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Over the past year, Delta has made a number of negative changes including Mileage Accrual Based on SpendingAdditional Revenue Requirements for Medallion StatusReduced SkyClub Guests and Increased FeesA Tighter Same Day Confirm PolicyBlocked Access to ExpertFlyer, and Limited Partner Transfers to SkyMiles. However Delta’s latest update seems to be one that customers might actually benefit from.

Per this Flyertalk thread, Delta is currently testing out a new service called Early Valet at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in an effort to speed up the boarding process and enhance the overall boarding experience for passengers.

Delta is testing out a new service called Early Valet.
Delta is testing out a new service called Early Valet.

Here’s how Early Valet work works:

  • Gate agents working a specific flight will look around the gate area for passengers with carry-on bags.
  • Agents will take bags from interested customers and place them on the plane above their seats prior to boarding.
  • Once boarding begins, those who participated will be able to board at their leisure knowing that their carry-on bags are already on the plane.

Early Valet is only being offered on select Delta flights departing from the T Concourse in Atlanta. We reached out to Delta who confirmed that they are testing this service out, but haven’t decided on the next steps, such as whether it will be rolled out at more airports.

My Thoughts

As this is still in the testing phase, I think there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, like deciding whether Early Valet should be offered to all passengers or just those in certain fare classes. Also, there needs to be a way for passengers to ensure that their bags actually end up above their seats. What happens if the gate agent takes a passenger’s bag and the passenger is then upgraded at the gate to First Class? Would the bag still be placed in coach?

Overall though, I really like this idea and think that if it’s implemented properly it could be a win for both passengers and Delta. It will save time for passengers trying to stow their overhead luggage, and will speed up the boarding process, which in turn should mean less flight delays. Delta used to try to gate-check many bags, but most flyers are reluctant to give up carry-on’s to be picked up at baggage claim. Early Valet could lessen resistance from passengers, since they’d be assured of having their bags on the plane.

How likely would you be to take advantage of Early Valet if it were offered on your next flight?

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