Have you heard? Some airlines are experimenting with a new boarding system. As much as we want the boarding process to be faster and smoother, the airlines want it more. An analysis done by Northern Illinois University revealed that every extra minute a plane is parked at the gate past its scheduled departure time costs the airline $30. Considering that more than 25% of flights depart at least fifteen minutes late, this really adds up over the course of a year. So, Delta will be rolling out its Early Valet Service this summer. Airline employees will take your carry-on bags and put them in the bin above assigned seats. This means they believe that their employees can do this faster than passengers can.
But even if they can, do we want them to? Do we want to trust the employee working under a stop watch to (1) stow our bag in the right place and (2) make sure it is not damaged by another bag that another employee (who is also racing the clock) hurriedly throws in the same bin? What happens to the exquisite hand carved statue or fragile soap stone candlesticks that I have hand-carried all over Africa? Do they become casualties of an airline experiment? What’s more, do we want to let our valuables, such as jewelry, cameras, and passports, out of our sight? Some who tire of watching and waiting while some guy tries to shove an over-sized bag in to the already full overhead bin may appreciate this service.
We’ll soon find out how well this will work. This service begins in June on many Delta flights departing from Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minnieapolis, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.
If any of you have first hand experience with this experiment (or opinions) please share your comments here.