This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Come July 18, Alaska Airlines promises that your relationship status will change – at least where boarding is involved.
“You may have a complicated relationship with boarding an aircraft,” the airline waxed eloquent in a blog announcement published June 6. “On the one hand, it means you will soon settle into your seat and you’re almost on your way. On the other hand, it can sometimes be stressful if you’re not sure when it’s your turn to board.”
Alaska plans to change all of that this summer. The procedural updates will begin with the boarding pass, which will feature larger fonts and more streamlined presentation of relevant information. “Your boarding pass is really a guide for your journey,” Alaska said in the blog post. “You want to know, first and foremost, where you need to be (your gate) and when you need to be there (your boarding time).”
The next phase of change will take place at the gate, where announcements will now be broadcast on screen displays at each gate. Since most travelers have headphones on these days, the visual alerts will make it far easier for passengers to catch relevant information.
Finally, the boarding process itself is undergoing a complete overhaul. Alaska’s five boarding groups – First Class, and Groups A-D – will take turns boarding approximately five minutes apart. The first passengers to enter the plane will be travelers with special needs – families with children under 2, or any guests with special services or require additional time to settle in. Active duty military and first class passengers will follow. Group A passengers include Million Milers, Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K and MVP Gold status elites; Group B will seat Alaska Mileage Plan MVPs and Premium Class. Finally, Group C will board all remaining guests who are seated in the back half of the aircraft, brought up by Group D, which encompasses all remaining guests seated toward the front half of the aircraft.
Alaska isn’t the only airline hoping to revamp the current boarding process, which is often rife with “gate lice” – passengers who mill about the boarding area well before boarding time. United just began pilot-testing a similar procedure in Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, which will be rolled out to more locations later this summer.
The boarding process update isn’t Alaska’s only recent procedural change: the airline introduced basic economy fares in April, and restricted its previously generous change fee policy.
Featured photo by Shutterstock
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards