When I first saw the headline that Frontier Airlines has removed departure times from boarding passes, I couldn’t help but think “what is the world coming to?!”
But it actually sort of makes sense. Per USA Today:
Passengers flying Frontier Airlines will notice something familiar missing from their boarding passes: the departure time.
Instead, Frontier will now list the time that “boarding begins” and the time that the boarding “door closes,” which is 10 minutes prior to a flight’s scheduled departure time.
Frontier began rolling out the new boarding pass format late last week, and the move appears to be a first among big U.S. carriers.
So what’s the explanation for the change?
As for Frontier, spokesman Jim Faulkner says the goal for the change is to keep flights on schedule.
“It’s part of our emphasis to ensure an on-time departure for our customers,” Faulkner tells Today in the Sky. “If the door closes 10 minutes before scheduled departure, customers still have time to stow their bags, get their seatbelts fastened and get settled in so that the plane can push back from the gate on time or before.”
“If we’re closing the door at the same time as the scheduled departure time, we’re already running behind,” he adds.
And I think that’s a perfectly smart move. I can’t help but feel like over the years the definition of “departure time” has shifted a bit, as airlines work to artificially improve their on-time records. Eons ago “departure time” seemed to be when the door closed, while nowadays it seems to be when they expect the plane to push back.
Most airlines have a policy whereby they close the door 10 minutes prior to departure. For the purposes of not missing your flight, departure time is hardly a useful metric if you arrive five minutes “early” but the door is already closed (which is a situation just about every frequent traveler has faced at some point).
So I give this change a thumbs up, as it’s a logical move with airlines constantly closing doors earlier and earlier. And it’s probably especially useful for the less frequent traveler.
Would you like to see boarding passes list the last opportunity to board, rather than departure time?