Northwest Airlines will begin offering new special boarding lanes for its premium and most frequent customers at airport departure gates throughout the U.S. The new service, which will be introduced during the week of July 3, will be available to members of Northwest’s WorldPerks frequent flyer program who have achieved Elite status, customers flying first class, World Business Class and customers of the SkyTeam Alliance who hold Elite status.
“The new premium boarding lanes provide our WorldPerks Elite members with additional recognition for their loyalty to Northwest,” said Jim Cron, vice president of passenger marketing and sales. “No matter what time they arrive at the gate or when they are ready to board, Elites and our other premium customers will know that this new convenience is available to them.”
Signs, stanchions and carpeting in departure gate areas will mark special boarding lanes for qualifying customers that allow them to board their Northwest flight quickly, no matter when they arrive at the gate or when they are ready to board.
Next week, the new boarding lanes will be introduced at Northwest’s WorldGateway at Detroit hub and airports in Bismarck and Fargo, N.D., Phoenix, and Portland, Ore. The lanes will be introduced at all Northwest loading bridge-equipped gates in U.S. airports within the next two months.
Members of Northwest’s WorldPerks frequent flyer program achieve Elite status after flying 25,000 miles or 30 qualifying segments in a calendar year.
Change Complements New Open Boarding Process
Northwest also said that its customers are benefiting from the new “open boarding” process that it recently introduced. Northwest continues to offer the convenience of assigned seating, but its new open boarding process is reducing the amount of time that customers spend boarding their flight. The new process also reduces congestion in gate rooms, loading bridges and aboard aircraft.
Internal studies have shown that open boarding reduces the amount of time it takes to board a flight by an average of seven minutes. The implementation of the new process was completed in North America and Asia/Pacific earlier this month.
While first class, World Business Class, WorldPerks Elite members, travelers in exit rows and those with special needs continue to be offered priority boarding at the start of the boarding process, all other customers are now invited to board at their convenience as part of the airline’s new open boarding process.
Northwest Airlines is the world’s fifth largest airline with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,200 daily departures. Northwest is a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks. Northwest and its travel partners serve more than 900 cities in excess of 160 countries on six continents.