A vintage solution for arrival gate delays

21Jun11

When you watch an older movie, or even some newer ones, you may see a fantastical depiction of air travel. Among the extraordinary luxuries that were once offered, passengers could just walk directly off the plane after it arrived, aided only by a set of portable stairs. I suppose this actually happened at some point in time — probably when I was too young to remember. But a recent flying experience made me wish for a return to these simpler times.

You see, I had already spent many hours sitting in the departure airport due to “weather delays”. When I finally arrived at the destination, I was forced to sit in the plane for another 60 minutes, since the airport didn’t have enough gates to deal with all the backed-up flights. It was a beautiful day outside, and I’m sure none of the passengers would have minded if they pulled the plane up to the nearest gate, and then let us walk across the tarmac and into the terminal. However, this option was never presented to us.

Now, I don’t know how many airports still have rolling staircases on hand. But when the equipment is available, it makes sense to use it. Just adopt a policy to use the rolling stairs whenever a plane would otherwise be stuck for more than 15 minutes waiting for a gate, assuming the weather is tolerable. That way, passengers would be spared the frustration of being trapped on the plane for an extended period, and airlines would be able to put the plane back in service without further delays.



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