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Group Boarding 2018 - first hand experiences

Group Boarding 2018 - first hand experiences

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Old Mar 30, 18, 3:52 am   -   Wikipost
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Please use this thread to document experiences of the new Group Boarding process in airports. I think it's well known how the previous boarding system works, so just the new process please, so that other travellers can gauge its effectiveness.

For discussion, conjecture and speculation about the scheme, please use this thread: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/brit...iscussion.html
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Old Mar 16, 18, 3:39 pm
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Now I am tempted to have the following conversation:

Me: Hi, how's it going ?
GA: Good thanks, and you ?
Me: All flighted out tbh, shouldn't say this really but we're doing surveys of how the new boarding process is going... on and off planes all day long !! Be glad to get home tomorrow...
(5 minutes later)
GA: Please remain seated ... we will be boarding by groups today. Please check your boarding pass - we are boarding Group 1 only at this time..
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Old Mar 16, 18, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by mauzac View Post
Boarding at Kyiv yesterday. Two queues set up. One marked Groups 1,2,3. One marked Groups 4 & 5. Boarding starts, and the gate agents call forward groups 4 & 5 to start boarding, leaving all of those waiting in the Group 1 etc. line waiting...

Truly bizarre.

Was tempted to say “Come on.... you’re making this up”

But where BA boarding is concerned, I long ago ceased to be surprised by anything I hear.

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Old Mar 16, 18, 4:49 pm
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BA149 LHR-BEY. Signs for group 1 and2 and 3/4/5. The gate agents called group 1, everyone rushed forward,lots of non English speaker blocking the way because they did not understand the announcement.
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Old Mar 16, 18, 5:56 pm
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Originally Posted by subject2load View Post

Truly bizarre.

Was tempted to say ďCome on.... youíre making this upĒ

But where BA boarding is concerned, I long ago ceased to be surprised by anything I hear.

I wasnít the first person in the Group 1,2,3 line. And in any case, I donít speak Ukrainian. After a short while the man at the front of the queue decided to walk up to the desk. And after a minute or som the gate agent who was standing there, but facing in the other direction, decided to let our line join the Group 4&5 boarders who were already through.
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Old Mar 17, 18, 9:16 pm
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Oh good grief. JFK this evening. 2 x 747s boarding at the same time, from small gates (5&6) right next to each other.

It’s chaos - no other word - due to a complete lack of space as refurb work also going on in the terminal... clear announcements but the lack of space for maybe 500 people is somewhat of an issue ��

Edit - to be fair in the end the gate manager made it very clear that they would board one plane at a time and for every announcement they said the flight number first. They then boarded the first flight very clearly by Group number, and then started my flight with babies and then Group 1. Due to an earlier cancellation I think both flights were completely full (mine had 14 / 14 F seats occupied), I guess my main criticism would have been that there were no staff patrolling the gate area - they were all behind the desks - and maybe if they had the announcer making clear announcements of who should queue where, with another staff member showing which queues were which, that would have helped a lot.

Last edited by ThatT1Feeling; Mar 19, 18 at 7:38 am
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Old Mar 18, 18, 1:23 am
Join Date: Jun 2010
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BA2780 LGW to FNC, groups 1 and 2 to board first announced, but not enforced. So another stampede experience. Boarding by outside steps, so anyone not in the front had to wait on the icy steps until the queue moved forward.
Travelling Club sitting in the bulk head, I find this whole experience stressful, especially as front locker space is tight on LGW flights.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 6:02 am
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MUC-LHR on Friday afternoon: boarding called by groups, but no separate queues established and no enforcement at all. Many of the people boarding ahead of me were Group 3 or 4. By then of course trying to enforce anything would have slowed things down -- if you don't start with a system, anything you do to try and recover will result in the aircraft leaving later than if you allow the scramble to continue.

LHR-IAH on Saturday morning: calls not audible. Signs stayed on "pre-boarding", even after staff had obviously moved on to boarding everyone else. It looked as though anyone who went forward was allowed to board. I asked the BP checker which group(s) were being boarded, but he was in too much of a hurry to answer.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 7:00 am
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LHR-BHD yesterday morning.

Everything laid out and executed as it should be, but as it was an automated gate departure there didn't appear to be an awful lot of BP checking going on. On the two occasions I've used the automated gates, the staff seem quite happy to stand back behind the desk.

BHD-LHR - just the standard all aboard from the lounge, although I did hear an announcement made outside saying they would be boarding by group.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 7:21 am
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GLA-LHR Friday evening, BA1497

Flawless, Group 1 called from lounge in time, tensa barriers in place, lanes split 123 and 45 but gate agent proactively checking for Group 1. Politely asked patrolling agent if the 2 group 5 pax in our group could board with us, informed no problem and she went to podium to let agent there know. Clear announcements throughout.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 5:10 pm
Join Date: Mar 2017
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ZRH-LHR 15/03/18

A rare departure from the E gates where there were two signs, one for 1-3 and one for 4-5.

Huge queues snaked across the terminal as usual despite the pleadings over the tannoy to stay seated until called. The “premium” queue was, as usual, twice the length of the other one.

Eventually boarding began and group 1 was specifically called. The lady who had been stood at the front and came forward first was denied boarding. She did a brief DYKWIA turn about her Bronze status before standing to one side. Group 1 boarded. After that, I don’t know what happened.

It seems old habits are dying hard at ZRH but the staff are at last making an effort to enforce.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 6:41 pm
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Flew out of B gates last week and it was very well done. Also seemed to work well in AMS today. It sounds as though I may have been fortunate, but the last two flights have been spot on as far as boarding was concerned, which was helpful given my subsequent observation in the cabin that we seem to be plumbing new depths when it comes to ridiculously sized cabin baggage and clueless passengers storing their belongings in all sorts of silly and illogical ways.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 7:55 pm
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Leaving from the B gates at T5 last Wednesday, (B35 I think) 3 lanes. 1, 2&3, 4&5. We were asked to queue up at the relevant sections - I was group 2. There were a lot of SSSS and the gate crew were actively seeking them out and sending them downstairs, they were also sending those in the wrong sections to their respective lines.
Eventually Group 1 were called and they were all boarded before groups 2 and 3 allowed to proceed - I didnít see what happened next but as there was one line left I assume it went to the same pattern (waiting for 2 & 3 to clear before calling the remaining passengers forward).
It really was by the book and worked well.
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Old Mar 18, 18, 8:43 pm
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February 24th - LHR to DUB. I was group 3. Group 1 called. Group 2 called. Then general call for Group 4 & 5. Group 3 was skipped. I went ahead and went to through the Group 1&2 line. My other three flights (SAN-LHR on Feb 23; DUB-LHR and LHR-SAN on Mar 9) all boarded OK. Just the usual of people in all groups getting up and crowding around the entrance to the boarding lines as soon as they think the call to start boarding the first groups is going to happen.
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Old Mar 19, 18, 6:18 am
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I do not think that this can work at some (if not all) gates at LGW due to the architecture. I know that sounds bizzare but bear with me. Gate 26 comes to mind. The check in desk is as you enter the Lounge - thus there is nothing to stop anyone and everyone crowding the door to access the jetway. So, although the entrance is separated, the boarding gate is not. Added to this, that on the ALC flights, it is not will there be wheelchairs, but how many will there be? Now, don't misunderstand me, I am not criticising them (it could be me one day), but the system is not really geared to sharp turnarounds.

So after casting a whistful eye at my two (conforming) pieces of hand luggage, she asked " do I really need to have that with me" rather than make some cute reply I merely nodded. Give her her due, she was highly proactive in getting bags checked in the sizer

I took up my place by the door marvelling that so many people were blighted by this foul early departure. Eventually, the door was opened and as there are a good 50 metres plus between the desk and the door, there was a queue of everyone. As there were but two people manning the desk, on poor lady was left to try and separate the Precious from the Blues. One individual with a germanic sounding accent was trying to get past other people and then encountered me. We got to the aircraft, and it felt like a bit of a muddle.

If BA are going to make this work, at LGW those desks will have to be moved back nearer the boarding door as it is very difficult to impliment.

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Old Mar 19, 18, 6:30 am
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
If BA are going to make this work, at LGW those desks will have to be moved back nearer the boarding door as it is very difficult to implement.
Yes, and doubly so for gate 26 - which is half way along the main long pier at LGW - since that can be used for Domestic and Irish departures too. Those passengers need to clear the biometric check and realistically that can only be done at the gate entrance - it holds up boarding badly even in this position. If someone doesn't clear for biometrics (or has lost their boarding pass) then the BA agent needs to intervene.

T3 also has a similar arrangement for many (but not all) of their gates and LCY lower level gates suffer from a lack of space, as do some MAN gates, and one or two EDI gates are around corners. So in some cases with the best will in the world there are limitations with no easy answers.
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