you are probably thinking I’ve lost my mind because my relationship with United has never been what I would call warm and fuzzy. Let’s just say I view United as an inconsistent service provider and leave it at that.

Here’s the Beef

We all realize how annoying boarding and deplaning are at the airport right? So what if someone recognized the fact that airliners have more than one door to use for boarding? Imagine the time it might save getting on and off if they actually used more of the doors?

United has been testing this for awhile and found the process at Denver cut boarding time almost in half. But the carrier recently abandoned the practice because the dual jetway got away from someone and banged up an airplane.

The one item the airline does seem to be missing though is that the only way to safely board the airplane through the rear door is on a jetway.

Please United … try some stairs. This seems to work successfully in Europe. Why not here?

Most of us would be glad to go up and down stairs if it sped up the boarding process. If the weather is bad, go back to one jetway.

And you must have a spare body somewhere who could watch the boarding process up the stairs for a few minutes each trip if it got the airplane organized faster.

Now’s your chance to write the United folks a quick note and tell them not to give up on dual boarding because passengers would love it, especially when we’re trying to make a connection.

One tip though when you write the United folks … include this as your first sentence … “This note does NOT contain a complaint. Please read.”

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6 Responses to “News Flash … United Airlines Has a Good Idea!”

  1. Ross Says:

    Virgin Blue in Australia have a dual gate boarding policy, always seems to make sense to me, definitely speeds up boarding. I actually don’t mind being able to get outside gives you a nice view of airport ops. Qantas force everyone through the one gate.

  2. GS Says:

    I can’t get the link to United to work…and I would gladly tell them to keep dual boarding!


  3. Rob Mark Says:

    That certainly is an ugly link isn’t it GS.

    Sorry about that.

    It did work when I published the darned thing. Perhaps United got too many e-mails!

    Anyway, I’ve been trying to find a link to publish that does work. My guess is United has some code hidden in their system to keep anyone from doing precisely what I tried.

    If you go to however, you can send them a comment.

    Once you reach the main page, you’ll see a link in the upper right corner called Customer Service. Click that and you should see the tab titled “Submit a question.”

    Sorry to make you work so hard.

  4. Eric Says:

    This is not exactly genius. Anybody who has traveled in South America will know that use of both the forward boarding gate and the rear air stair on MD and DC equipment is quite standard. it makes boarding and deplaning much easier.

    The airlines really had this conquered back when carry ons could have NO Liquids…this forced bags to be checked. Airplanes were boarded and deplaned immediately. Flights arrived early. Literally the TSA “stumbled upon” a solution amid a problem. Of course the fixed the problem and killed the solution.

    To me the single biggest problem in airline boarding etc. is the ubiquitous black roll aboard back that every passenger has. Those suckers delay getting on and off airplanes by 20 minutes per flight. I worked for a company that consulted with two major airlines and i can confirm that fact. Standardize luggage and you will improve the HELL out of airline boarding issues.


  5. Rob Mark Says:

    I thought luggage was standardized Eric. At least I haven’t seen too many folks trying to carry garmet bags on any more.

    I’m not sure how the no liquid thing falls in to boarding though. That bogs people down at security for certain. But by the time they hit the gate that’s all out of the way isn’t it?

    I am still waiting for someone to tell me why we CAN’T board through both doors.

  6. » On-Time Departures (9-November): Revolts and Revolutions Says:

    […] United had been toying with the idea of dual boarding. The practice makes use of more than just one of the plane’s doors to speed up the boarding and deplaning processes. United put this plan into action and things did speed up. Unfortunately, they ran into some trouble when the secondary jetway hit another plane. There’s a great post on JetWhine about the merits of dual boarding and what airlines can do to avoid the problem United ran into. If you have ever wanted to get on or off a plane faster, you will appreciate JetWhine’s “News Flash United Airlines Has a Good Idea!” […]

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