American Airlines announced yesterday that their mobile app will prompt customers when their flight is boarding. That’s something that Delta, United, and Southwest have already offered. I mentioned American beta testing this back in April.
Now boarding: you
Starting today, you’ll receive boarding notifications from the app when traveling! pic.twitter.com/BMXqi8qELw
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) October 16, 2019
JT Genter says “app users will automatically get a notification when their flight has begun boarding” and that’s the general idea – I don’t think he intends it as a precise description of how this feature works, but it seemed like knowing what actually triggers the notification could be useful to some people (or at least good to know).
One Mile at a Time offers “It’s my understanding that the push notification is tied to when the first boarding pass is scanned” but that’s not quite correct.
It is not the precise start of boarding or when the first boarding pass gets scanned that triggers the boarding notification to a customer.
Here’s what actually happens:
- GateReader sends a message to the Customer Notification Engine “when the 5th customer is boarded with GateReader within the boarding window” per an internal airline document on the change.
- The boarding window “is defined as latest posted ETD in FLIFO + Scheduled Boarding Time + 5 Minutes”
I don’t see the feature as being nearly as valuable as others have suggested. If you wait to leave the lounge until your flight is boarding, you probably aren’t going to get overhead bin space above your seat. So you’re still going to need to be near the gate for bin space, even during rolling delays.
Given the extreme pressure on gate agents for ‘D0’ – getting a plane out exactly on time – many will make customers gate check their bags even when there’s plenty of bin space still left on the aircraft. That’s because they don’t want to risk the time it takes for a passenger to board, discover there’s no bin space, and then get it tagged and loaded. It’s easy to just announce everyone has to get check.
At least on aircraft that have new bigger bins gate agents aren’t supposed to preemptively make you gate check bags.