“Disorganized boarding made delayed flight even later.”
Flight from Austin to Houston
- One Way
- Number of Stops:
- No stops
- Date of Flight:
- February 2011
- Seat Class:
Large group (approx 50) of spanish-speaking students had martial arts equipment (helmet, should pads, knee pads) that they were going to carry on-board. apparently they were coming from a tournament. When employees noticed how much extra baggage they each had, a flight attendant tried to get them organized to check the pieces at the gate, but she didn't speak spanish. Ultimately only roughly half of the students' equipment was checked. All the rest of the equipment went into overhead bins forcing other economy class passengers to have their carry-ons taken to be checked.
A spanish-speaking employee was found and he organized the students to board as one unit after the first class and elite passengers were boarded. The rest of the passengers despite row #s were left to wait until all the students and their chaperones were boarded. The flight was already delayed by 10 minutes from the other city, but this haphazard boarding procedure created a further delay that pushed departure back by 30 minutes at least.
There were a number of passengers with tight connecting windows (some as few as 20 minutes). When the flight attendant told me I needed to surrender my carry-on because there was no more room, I told her that my connecting window was originally 45 minutes, but had now shrunk to approximately 10. She shrugged and told me the Boston passengers had even less time and would probably miss their flight. She gave me no further instructions, grabbed my bag out of my hands and walked off.
Deplaning was also disorganized in that the passengers with tight connections were not allowed to exit first. There was much running and confusing once we got off the plane. I had to ask an employee standing at the arrival gate what had happened to my bag and would it be meeting me in Los Angeles. They assured me that it would get to my plane before I would. And with that I had to run and made my connecting flight by 3 minutes.
Having to move such a large number of people every hour of every day makes me think that there would be a contingency plan for a large group of non-english speaking passengers. Perhaps when booking the students originally, someone could have flagged the need for an interpreter at that boarding gate and also at Houston so they would know where to go next.