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United Is Testing A New Boarding Procedure

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.”

Comments are Closed.
AAdamE February 21, 2018

@Marshann you should. AA Gold gets group 4, CC holders get group 5, so at least you board before the CC folks & even folks who paid for a premium economy seat.

bri451 February 20, 2018

It still boggles my mind. Whenever I travel to Asia I see how their airlines can load a giant widebody in 15 minutes. They have a priority boarding call, and a main boarding call, that's it. However, we can't load a CRJ in that time < 20 min. All this lane, priority, group, stuff is just games. If they really wanted to load a plane faster they would get rid of all the self loading overhead bags, which is what really slows everything down. Groups make no difference at all.

Marshann February 17, 2018

It always bothers me that my gold elite status just doesn't count for boarding priority. Gold elite is fairly difficult to reach, and is given group 2 status for boarding, the same as those with a United credit card. I always ask myself why I bother - why not just get a credit card and fly other airlines?

DonFlynn February 17, 2018

GregMM - Yes it does not seem to be very different or innovative. The idea I have had for a long time may be what Mike Rivers is referring to: >>I can live with letting first class passengers board first, but I always favored the old school method of boarding from the rear first. I never remember this being done but if it was, why wouldn't it work? Ok, let the premium boarders get on first. And then everyone else lines up, rear seats first. No waiting for the bonehead in aisle 10 if you are in aisle 30. Where is the downside of this? And while we are at it, why no have the overhead bins correspond to the people in the seats below them? So, aisle 22, seats A, B, and C has its own designanted bin. And no one should be allowed to put their stuff in there until all passengers are seated. jrpallante - I have never flown Southwest but from what I read, they totally rock in every other category (except price) and so why wouldn't they be head and shoulders above their competitors on this one as well?!

GregMM February 16, 2018

The window, middle, aisle IS the current boarding method. All they're changing is going from 5 lanes back to 2.