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Starting May 1, Delta said it plans to use zones, numbered one through eight, to make the boarding process more intuitive for its customers.

Boarding a plane can be a frustrating travel experience. The lines are long, and it’s almost always slowed down by passengers storing their carry-ons in the overhead bins. 

But Delta Air Lines hopes to make that process a little smoother. Starting May 1, the carrier is rolling out changes to its boarding process in an attempt to streamline the experience for passengers and airport customer service agents. 

“While a simple change, Delta believes the move to numbered zones will simplify the boarding process for both our customers and our employees, adding clarity of sequence and improving the overall gate experience,” the company said in a statement. 

Instead of a “branded boarding” experience where groups are named “Delta One” or “Diamond Medallions,” the carrier plans to use eight different zones to denote each boarding class.

Delta said it would switch from “branded boarding” to numbered zones May 1. Photo: Delta Air Lines

For example, “Zone 1” will include Delta One and first-class customers, while “Zone 3” is for travelers flying Delta Comfort+. The boarding order itself will not change, as those flying first or business class will still get to board before those in economy. 

Delta said it decided to use numbered zones to make the boarding process more intuitive, especially for travelers who do not fly frequently or have a language barrier. 

The carrier also said the changes align more closely to the boarding process its international partners use, giving passengers flying with mixed itineraries a more simplified process. 

Airlines Look to Improve Boarding

While it’s unclear if the switch to numbered zones will make Delta’s boarding process more efficient, airlines have been looking for ways to better organize boarding.

The boarding process has even caught the interest of astrophysicists looking to make the experience less time consuming for flyers. 

United Airlines re-introduced a boarding process in October where passengers sitting in window and middle seats board before those in aisle ones. And Southwest Airlines is famous for its open-seating policy, giving travelers the opportunity to sit almost anywhere in the plane. 

Airlines Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of airline sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets including network carriers, low-cost carriers, and other related companies.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more airlines sector financial performance

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.


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Tags: delta air lines, delta skymiles, economy, first class, southwest airlines, united airlines

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