Monday, June 16, 2008

Check-in during summer rush

Check-in during summer rush
By Zoe Sinclair (Our staff reporter/KHALEEJ TIMES) 16 June 2008

DUBAI — Airlines at Dubai International Airport are checking in passengers and closing boarding gates early to help an expected 11 million people travel smoothly during the peak summer period starting today.

More than 300 Dubai Airports staff have also volunteered to help customers make their way through the airport, coping with 20 per cent more passengers than last summer — the highest passenger numbers yet.

Emirates Airline will close its boarding gates 15 minutes before take-off time from June 22 to ensure flights leave as scheduled during the summer rush.

Mohammed H. Mattar, Emirates airport services senior vice-president, warned that anyone arriving late at the boarding gate would be left behind.

“Emirates is implementing the 15-minute before departure gate closure in consideration of our customers who arrive on time for their flights,” Mattar said. “The new policy will allow aircraft to take off as scheduled as it takes about 15 minutes to locate and off-load the baggage of missing or late customers.”

Emirates’ customers are requested to check in two hours before departure and to arrive at the boarding gate 35 minutes before their flight departs.

Passengers are reminded at various points of the new 15-minute early gate closure, including via public address system.

Help for transit passengers

Transit passengers from flights arriving late in Dubai will be escorted by airport staff through formalities to ensure they make it to their onward connection flights.

Indian Airlines Gulf regional manager Abhay Pathak said the airline had begun opening its check-in desks four hours before departure ahead of the busy summer time.

“We also will have a number of Indian Airlines staff helping passengers through the airport during summer along with Dnata staff,” Pathak said.

“Ultimately it is the physical movement of people and ground-handling staff which are important if passengers are late and bags have to be unloaded.”

Volunteers at hand

From Dubai Duty Free staff to Dubai Airports management, more than 300 staff are taking part in the volunteer programme as part of the initiatives to manage Dubai International Airport’s smooth operation during the annual peak season from June to August.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “Our employees understand the challenges we face during the peak season and are going the extra mile by volunteering to improve the travellers' experience. They are available at every step in the terminal journey, helping and assisting customers with their requirements.”

The volunteers in red shirts, present at 35 different locations from kerb-side to the gate, will help passengers move quickly through queues by distributing clear resealable bags for liquids and gels and advising them to remove metal ahead of screening machines.

After trial run last week, Majed Al Joker, Head of Operations at Dubai International Airport, said: “Our customers are able to undergo the security check in a much shorter time without any compromise to the security process.”

Other measures included more detailed signage, instruction videos, better screening machines, more check-in counters (including self and mobile check-in counters), more immigration counters, and e-gate registration facilities in both arrivals and departures.

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