Delta's New Boarding Process: Pay More, Board Earlier

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Pay more; board earlier. That's Delta Air Line's new global boarding strategy, to take effect Jan. 23. Passengers will no longer board an aircraft by designated zones, but by the class of fare purchased, the carrier announced on Tuesday. Each fare class will be associated with a color, ranging from blue at the low end to a regal purple for the highest priority.

"Every customer values consistency and a sense of knowing what to expect when they're traveling," said Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in a statement released Dec. 11. "We have been listening to our customers about the stress they often feel at the gate before boarding, and implementing small changes for years. This latest enhancement further refines how Delta's process works and is designed to better link the Delta product they purchased to differentiated experiences throughout their journey."
 
As of Jan. 23, boarding zones for Delta-operated flights worldwide will be renamed to reflect the class of fare purchased — Basic Economy, Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, Delta Premium Select/First Class and Delta One — as well as Sky Priority for high-status flyers. This will result in a more staggered process. A greater number of boarding groups should ease congestion, as customers will be asked to remain seated or away from the boarding lines until their group has been called.

Mapes explains the system in this one-minute video.