American Airlines is using remote stands — and mobile lounges to transport passengers from aircraft to gate — for some afternoon Philadelphia Boeing 757, Boeing 767, and Airbus A330 arrivals.
From my PTV what do I see? Throughout our summer peak, @AmericanAir is using PTVs (mobile lounges) at @PHLAirport to deplane customers on up to two arrivals a day—helping us deplane more quickly, better manage gate compression issues and operate more reliably. pic.twitter.com/XLgm5bB10i
— Andrew W. Trull (@AndrewTrull) June 4, 2019
The Points Guy‘s JT Genter doesn’t push back on American’s claim that it is just as fast to pull up to the gate and let passengers get off as it is to park at a remote stand, have them board buses to the terminal, drive them to the terminal, and have them get off these buses.
I was curious how much extra time this process might take for passengers with connections to make. But, Andrew says American has “found that we’re able to deplane our customers with PTVs as fast as traditional arrivals.”
To help prepare passengers for the experience, AA has “developed a set of onboard messages that our [flight attendants] read before landing to help inform our customers what to expect” and AA has customer care representative onboard the mobile lounges to assist with questions.
It’s hardly a revolutionary idea to use “mobile lounges” or moon buggies that carry passengers slowly across active taxiways to their terminals. Many Washington Dulles United passengers still have to use them, for instance, and arriving passengers at that airport on a variety of airlines too.
They were an ‘idea of the future’ 60 years ago. With hindsight they just seem quaint to outside onlookers. To Dulles passengers they’re inconvenient. They have to stop for traffic. And they aren’t traveling continuously, you board and wait for departure and they have to be driven by a person.
In my experience at Dulles if one of these meets your aircraft, instead of merely having to take one to customs and immigration, you board and sit and wait and wait and wait until the thing fills up. It’s the longest minutes after a long flight.
Sadly these mobile lounges do nothing to solve gate crowding in Philadelphia for departing flights where tables with OTG iPads take up nearly all the space (they’re monetized).