A trial of a new boarding procedure – one that United hopes will create a better passenger experience – is underway at the carrier’s hub in LA. The trial comes just five years after the carrier last changed its boarding procedures and uses simplified lanes to guide passengers onto aircraft.
United Airlines has announced that it is considering making some changes to its boarding procedures, Skift reports. Just five years on from its last boarding overhaul – which saw the carrier designate passengers into multiple separate groups using specific lanes – United is actively testing yet another new method, one that it believes will help to improve the boarding process.
A spokesperson for United confirmed to the outlet that the carrier is actively testing out this latest procedure at its Los Angeles hub.
According to a fact sheet issued by United, under this trial system, “There will be two lanes: to begin, Group 1 will board through Lane 1 and Group 2 will board through Lane 2. The remaining Groups 3-5 will then board through Lane 2 when called, and Groups 1 and 2 may continue to board through Lane 1.” Passengers will be guided to their lane by signage within the gate area.
This latest method revolves around passengers’ MileagePlus Premier® status or group, but even under this different system, elite customers would still be able to board first and the carrier has also advised that “Pre-boarding will still be available to select customers.”
United believes that there are multiple benefits to this new boarding system. It says that thanks to the simplified lanes, passengers will no longer need to line up at the gate prior to boarding. Additionally, it says that smaller group sizes will be enforced for certain flights. This, in turn, will equate to a less crowded boarding experience.
The carrier explains that “Fewer lines will create more space and easier access to the boarding door for customers exiting the plane from the previous flight and during pre-boarding.”
United believes that this new procedure could also be more efficient. “Following priority boarding groups, we’ll board customers sitting in window seats first and then middle and aisle seats,” it adds.
A spokesperson for the carrier told the outlet, “Our customers have told us they want a better experience when boarding and we are looking for ways to improve it for them.”