Should airlines put gate numbers on boarding passes?

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by ozbeachbabe, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. ozbeachbabe

    ozbeachbabe Senior Member

    Jan 10, 2009
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    #1 ozbeachbabe, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    Well it's almost a rhetorical question as in why on earth would you not put the departure gate on the boarding pass however not all airlines/airports do this which can cause chaos if the flight is ready to depart but there are fail to board pax who may be at the wrong gate.

    One major cause of this appears to be that some airlines will show a sequence number eg 46 which indicates that that pax was the 46th person to checkin for that flight but so often this is mistaken for the gate number if the word "gate" appears on a boarding pass but with no number underneath it.

    The real trouble is when a sequence number coincides with a gate number that may actually be the departure gate of a different airline altogether. It doesn't help matters when the word "gate" appears directly below "sequence" on a boarding pass making it all too easy for pax to assume that that SEQ 46 means they should go to gate 46.

    This can have dire consequences if the pax's unique sequence number happens to be an actual boarding gate with another airline as passengers will be down that end of the terminal out of earshot of PA announcements from the airline they are travelling on so they don't hear either boarding calls or when they are paged by name often resulting in flight delays while they're bags are located and offloaded from the flight.

    Has this happened to you?
     
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  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    Interesting question.

    I pretty much think it should be something like "check FID" ("Check Flight Information Display" is unfortunately too long, "Check monitors" is too confusing - perhaps they need someone paid a lot of money to decide the right wording) as gate changes do happen frequently and customers don't always check.

    Perhaps Seq Number needs to be changed as well, but manually boarding a flight using numbers would be so much easier than boarding using A-Z, AA-AZ, BA-BZ etc.
     
  3. moa999

    moa999 Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
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    I have mistaken Seq for Gate once (on Tiger as well) where both are in equally as prominent letters.
    There is no need for the Seq number to be that big...

    In the US I would recommend a SEE BOARDS print given the high likelihood of gate changes. In Aust have had far less gate changes despite far more flights
     
  4. Boeta

    Boeta Member

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    Personally (and selfishly) I'd lean toward NOT having a gate number on boarding passes and if possible, have nothing more than a seat number and FF #

    Reason being is that it would force passengers to check the FIDs screens for the most up-to-date info such as their gates and new departure times if delayed.
    I'm not a fan of having a gate number printed on a boarding pass if there is a reasonable probability that it's going to change.

    I've lost count the number of times I've had to send little old ladies back to the QF Terminal because they misread a number on their boarding pass.
     
  5. NM

    NM
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    When I received my BP for a recent long haul international flight, I initially saw the big 11A and thought the upgrade gods had done their stuff, moving me into a J window seat. Then I noticed it was Gate 11A and the reality of 15 hours in Y returned.
     
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  6. Major

    Major Established Member

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    Why print sequence numbers at all ? I don't care how many people checked in before me. The airline staff usually check the bar code, flight and seat number,name but surely not the SEQ number
     
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  7. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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    Can be used to quickly board someone if the scanner isn't working. Is used for manual boarding situations (ie computers down). Has it's uses.
     
  8. Simo

    Simo Established Member

    May 22, 2011
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    Some times I have had the check in agent write in pen on my BP the gate number.
     
  9. Leumas

    Leumas Active Member

    Jul 5, 2004
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    Isn't the issue more about the design and usability of the boarding pass? They should look at not having data is can be mistaken so close to each other. The situation can be made worse if the printer is slightly off and the fields don't match up to the values.

    Given the sequence number is used on an exception basis, most boarding passes already have them small and printed at the bottom or on a corner.

    To me, the important fields are:

    - Passenger name
    - Route
    - Flight number
    - Boarding time (not departure time)
    - Gate number
    - Seat number

    Everything else can be organised around these fields.

    The worst offenders for printing rubbish on boarding passes are US airlines. Then to be helpful, sometimes the agents write/highlight on top on it, making it pretty much incomprehensible...
     
  10. here2go

    here2go Active Member

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    I number of times I've changed gates suggests to me that is why they don't do it. Unless the plane is actually pulled up, often you just won't know for sure, especially at larger airports.

    More concerning to me is finding passengers who have gone AWOL, and those who are lost. New mobile phone tech should hopefully make this a thing of the past. NFC for checkin, Samsung and Nokia (amongst others) collaborating on the development of wifi & bluetooth powered indoor mapping for the passenger, and airline staff finding their wayward passenger I believe should all make bringing gate and passenger in a fluid environment easier.
     
  11. pauly7

    pauly7 Established Member

    Dec 8, 2004
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    Agreed, Virgin and Jetstar continually swap gates probably because they have a more common fleet than QF?
    So I completely understand why most of the times airlines won't print the gate number.
     
  12. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

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    I understand the case about not putting the gate number on a boarding pass. Having said that, I do think there is a case for having a rethink on the design of the boarding pass, to make things a bit clearer.
     
  13. TheInsider

    TheInsider Established Member

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    How would you make it more clearer?

    From what i've seen, QF seems to be one of the most easiest to read BP's around.
     
  14. ozbeachbabe

    ozbeachbabe Senior Member

    Jan 10, 2009
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    #14 ozbeachbabe, Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    A lot of people now use airport kiosks or OLCI or are tranship pax but even if a pax has seen a checkin agent, the may have written the boarding gate on their first boarding pass but not the second one.

    It depends a lot on what city you're in also as some airports lease or own their own terminal facilities whereas other airports are common user airports eg BNE & DRW.

    In BNE for example QF PA's are only audible down the QF end of the terminal so not beyond gate 25. Virgin & Jetstar PA's will only be heard from gate 25 onwards so if pax on these airlines are not down the correct end of the terminal they won't hear boarding calls or fail to board PA's either.

    It goes without saying that pax should really be down at their actual boarding gate at minus 30 however that doesn't always happen.

    Even if there is a gate change there is only two potential gates where pax could be so makes searching easier, however a 737-800 can have 168 pax so there will be 168 sequence numbers.
     
  15. Awesom Andy

    Awesom Andy Established Member

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    I think even if we just put something like "Gate: SEE BOARDS" on all boarding passes, then at least pax would know that they need to check for the gate themselves. The sequence number can probably be changed to something else that's less likely to be mistaken. Simply adding something like "SEQ" in front of the number should solve the issue. This shouldn't affect the check-in system at all, since the only change is to have the extra characters printed onto the BP.
     
  16. Mattg

    Mattg Senior Member

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    There's an article in today's Canberra Times about an elderly woman who ended up being kicked off her Virgin flight after a gate change (from the one printed on her BP) led her to get frustrated and call the "unhelpful" supervisor a bitch.
     
  17. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

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    Then you have situations in the USA, such as ORD last year when there were three gates changes in 40 minutes. Forum members who have been to Chicago will be aware of the size of the airport, so I usually position myself so I see the board as it definitely has it's advantages, and gives you time to get to the gate when changes are made at the last minute. Therefore, I don't think gates should be included on the boarding pass, and pax should be encouraged to regularly check the monitor.
     
  18. ozbeachbabe

    ozbeachbabe Senior Member

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    Did this happen in CBR? If not, what airport was it?
     
  19. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

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  20. Blackadder

    Blackadder Active Member

    Personally would rather trust what is on departure screens, rather than what is written on a boarding pass (and subject to change).
     

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