Delta launches new boarding process at Hartsfield-Jackson

Delta Air Lines is launching a new boarding process at five gates at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

At the handful of gates on Concourse B, Delta passengers will line up in four parallel lanes at marked pillars. They will continue to board by zone.

That will help with "keeping customers out of the walkway" and create a separate area for premium customers to line up, as well as for passengers who need special assistance, according to Delta.

The airline plans to roll out the "interim solution" to more airports if it continues to get good feedback from customers.

The new system comes after Delta tested a variety of boarding processes, according to Delta's senior vice president of airport customer service Bill Lentsch. He said the airline will continue to evaluate new processes and technologies.

Southwest Airlines years ago revamped its boarding process by adding marked posts to help organize passengers lining up to board.

Dallas-based Southwest is the second-largest carrier in Atlanta, behind Delta. Some travelers say they like the Southwest boarding process more than Delta's -- even though Southwest doesn't have assigned seats.

Delta says it aims to "take the 'hold room' feel out of the gate space" and create "meaningful distractions that keep customers engaged and entertained while they wait."

Chief marketing officer Tim Mapes said in a written statement that improving boarding "is a major priority for us," and that customers "will experience less crowding and confusion at the gate" as the new boarding process rolls out.

The new boarding process on Concourse B comes as Delta renovates its gate areas at Hartsfield-Jackson as part of a $6 billion modernization and expansion of the world's busiest airport.


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