Yay: American Discontinuing Connecting Gate Announcements

I find flight attendants announcing connecting gate information to be such an outdated “service,” especially for flights within the US. I know it’s well intentioned, and that you can’t please everyone, so I certainly don’t hold it against the individual crews. But under most circumstances it seems unnecessary nowadays:

  • A vast majority of people have smartphones, and can check their own connecting gate information
  • Regardless of whether it’s useful to hear or not, you should always still check your connecting gate information after you arrive in the terminal, since it’s subject to change
  • With more airlines introducing inflight entertainment, the announcements become more of an annoyance, since they’re actively stopping people from using the system

Chicago-Delays

To give an example, I had a domestic flight a couple of weeks ago which arrived 45 minutes early. The flight attendant was great and extremely well intentioned. She came around to everyone in first class individually to tell them which gate their connection would be leaving from.

Then she got on the PA to announce all the connecting gate information for everyone. Twice. The PA took about five minutes, given that there were people connecting to all parts of the globe. When all was said and done, I was informed of my connecting gate three times, all of which were after I had already checked it on my own.

A friend who works for the airline has just let me know that American will formally be discontinuing onboard connecting gate announcements as of next week.

American-787

I’m a huge fan of this change. When you take over 100 flights per year with an airline, listening to connecting gate information leads to a lot of wasted time.

I understand not everyone is tech savvy. For example, my dad doesn’t even have a cell phone (he refuses to get one). But still, even for people like him, I don’t really see the benefit, since you should always check the monitor in the terminal.

In theory I get it helps people familiarize themselves with the terminal, so I wouldn’t mind if they announced the connecting gate information if a flight is late, but when flights are on-time or early, it seems silly.

Come and think of it, the one redeeming quality of announcing connecting gate information is that you get to find out where everyone else is traveling. Other than that, though, good riddance.

Where do you stand on flight attendants announcing connecting gate information — yay or nay?

Comments

  1. Yes, it was a bit outdated given modern technology, but I always liked hearing the different places people on my flight were off to.

  2. I have a smart phone. When you are late and have 20 minutes to catch your flight, hearing the gate is very helpful, especially when you are the first to deplane. Yes the gate could change and I still have to double check, but it’s still helpful. I also find it easy to ignore.

    Another reduction in service.

  3. @ beachfan — To clarify, if you have a smartphone, why wouldn’t you check your connecting gate on the taxi in, which will be much more updated/accurate than the info the crew has?

  4. “When you take over 100 flights per year with an airline, listening to connecting gate information leads to a lot of wasted time”

    How is it wasted time? Do they not allow passengers to disembark until all the gate information has been read?

  5. I always go to google and put in the airline code and flight number as soon as I land somewhere with a connection. It always tells me the connecting gate info and flight times. The monitors inside help as well. I also have the airline email any gate change or flight time updates. Helps when a gate gets switched tight to take off time.

    I don’t feel this is a reduction in service, it’s more a sign of the times.

  6. I will miss it.

    No good reason to stop it.

    Was an interesting point of differentiation for American.

  7. I like hearing these announcements when I’m on a mileage run. It’s always fun to hear the FA hesitate when he/she gets to the “connection” back to the origin of the flight we’re on, or something else that makes no sense at all as a connection.

  8. Depending where you are in the world, you might not have cell service. So checking on your phone isn’t always possible. Even at JFK I frequently don’t get service until we’re parked at the terminal.

    I like the way some airlines like CX add connection info to their map data once you are close to landing.

  9. This is a very welcome news!

    The haters to this policy change…. Welcome to 2016! Now if we could just get the FA’s to stop listing every available beverage and the pilots to quit playing tour guide and meteologist then we might finally have some uninterrupted peace in the cabin!

  10. Very necessary for DFW. So ppl who are not familiar with the air train can navigate their ways in the magazine.

  11. Oh well, now Myrtle and her hubby Joe from Dayton will have to go into the terminal to see where to catch their regional turboprop that stops in Bloomington along the way.

  12. Agreed. you know what ismore annoying? When gate agent comes on board and welcomes everyone to xyz city via PA and tells everyone to check gate information when exiting the plane. Many times the gate agent fumbles arund with PA, “what button I push?” “welcome to this beautiful town of xzy, I hope you had a wonderful trip..” “If anyone needing handicap assistance, please stay in your seat, we will assist you once people deplaned” etc etc.. while this is going on, NONONE is leaving the plane, no matter if I’m standing right at the door trying to hussle to a close connection. “You sir wait till I finish my welcome speach!” grrrrrrr (this is with Delta, I;m not sure if the same exists with other airlines)

  13. Airlines should add a channel to their IFE systems to display all the airline’s arrival/departure data for any airport of the passenger’s choosing. With WiFi, the system should be able to access the identical data that is displayed in terminals or online.

  14. @jmd001 Actually, doesn’t AA do this? I remember flipping through their new IFE system (on one of the new Airbuses) and seeing an option for connecting info.

  15. Negative change. It was a nice touch and >80% of the time in my experience the gate was correct since they got the print out toward the end of the flight.

  16. I think it’s a nice touch, though it can definitely be an annoyance. I think if they direct people to boards, have agents at the gate with connecting information, and/or provide the link and instructions to get info on a smart phone, it comes off as more service oriented and takes care of the less technically savvy.

  17. @Daniel Don’t know if AA has the info on their IFE or not. Haven’t flown them is several years. Just making a general suggestion for all airlines.

  18. I am thrilled to hear this. This has been one of my biggest annoyances for years. Every time I fill out a survey post flight, I write to stop these announcements.
    In addition to all of the points mentioned, my biggest annoyance with it is that 95% of the time, the announcements are either way too loud, way too soft, muffled, or in some way very difficult to understand – this is for all announcements, not just the gate announcements. Sitting there for a few minutes while listening to the difficult to hear/understand announcements is just painful.

    And besides being difficult to hear, you always have to check a monitor/your phone upon leaving the plane in case something has changed. Didn’t understand these announcements for this reason either – just completely unnecessary.

    This will make the flight so much more enjoyable. Now we can just sit there in the quiet and continue to read, watch, sleep, etc. It is wonderful to hear AA making this change. I hope all of the others do as well.

  19. Hi Lucky;

    My Iphone 6s with Verizon coverage doesn’t always grab a good connection immediately upon landing. Occassionally I have to reboot.

  20. As mentioned up above, a foreign national landing in the States may not yet have a SIM card, etc. Also, not everyone has a smart phone (older folks and people who, you know, may not have that much money). I don’t see how this is a huge inconvenience to anyone.

  21. I totally agree with Ian. I find the constant shilling for credit cards way more annoying than gate connection announcements. “A very special offer today; only available on this flight”. Give me a break!

  22. “When you take over 100 flights per year with an airline, listening to connecting gate information leads to a lot of wasted time”

    1. How is this time wasted?
    2. Is everyone on the flight as amazing as you are and take 100 flights per year?

    There are many folks who find this useful – especially when they have tight connections. But hey let’s not worry about them – let’s worry about lucky and how his time gets wasted with these announcements

  23. I think they should still keep them for tight connections (or talk to people individually). I agree with others that if you are arriving in an unfamiliar airport, knowing a gate slightly ahead of time may help you figure out the best way to get there. A few minutes may not be a big deal for most travelers but helps when a connection window is very small (which can happen to anyone if a first flight is delayed).

  24. I liked the connecting gate announcements, if only to hear where others are going. But can we PLEASE do away with the recorded announcements about the credit card and IFE available for purchase?

  25. I like to bitch…constantly. And I like to bitch about people who bitch. Seriously, this is worthy of paper?

  26. Yes! I’m glad I get to rest more or listen to music/movies without this annoyance. Even with the QC25, it’s bad. I hope they never bring it back, we already get one from the FA up front. Spot on.

  27. I think it is useful for late arrivals, when connections may be extremely short. My last late arrival on United, I had a 3 minute connection. Although I was able to get the connecting gate information on my phone, if I was not able to, I would not have had time to check the monitors to find out that my connecting gate was right next door. made the connection with 2 minutes and 15 seconds to spare!

  28. Thank god and good riddance. This was one of the most annoying things about AA. Even if you don’t have a smart phone, there are TV monitors every 50 feet in the terminal. I will gladly take the five extra minutes of peace and quiet in flight without this announcement.

  29. As an overseas visitor flying domestically I found these useful. I don’t have mobile data turned on when in the US as my bill would be massive so these were great especially on a tight connection.

  30. Not everyone is a travel pro, 70% of people on the plane are one-time a year fliers that do not have access to smartphone apps or may not know where in the terminal to look for an overhead monitor. It’s always been a nice customer service gesture that has been helpful to many.

  31. Make the connection info available on the entertainment screen, or just make a brief announcement telling passengers the location of departure screens in the terminal, and to hail a flight attendant and inquire should they need help figuring out a connection. I’m guessing there would only be a handful of people per flight who would bother asking, so they could be dealt with individually.

  32. I don’t really have an opinion on it either way since I realize some people find it useful based on the reasons others have mentioned. What DOES irk me, though, is that the IFE pauses during all announcements. Lucky mentioned it in passing, but I think it needs repeating that this is a HUGE annoyance. There should be an option for FAs to pause the IFE during *critical* announcements or keep it running during less important announcements like when they’re shilling their shit credit card.

  33. I like hearing where everyone on my ICT-DFW flight is going, but it is redundant, IMO. Especially since most (all?) gates at DFW have twin monitors mounted above the jetway exit path that has just the connecting flight departures and gates and statuses. This reduced, smaller list is up to the second up to date and it takes just a glance upward as you walk by instead of the 5-10 seconds it takes to locate your flight on the whole airport list on the standard monitors. I hope this becomes standard in the industry as I absolutely love it.

    In related news, I’m curious why LHR sorts by departure time instead of destination. It’s thrown me for a loop for a number of times, but I’m finally used to it now, I think. It’s still harder because I don’t usually have the exact or even approximate time memorized, but I do (usually!) know which city I’m connecting to. It’s also useful, IMO, to see all the other flights to the city you’re going to right beside it because you have the option of running to go standby on an earlier flight, especially if it’s delayed.

  34. I don’t think I have heard those announcements in years. Although, I usually am listening to something on my noise cancelling headphones. I usually fly American on old US Airways routes. I am wondering if maybe the old US Airways FAs don’t make this announcement.

  35. I’ve not flown AA in awhile, but didn’t mind the announcements as there were only a handful of connecting flights they were referencing. I can see how it could get annoying with a large aircraft.

    As far as checking flights, I usually use the terminal’s monitors, unless I’m sipping free WiFi in-air, at which point I’m usually using FlightStats’ Event Timeline to see which gate the plane is actually arriving at and which my connection is at. I’ve had a few times when the airline’s website AND airport monitors were not showing correct info.

    But I’m with the others — the credit card pitching (and other advertising/revenue generation) via PA is annoying. I’m willing to bet it’s <0.001% of a response and you're just pissing off the rest of the pax, especially frequent flyers. If someone's going to sign up for an airline card these days, it's going to be on the ground, in reference to something they saw either online or in a travel advert.

  36. They should continue announcements for connecting flights that are already boarding or within a few minutes of boarding. Some people really need to rush off the plane to make their connections and checking monitors isn’t going to help them arrive on time.

    Also, the gates for flights that are already boarding are seldom subject to change. (Actually, it happened to me once.)

  37. It’s major WASTED time just like EVERY announcement. Peace and quiet reduce stress. Announcements increase them. The last thing I ever want to do on an airplane is listen to any type of announcement unless it’s extremely necessary. Maybe a quick intro fro the pilot to put passengers at ease. Other than that all announcements are a complete waste

  38. I would like to point out that not everyone has a smart phone. If you (and, I suspect, many readers of the blog) look up connections on your phone, fantastic. There are, however, those that dont – so this shouldnt be a reason to cut the service.

    That said, the only time I really need/want crew to let me know where my next gate will be is when the flight is late and I have a super-tight connection because of it. Any time I have ever heard crew (apart from tight connections) relay gate information, I have heard them also say to verify with the monitors in the terminal as the onboard crew may not have the latest information. More than once I have been told my next gate by cabin staff, only to walk out to the monitors to find its changed.

  39. I like the gate announcements and I like the pilot playing tour guide. I do not like people in a mad dash to have conversations on their cell phones and thus make it quite difficult to hear the gate announcements. More than once in my 50 years of flying, that gate announcement along with the gate maps found in many inflight magazines made the difference between making and missing my connecting flight. I’m retired. Don’t have a smart phone. Don’t need a smart phone. and don’t want to pay the extra money to have one. Flying used to be civilized. I can’t say that it is now. I miss that.

  40. This is probably more about standardizing the on-board service procedure…

    I had somehow, never, been on a Legacy AA flight until last October … I was stunned when I heard the connecting flight info on approach to DFW. I hadn’t heard that on any airline in years. As I’m PHX based now, I’ve been flying the “new” American Airlines quite a bit and the US Airways crews do not make connecting flight announcements.

    Don’t know why … do they not have the ability to receive that info on their planes and print it out for the FAs?

    Whatever, I’m sure this is more about a standard experience than anything.

  41. +1

    “… the constant shilling for credit cards way more annoying than gate connection announcements. “A very special offer today; only available on this flight.”

    Demoralizing to reader and listener alike. If left up to the marketing turds, flights would probably be one endless advertisement, cabin announcements and screens.

  42. It’s useful and not everyone traveling is as tech savvy so it’s a benefit. Many individuals are traveling under various circumstances and I am sure welcome the announcements when there is short layover time. It is not an annoyance to me and with the age of noise cancelling headphones, I rarely find these announcements lasting a max of 10 min disturbing. The airline’s duty is not to provide comfort to only those who travel frequently, but more so to the individuals who do not travel frequently. A similar analogy is an ambulance blaring its sirens in the middle of the night, which can be a nuisance to many in a neighborhood. However, the first responders’ goal is not the convenience of the majority of the public, but to save that one person’s life.

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