Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian was asked about United Airlines’ new boarding process and after seemingly dismissing it, said he would actually adopt it if ends up working.
Delta Air Lines Open To WILMA Boarding
On October 26, 2023, United Airlines returned to a WILMA-style of boarding. WILMA means “window, middle, aisle” in which passengers seated in window seats board first, followed by middle seats, followed by aisle seats. United hopes to trim off boarding time through this method of boarding.
Appearing on NBC’s Today Show, Bastian was asked about United’s new boarding process and quickly dismissed it, saying:
“We have found that actually just boarding people and getting people moving through the plane is the fastest. Every time you add another feature, it gets more complicated.”
That’s as silly as saying we do not worry how to fly the plane, we just fly planes. Of course boarding people involves “getting people moving” but the object here is how to do it in the fastest and most effective way possible. Delta might not have “WILMA” boarding, but it does have boarding zones – there is no free-for-all.
However, Bastian added that although it has tried “every way possible” to board more efficiently, if United does “crack that nut better, we’ll certainly copy them.”
After the interview, weatherman Al Roker suggested he adapt FRED boarding, “You know FRED. Rear Exit Door” garnering a groan from Savannah Guthrie and a laugh from Bastian followed by a request from Roker for Biscoff cookies. (You kids might not remember The Flintstones, but I got the reference…).
I had to chuckle at a bunch of headlines this weekend stating Delta had “slammed” United’s “complicated” new boarding scheme. On the contrary, Bastian may be skeptical but he will be watching closely to see if United “cracks that nut” and is able to find a way to speed up boarding.
image: screen grab / NBC Today Show