Sunday, September 10, 2006

United Airlines Introduces New Fast Boarding Technology

A new design jet bridge allows United Airlines to board and deplane passengers simultaneously at their Denver hub. The new product, the Dewbridge DoubleDocker™ is designed to use the forward aircraft door as well as the aft door. United Airlines reports that the new jet bridge allows them to cut the loading and unloading time in half.

Presumably passengers already aboard the aircraft are instructed to exit through the forward door while new passengers board through the rear (or vice versa). United hasn’t said who uses which door. I don’t think that they’d alter the existing paradigm that places their high revenue passengers and those that need assistance up front. I hope that I won’t be telling some of my clients, “you really want to be in the last row next to the bathroom so you’ll be first off the plane.”

United started using the DoubleDocker™ this week at gate B15 at Denver International Airport. If it meets their expectations, they’ll probably buy more, but only if it makes financial sense. According to Alex Marren, Vice President of Operational Services for United Express and Ted, “…because we can board customers faster, we are able to eventually add more flights without adding new aircraft.”

The DoubleDocker™ is designed to be used with narrow body aircraft, like the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 currently used by United. I wonder how many DoubleDockers™ you could buy for the price of one A320?

I think that this is an exciting development. I can’t wait to hear what passengers think and to try it for myself.

Last week there was other aviation news with the first passenger flight of the double deck Airbus A380. I know that new design double deck jet bridges that allow boarding the upper and lower decks simultaneously have been developed specifically for that aircraft.

I wonder if Dewbridge is looking at combining the DoubleDocker™ with the double decker? What would they call it? Double-double? The Quad? Whatever they design, I’m sure that air passengers will be coming and going at the same time.

Photo Credit: Dew Engineering and Development Limited


Edulabbe said...

I don't agree with this kind of time-sparing design.
Usually, when you get off the plane you can see that other passengers leave a lot of garbage on their seats, front-seat pockets and on the aisles (I say "other passengers" because I ALWAYS take my garbage with me). I think the time between deplaning and boarding is used to make some cleaning.
So, imagine now that the boarding and deplaning take place simultaneously, when you board you are going to find all the garbage left by previous passengers!!!

Christopher Gould said...

You're right. I thought about this, but then decided that they're not doing too much cleaning anyway. We'll have to wait and see if the litter piles up.

mom of two said...

I used to work for Delta pre 9/11 and they didn't do much cleaning then so I can't imagine that they do much now. I would have to guess that they send one or two cleaning crew on that follow the passengers off, or the flight crew might be doing it. Either way I would definitly look before removing anything from my seat pocket.
Amy Crooks
P.S I have family that live in Denver, so I can let you know sometime in November how they are working that, if that is the gate they leave out of.

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