No, this is not a case of people with bags boarding first. Nor is it allowing people without bags to board first, something a few airlines have tried recently. Delta is now looking to take carry-on bags from travelers in the boarding area and bring them on board, stowing them in bins before any passengers get on the plane. All in the hope of making the boarding process more efficient and less hectic.
The “Early Valet” program is rolling out initially to a couple dozen flights and will expand over the summer, mostly targeting routes with a higher percentage of leisure travelers to help smooth that process. Delta employees will collect specially tagged bags in the boarding area and bring them on to the plane. Passengers will get to their seats to find that the bags are already in position.
It all sounds great in theory, though the staffing costs to make something like this work cannot be trivial. Then again, there’s a decent chance this cuts down on oversized carry-on bags making it in to the cabin, given that airline staff will be handling them along the way. And those oversized bags are going to end up as checked; with the focus on leisure travelers that could mean a net revenue increase for Delta as those passengers are hit with checked bag fees (assuming the tagging happens at the check-in counter and not at the gate).
So, yes, this is probably good for everyone. But also not necessarily a completely altruistic operation from the airline. Worth noting that a test version of the program ran late last year so this isn’t brand new, but it was successful enough that the company is expanding it.
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