American Airlines Stops On-Board Gate Announcements
This may have been reported earlier this week, but I just came across it this afternoon on Bloomberg. If you flew American Airlines this past week you may have noticed a slight change. That’s because beginning on May 17, the airline began a new policy that it wouldn’t announce connecting gate information, according to Bloomberg.
Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. said they ended these announcements several years ago. The former US Airways, which merged with American in 2014, had not offered them, Freed said. Southwest Airlines Inc., which carries less connecting traffic than its hub-and-spoke rivals, generally leaves gate details to its flight attendants’ discretion, based on their other workloads, a spokeswoman said.
The relic’s demise—“Baltimore, A27; Columbus, B46”—is yet another sign technology is gradually removing humans from the more rote aspects of travel.
Wireless tech has been embraced by flight attendants, who have access to far more information today about customers and flight operations via tablets and smartphones than they have had in the past. These gadgets—iPhones at United, Samsung for American, the Nokia Lumia at Delta—allow airlines to track customers much more closely.
Delta, for example, uses a “guest service tool” to code each cabin so flight attendants can retrieve details on each passenger, including his status in the carrier’s frequent-flier program.
The decision is a good one, in my opinion. With today’s technology and access to mobile apps and information, it is a slight annoyance to have to listen to the long list of connecting gate information. Particularly, it is even more annoying as you are trying to wrap-up an in-flight video you’ve been watching.
I applaud the decision, but I do have to say, I would be happier if they announced they would not interrupt television programs every time the seat belt sign was turned on and off. I know, safety first, but that interruption occurs numerous times on flights and causes more of an annoyance than anything else.