Airport Processing – Is there a better way?

It is 6:28 am.  I am currently sitting on an airplane. The plane is still sitting at the gate. It was scheduled to depart at 6:10 am.  It is mid-January and it is dark.  Apparently, there is an issue with lighting, either on the runway or at the gate.  We have not been cleared to back away from the gate.

It has been a ‘hurry up and wait’ morning. I had printed my boarding pass the evening prior to eliminate the need to go to the ticket counter this morning. Unfortunately, the time I gained was negated when I went through security at the wrong end of the airport.

This particular airport has two concourses; A and B.  I wasn’t sure which concourse I needed. I first checked my boarding pass. No gate listed. I next looked for a monitor.  The monitor that I had used for years was no longer hanging in the hall.  I would later realize that one concourse is used for Delta and the other for American Airlines.  Perhaps I could have been more aware of which airline I was on, but I fly a lot these days and destination was more top of mind than the name of the airline.

I opted to just pick a concourse knowing that security would send me the other direction if I chose the wrong one.  Approach security. ID and boarding pass checked. Remove shoes, coat, scarf, pull laptop and zip-lock bag with liquids. Pass all through x-ray. Proceed through x-ray myself. Reassemble all and head for a gate that reads ‘Chicago.’ Uh-oh! The only destinations listed are Atlanta and Detroit.

I return to security and inform them that I am trying to get to Chicago.  The woman that had checked my boarding pass states forcefully, ‘Let me see your boarding pass, you are probably headed to Atlanta or Detroit.’   No point in arguing. I knew where I needed to go and she would too when she saw my boarding pass. She looked at the pass and had to admit defeat. I had officially picked the wrong concourse.

Hoping the security team would vouch for me so that I didn’t have to repeat the whole shoe, laptop, coat, etc., routine, I headed to the other end of the airport.  Vouch for me? Nope! Approach security. ID and boarding pass checked. Remove shoes, coat, scarf, pull laptop and zip-lock bag with liquids. Pass all through x-ray. Proceed through x-ray myself. Reassemble all and head for a gate that reads ‘Chicago.’  I was last to board the plane. The doors were closed behind me and now I wait.  It is 6:28 am.

I don my ‘efficiency-nut’ hat and reflect.  Remember, anything that does not add value for the customer is ‘waste.’

  • Pre-printing of a boarding pass to avoid ticket counter.  VALUE-ADD
  • Gate not printed on boarding pass.  WASTE
  • No monitor to guide passengers.  WASTE
  • Security not catching I had the wrong concourse / airline.  WASTE and a security concern
  • Security challenging me on my destination. WASTE and unprofessional
  • Security not vouching for me at the other gate. WASTE
  • Having to repeat security procedures.  WASTE
  • Sitting on the aircraft waiting on maintenance.  WASTE

Writing this, I feel somewhat vindicated.  More importantly, I find myself wanted to help this airport increase customer satisfaction and profitability.

 

 

 

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