Priority Boarding Fail at SYD

Discussion in 'Virgin Australia Velocity' started by flying_duck, Jun 11, 2018.

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  1. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

    May 5, 2014
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    Hi All,

    A brief brickbat followed by a bouquet for VA today. Prefaced by the fact that I drove to the airport from Bega leaving at midnight so was not in the "deal with public" mood.

    - Check in staff insists they open at 4:30am. I napped in the car waiting for 5am as the last time I tried I sat in the check in queue waiting for them to log on at 5am. Which is it?

    - Lounge called boarding at 5:27am. It only opens at 5:15am. Not really enough time for a coffee or anything else, but I get it, they have to get everyone boarded.
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    - By the time we all get to the gate, the priority queue is long (no worries) but they only had one staff member scanning BPs and the other staff member was busy calling general boarding, and then letting them on in front of (at least 20) queueing premium pax. I commented how priority boarding doesn't exist today and was met by the VA staff with a glare.

    As for the bouquets, awesome job to the VA staffer (I feel awful I didn't get his name but I see him all the time so I will next time!) who greeted me super warmly and it actually felt genuine.

    Some days I want to fly VA some days I am wishing I chose otherwise with my $$. Can we get some consistency and consideration? yes this will all be put in writing to them, although not sure why I waste my breath.

    Anyone else had priority boarding go awry recently? Noticed the lounge calls boarding really late and you end up boarding at the same time as general pax?
     
  2. RooFlyer

    RooFlyer Enthusiast

    Nov 12, 2012
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    Not entitled to PB with VA myself, but every flight I've been on recently, PB ha been called, and enforced as far as I could see.
     
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  3. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

    May 5, 2014
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    I think that's where my surprise has come from. They're usually really good.
     
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  4. RooFlyer

    RooFlyer Enthusiast

    Nov 12, 2012
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    Late lounge call an issue, although they always board abt 10 mins after scheduled boarding time.
     
  5. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

    May 5, 2014
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    Today's lounge call matched the "boarding time" on the BP, but generally they call it 10 mins after this time as you mention. Which is an issue in and of itself, because you still end up queuing behind pax who don't know how to take their seats. Probably sounding exasperated at this point, sorry, travel is taking it's toll.
     
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  6. jsm2090

    jsm2090 Junior Member

    Feb 9, 2018
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    Had a similar experience in Melbourne yesterday; late lounge call, and though PB was called at the gate, there was already a queue of pax in the regular line and the single agent on the gate alternated between priority and regular. I feel sorry for the non PB customers too; can't imagine why there was only one staff member.

    As you say, consistency is key; I've had some great experiences with VA, but for example both times I've used the premium entry in Sydney I've been greeted by the most surly staff members, and getting a word or smile out of them was like getting blood out of a stone....
     
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  7. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

    May 5, 2014
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    Only one staff member could make sense, if they had someone call in sick 20 minutes before boarding I understand it can take time to fill non-critical staffing roles at last minute. But priority should mean priority, as in, before anyone else.

    If you show up and the PB lane is empty and GB is full, and you are PB, they generally stop GB until you're through. Not sure why that is different just because it's the start of the boarding process?
     
  8. AviatorInsight

    Oct 5, 2016
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    Unfortunately this is the way its gone with gate staff. Bare minimum. Trying to find a supervisor is just as hard as finding 2 people to board a flight.

    There used to be a time when the gate staff stayed in the aerobridge until the flight pushed back and we used to wave at them. Today...they’re gone once they pull the aerobridge away which means they’ve left the bridge and are onto another gate before we’ve even pushed! Imagine how long it’d take to get someone back if we had an issue and needed to disembark?
     
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  9. Must...Fly!

    Must...Fly! Established Member

    Jan 12, 2010
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    Must say I've not had any fails lately, VA are usually excellent at enforcing PB and it's one thing they do almost universally consistent & well.

    [off topic]
    Wow, that is sad. I used to very much enjoy waving you off from the bridge or tarmac (granted sometimes we couldn't, but generally policy was stay until it goes in case, as you say, the bridge is needed back on). Some much loved fresh air too! There were several occasions back in the day when -XFA/B were being very naughty and needed an air-start for quite a while due to broken APU. Was it 24A that the 330s used to use in Perth? Anyway, standing in the bridge and watching and listening to an air-start from all of a few metres away up in the bridge was a hell of an experience.

    I guess like the rest of the world, VA are just training more and more robots :(. It's kind of funny to me that a number of years on, some staff still are not trained in relatively routine things that I used to come up against all the time. I'm pretty forgiving, so it doesn't matter so much. It gets sorted eventually, and the staff member learns something from the supervisor (or me. Sometimes I just show them myself...).

    Wishing you no returns of either kind in the near future!!
    [/off topic]
     
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  10. Warks

    Warks Established Member

    Oct 9, 2003
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    The late lounge call (or no call at all) is really bugging me lately. They keep calling the same flights over and over but completely miss others. I sit right by the Departures screen so I can keep an eye on it. My SYD-BNE flight a few days ago said "Go to Gate" for about an hour which doesn't mean anything does it? Other flights were delayed so I was assuming this will probably be delayed as well. On a hunch I went down to the gate and as I arrived (it was gate 40 something so a fair walk) it appeared everyone had boarded and they were announcing "final call". I got on and then the lounge guests started boarding some ten minutes later. I really wish they would be consistent. It shows you've just got to either be content to be the last on or cut your lounge time short and hang around the gate.
     
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  11. jsm2090

    jsm2090 Junior Member

    Feb 9, 2018
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    @Warks - same experience. I don't like rushing, so I'm always leaving the lounge before any call to get to the gate by around 10 mins after boarding time. My wife is adamant that we don't leave until they call it, which of late has only been for final call.....which means we're hustling o_O.
     
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  12. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

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    Couldn't agree more. It's so frustrating to be on last call and I think everyone deep down doesn't want to be "that guy" (or girl!) boarding last. By the same token, standing around the gate is a bit much when the point of being priority is to not have to do that.
     
  13. kermatu

    kermatu Established Member

    May 27, 2012
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    Only a handful of flights on VA so far but they have been pretty good in terms of priority boarding, with gate well staffed and priority given to that queue. This is largely in MEL and on flights to Perth, so maybe they are better prepared for the bigger flights.

    I have found in MEL that the call from the lounge is very early. I presume that's because the lounge is before security?

    Much more experience with QF and can pretty confidently say the grass ain't greener. Lounge calls are generally well-timed but priority boarding is usually a shambles in SYD, MEL, ADL and BNE etc. Except Cairns (the long, fixed boarding lanes help) and the two-door gates for the trans-con flights are also a bit better and status checked at the front of the queue.
     
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  14. SYD

    SYD Member

    Oct 5, 2009
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    Just had a funny (?) or sad experience on SYD to MEL (fortunately not something I do often). The PB “line” on arrival was more akin to a mob or scrum loitering in a crowd 180° around the PB sign. I’m used to seeing reasonably ordered American style lines - especially ex-Perth for some reason...

    They did call and process PB first but the mob lunging forward was kind of histerical (but as I said - sad also).
     
  15. jasecao

    jasecao Junior Member

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    today on the 1pm from Melbourne to Sydney, they called the PB first, and because half the plane is PB there is a long line, they then proceed to call general boarding soon after and were boarding general boarding before 1/3 of the PB line was done. I didn't really care as I just wanted to go home, but you could hear the murmurs in the PB line.
     
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  16. AustraliaPoochie

    AustraliaPoochie Established Member

    Unless we have very strict dragons and dragonesses at the front of the entry party, PB will not ever work as efficiently as hoped/wished.
    People will also misuse lines and queues.
    Need to change the system to make PB work efficiently, but it costs money, so the airlines are just doing PB loosely.
    If I was CEO select for VA after JB leaves, ooooh, I would put more $ into getting more dragons and dragonesses at the front of the queue and make PB work very well.
    Like that soup 88zi in Seinfeld. Strict as... mate/miss, you don't deserve PB because you are in Y and your PRed card carries no favours!
    I am VFF PS, so I don't get PB, and will happily wait my turn in boarding to get my Y(X) seat.
     
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  17. AustraliaPoochie

    AustraliaPoochie Established Member

    #17 AustraliaPoochie, Jun 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
    Re:
    Yes, its prior to security, but there is word of major changes coming soon.
    Some days of the week, they do open priority screening door, ie, the door from the lounge will lead to the front of the queue for screening.
    This only works with the boarding gates closer to MEL T2 (edit: gates 1-10), and will not work for the boarding gates facing towards T4.
    But after the major works, I think the VA lounge is going to somehow be after security, so they might move security forward, just where those escalators are in MEL T3.
    Double edit: No Cookies
    Can't change the title, but don't worry about "no cookies", the link still works to the article I read.
     
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  18. flying_duck

    flying_duck Member

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    That is exactly what happened on my flight.

    I think a published benefit not received is a smack in the face, especially given how much money I throw at VA.
     
  19. pauly7

    pauly7 Established Member

    Dec 8, 2004
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    Hopefully they invest in next gen check in as well In Melbourne when they do this too! Would be great news, VA check in is like a third world zoo, Qantas has had it for years and works a treat - even Jetstar and Tiger (I think) have it in Melbourne now. Even international is moving to it.... cmon VA!

    On PB I find VA execute well about 8/10 flights v Qantas about 7/10, definitely better than QF. I have noticed less VA gate staff around though like others comments so perhaps there is more cost cutting happening here. Personally I’d be a huge fan of the electronic boarding gates that you scan yourself and if eligible a gate allows you on, wrong queue? Denied, move away :)

    Lounge calls in VA lounges have been a very very long standing issue there is an entire thread about them that dates back years probably now.

    When VA responded it was always that the airport controlled their screens and gate status unlike QF who has in most ports (big ones at least) their own system/control or something (memory fails me) which is why it’s so much better. So they always blamed the airport operators which still leaves us the sucker customer in the same situation flying them!!
     
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  20. Pleb Status

    Pleb Status Established Member

    Feb 19, 2011
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    I would prefer that all lounge calls are effectively eliminated as it makes the lounge sound like a train station during busy periods.

    The only possible exception to this would be for delayed flights and other things which are out of the ordinary.

    It works overseas and it can work here as well. If flights are running generally to time and the departure screens are kept up to date there is no need for lounge calls for flights...
     
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