One of the passenger experience developments that happened at Jet Airways in June was a new zone-wise boarding process, where the premium-cabins were allowed to board through at their convenience, however, Economy passengers were supposed to board zone-wise back to front. This was also made applicable for the elites (Platinum & Gold tiers) who were going to board the plane.
Now, this came across as an ugly situation. Because on one hand, the airline thought they were doing this to turn around the planes on time, but on the other hand, they were alienating their frequent flyer base who had been with them inspite of the meal cuts, frequent flyer membership cuts and all the other things that are thrown at them. This is a nice little perk, and denying it made conversations like this one at the boarding gate that happened on Saturday as I boarded a flight to Chandigarh. Not me but the guy ahead of me, in Zone 3 but a Gold,
Gate Agent: Sir, we are boarding Zone 4 right now request you to step aside and wait for your zone to board.
Passenger: Hey but how does it matter, we are all going on the same plane, right?
GA: Yes Sir, I understand, but we only allow people to get on the aircraft per zones now.
This conversation went on for a minute before the gentleman walked off feeling very angry, knowing he was not getting his way. All that for what? We were anyways going to go stand in the jet bridge because the plane was still being cleaned. Now imagine the boarding time lost with these issues every time a Jet Airways flight was taking off.
Consequences of not being allowed to board ahead, the overhead baggage space for those in front row seats, inevitably the elites, would be taken up by someone in the back of the plane. Common courtesy indicates you need to stow your bag near your seat but some people would stow them in the front because they were in Zone 3, Zone 2 had still not arrived and they’d see space free. So what’s stopping them.
The other issue with this process, it was not even being uniformly implemented. Over a few weeks we saw it did not work, causing us to wonder if 9W was quietly choosing to kill it. Over the weekend, we boarded a flight to Chandigarh while the next gate boarded a flight to Nagpur. No zone-wise boarding on flight to Nagpur but zone-wise boarding on the flight to Chandigarh. I wonder how consistent could that become.
But the good news is, that Jet Airways is back to the old situation that existed before June 1. Here is an update from the Jet Airways website:
It reads as follows:
- First Class Guests, Premiere Guests, JetPrivilege Platinum & Gold members shall board as per their convenience
- Guests travelling in Economy will board the flight based on the zone to which their seat belongs.
I think that should be the end of this. I’m glad we are back to where things should have belonged.
I totally understand the airline’s intention towards trying a new approach, but it took away from passenger experience while putting in a slight amount of animosity in the minds of many of their frequent fliers. And now, I’m glad that JetPrivilege has put the Privilege back in Jet.
What have been your experiences with the new boarding process?