DL AMS Gates

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines | SkyMiles' started by brfort, May 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. brfort
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    brfort Silver Member

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    Just got back from AMS. It is the first time I have flown through the airport. The KLM lounge was great with the iPads and showers (something I really wish DL would do more of in this country). My experience at the airport was great save one thing: DL's gates. What is up with the waiting area, for an A330 the space was like commuter gate long and narrow, we could not all fit into it and because of the gate security, people had to wait outside of security until people boarded before they could enter the waiting area. Are the DL gates always on this pier, and are there any plans to improve these conditions, or was this just a one-off bad experience?
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    We need more info. What pier and gate did they use? Was the flight late or were there other obvious problems such as severe overbooking? (The GAs are inside security, so standbys need to be processed by security just to talk with the GA if the transfer desk can't help.) What were the destination and aircraft type?
     
  3. brfort
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    brfort Silver Member

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    This was the E pier. All the DL's were lined up on it. A330s, and 767s, all on the northwest side of the pier. It was the mid-day sequence so all of the flights to DTW, EWR, MSP, and BOS were all leaving at the same time. This was something that was strange to me, the DL agent was outside of security looking at people's info before they went through passport check because of the back-log.
     
  4. MSPeconomist
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    This sounds like they were using the regular gate assignments. Even PMNW flew from this area for as long as I can remember, although very rarely a gate in another nearby pier would be used, especially with a delay.

    Are you sure it was a DL agent? KLM has been doing the ground handling for us in AMS for ages too. Even the guys who seem to the the NW/DL station/duty managers in AMS seem to be Dutch, although IIRC they don't wear KLM colored ties. IME there's usually a security person wearing a navy/red/blue uniform checking documents and directing traffic to the security question kiosks. This person also seems to verify that folks in the WBC/BE/elite line are entitled to be there. Could this be the document check that you observed? Or could the person have been watching for people without seat assignments in an oversell situation or VDB prospects.

    Since I use the elite security lines (and know that they're there), I usually stay in the lounge as long as possible as I hate to arrive before true boarding--letting people onto the airplane--has started because I hate to be caught in the holding pen. I'm not too worried that they're going to IDB a DM with a BE boarding pass and seat assignment, although I've heard that security sometimes gives latecomers a hard time as punishment. I've never seen AMS stop letting people enter their holding pens for lack of space, although I can see that a full 747 at a 767 gate could be a problem. However, KLM usually isn't above making folks stand in their holding pens, including for their own intra-EU flights. (My own worst experience was a delayed and packed KLM flight to some summer holiday destination, maybe Athens, where folks were coming down the escalator in the holding pen but there was no space for them to move away from the bottom of the moving stairs and people were piling up. Scary, especially with luggage.)
     
  5. brfort
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    brfort Silver Member

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    it was just frustrating for me because I came late and had to wait forever to even get into the pen. you are right it was KLM folks at the desk but there was one person in a DL uniform, she was looking at the seat assignments issue that you mentioned.

    For such a busy airport I was just surprised at the gate situation, seemed out of place.
     
  6. MSPeconomist
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    It seems that there are always at least fifty people in the coach/nonelite security line at the gate. However, if you get to the line on time, they won't leave without you. If you're entitled to the elite/BE line, be sure to find the sign and go there; I've never had to wait behind more than a couple people as they direct elites to the podiums while others wait, the same way KLM does their "take a number" transfer desk system now in areas where they don't maintain separate lines.
     
  7. brfort
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    brfort Silver Member

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    that is interesting because the day that I was there I did not see the Sky Priority line, and I saw no signage, and assumed that gate security did not have an elite line.
     
  8. MSPeconomist
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    Unless it's changed recently, there's always been a separate line for as far back as I can remember. Sometimes it's sort of hidden behind the main line, so that you have to get between the main line and the little wall separating the holding pen from the general terminal concourse. For example, when you walk out along a pier, normally the main line snakes back in the direction of passport control and the lounges so that newcomers come to the back of the line first and naturally join it. If the gate is on the left as you walk toward, you would want to be even further to the left to find the short line hidden behind the big line. Other times you must go totally beyond the head of the big line to find the little line approaching the gate from the far end of the pier. The big line frequently hides the sign and I've seen big families decide to take the shorter line out of a sense that their brats make them entitled. I hope this explanation helps.

    My general rule when travelling as an elite is that I never get into a big line without first investigating all possible alternatives to avoid the long line, including asking staff. However, sometimes this seems to offend TSA, so be careful. They've insisted to me in several places that it is absolutely the case that there are not and have never been any elite or FC security lines in any airport ever. I once got a gate SSSS when I said that this was wrong and rattled off a list of airports that I knew had elite/FC security lines, after getting yelled at for politely asking if there was an elite line at the current airport. Some of them hate VFFs because we know the rules.
     
  9. travelgourmet
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    travelgourmet Silver Member

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    While I try to spend as little time in the holding pens as possible, I really dislike them. Their presence, along with increasing passport control lines and lousy food has me avoiding AMS more and more. I used to choose AMS over other options, but I increasingly find CDG just as pleasant of a place to transit, and LHR T5 absolutely blows AMS out of the water. Still hate FRA, though.

    I've never not seen an elite line, but it is usually marked using KLM terminology, rather than Sky Priority.
     
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  10. MSPeconomist
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    Another instance where you have to know to look for it and exactly what you're looking for. It's the same with the quick immigration line at CDG, marked something like Access No. 1?
     
  11. FetePerfection
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    I stumbled upon the priority line completely by accident but it was there and save me probably 30 minutes.
     
  12. mtkeller
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    Flew AMS-LHR the other night (332 got subbed for 737 and I wound up in a WBC seat :D) out of D47, and I could not find an elite security queue anywhere. I did hear them call elites to board first, but I was still outside security. I swear, the people in front of me had never flown before: huge containers of liquids, pulling out laptops at the last second, etc. Makes me wonder why I stand to the side of the queue and get all my stuff in order first.

    I did, however, notice priority lines at most of the other KL gates I passed on D pier. I'm thinking I just hit bad luck with my draw. Hoping for better luck with AZ on LHR-FCO-TLV and back in a couple weeks. Not expecting much out of LHR (AZ doesn't seem to do priority boarding here), but hopefully at least in FCO.
     
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  13. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    When flying TATL out of AMS, there has always been a queue for elites. On the intra-Europe flights, including AMS-LHR, I have never seen an elite queue. I'm headed to AMS shortly! Ah...a nice visit to the LHR SkyTeam Lounge! :)
     
  14. MSPeconomist
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    On AMS-EU flghts, I usually find an elite line for the scanning of boarding passes, frequently on the left side as you approach the podium. There's usually a KLM sign, but getting to the line can be a problem due to Dutch gate lice.
     
  15. mtkeller
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    I think they may have announced something to that effect, but I was still outside the security checkpoint behind a bunch of people who didn't know what they were doing.
     
  16. MSPeconomist
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    It seems like it wasn't that long ago that the Dutch at AMS emphatically believed that anything at the airport that was done by the government should treat everyone the same, with no elite lines whatsoever, although passport control was always an exception that favored Dutch and European nationals.
     

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