Delta Airlines is ditching the zone boarding process and will determine the order in which passengers board an airplane by which “branded fares” they pay for.
The airline made the announcement in a statement last week, saying the zones “will soon be a thing of the past.”
Delta operates flights to and from Canada, and Canadians might fly on a Delta flight due to its partnership with WestJet.
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The way zone boarding works is by letting on people who are sitting at the back of the plane first — with the exception of people who need extra time (like those with small children) and business and executive class passengers, who get on the plane first.
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Starting Jan. 23, 2019, there will be eight colour-coded brands, prioritizing those who have paid more for their seats, and still “prioritizing customer loyalty.”
The codes and their order of priority will be shown when people purchase their tickets.
The airline says people who need help or more time to board will still board first.
Other than that, the first brand is the high-priced Delta One, and the last is Delta’s cheapest ticket, the basic economy fare.
The change is the latest attempt for airlines to minimize boarding times. United Airlines switched to a two-lane system, hoping to minimize people crowding around the gate at boarding time.
The changes come as airlines are under scrutiny over the way passengers are treated — the legroom between seats is shrinking and passengers are increasingly paying for things that were once included for free, like carry-on bags.
Canada’s transport minister on Monday announced new rules for airlines that will be included in the upcoming passenger’s bill of rights.
Among some of the proposed rules laid out on Monday, airlines will no longer be allowed to charge passengers who want to ensure they can sit next to their children. Passengers will also be entitled to cash compensation of $400 after a delay of three hours, with the amount of compensation going up to $700 and $1,000 at the six-hour and nine-hour marks, though those amounts will be smaller for small airlines.