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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 20, 18, 4:43 am
  #526  
 
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People tend to react better when they know WHY they have to do something.
  • Go through the metal detector to "keep the airways safe".
  • Click here to pay for your ticket "so you can fly".
  • Get to your gate in advance "so you won't miss your flight"
  • Stow your bag in the overhead bin "so we can take off".
  • etc.
If someone could come up with a really good reason WHY a Group 4 passenger should stand in the Group 4 queue, it would smooth out the rough spots in Group Boarding.

Currently, no reason is given, which encourages people to think of the default reasons: Group 4 is scum and only Group One Matters. Results are less than stellar.

Suggestions:
  • Remain seated so that you can "relax as long as possible".
  • Remain seated to "minimize the amount of time you stand in line".
  • Remain seated so you can "board smarter".
Don't just tell people to do something. Tell them WHY.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 4:51 am
  #527  
 
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Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
People tend to react better when they know WHY they have to do something.
  • Go through the metal detector to "keep the airways safe".
  • Click here to pay for your ticket "so you can fly".
  • Get to your gate in advance "so you won't miss your flight"
  • Stow your bag in the overhead bin "so we can take off".
  • etc.
If someone could come up with a really good reason WHY a Group 4 passenger should stand in the Group 4 queue, it would smooth out the rough spots in Group Boarding.

Currently, no reason is given, which encourages people to think of the default reasons: Group 4 is scum and only Group One Matters. Results are less than stellar.

Suggestions:
  • Remain seated so that you can "relax as long as possible".
  • Remain seated to "minimize the amount of time you stand in line".
  • Remain seated so you can "board smarter".
Don't just tell people to do something. Tell them WHY.
Do tell people to do something... AND tell them why
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Old Mar 20, 18, 5:06 am
  #528  
 
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Originally Posted by DYKWIA View Post
But initially, it seemed the group boarding helped speed up the boarding process So I don't get your point.
In my experience the boarding process is much slower now (experience of LHR-CDG route over the last couple of months every week). The issue is the volume of baggage that the gate staff have to pressure passengers into carrying in the hold. Plus, once entering the aircraft, the queue almost grinds to a halt as passengers occupy the aisle whilst removing a dozen items from their bags and suitcases to use during the 50-minute flight.

Then there is the issue of a lack of locker space due to the over-generous baggage allowance when the groups 1 and 2 take up pretty much all of the oerhead locker space leaving all other passengers standing in the aisle wondering what to do.

The new boarding process is simply designed to make the 'DYKWIA's' feel more smug and those who are groups 4 and 5 feel even more disliked by BA. It's just BA gentrifying air travel, in my humble opinion. Plus a large amont of sour grapes on my part.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 5:50 am
  #529  
 
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Originally Posted by rumbataz View Post
The new boarding process is simply designed to make the 'DYKWIA's' feel more smug and those who are groups 4 and 5 feel even more disliked by BA. It's just BA gentrifying air travel, in my humble opinion. Plus a large amont of sour grapes on my part.
How is being in group 4-5 any different from being in the 'normal' queue?
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Old Mar 20, 18, 5:56 am
  #530  
 
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Originally Posted by MPH1980 View Post
How is being in group 4-5 any different from being in the 'normal' queue?
There is no normal queue. You queue up depending on the price of your ticket and/or status. The Elites, the fairly-Elites and the trademen's entrance! It has no effect on the speed of the boarding process whatsoever. As I said, it's simply BA's way of in-your-face gentrification of air travel.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 6:04 am
  #531  
 
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Originally Posted by rumbataz View Post
There is no normal queue. You queue up depending on the price of your ticket and/or status. The Elites, the fairly-Elites and the trademen's entrance! It has no effect on the speed of the boarding process whatsoever. As I said, it's simply BA's way of in-your-face gentrification of air travel.
My point is that before groups we had 'priority' and 'normal' and it was called by row number for long haul.

Now we have group 1,2,3 and group 4,5 and no need to row number call.

What's the difference for those in the normal queue (now group 4,5)?
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Old Mar 20, 18, 6:30 am
  #532  
 
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The previous queuing method was, broadly speaking, tier-status holders and everyone else. It's now demarcated even further.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 7:23 am
  #533  
 
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Originally Posted by MPH1980 View Post
What's the difference for those in the normal queue (now group 4,5)?
If someone from group 4 decides to board early, the system imposes no penalty. If someone from group 4 decides to queue up with their correct group, the system offers no reward.

So, when a group 4 person hears the gate agent implore that group to remain seated, surely the thought immediately pops up: "Why should I? What's in it for me?"

At airlines where group boarding works well (Southwest (WN) in the USA, United), they designed the space so that everyone can queue up at the same time. You merely need to get into the correct queue. If you try to board out of sequence (i.e. you try to board in group 1 but your ticket says group 3) they won't accept your boarding pass. So there's a "penalty" for boarding wrong, and presumably a "reward" (the lack of delays) for boarding correctly.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 7:31 am
  #534  
 
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Am I alone in finding that boarding is much quicker under the new system than it was under the old? It isn't perfectly implemented every time by any means but in about 12 flights over the last few months I've personally been on board very quickly and the queue of people in the aisle seems to clear faster than before. When it isn't implemented well it is in places that also used to be bad under the old system (Brussels I'm looking at you) I don't recall pushing back late despite boarding starting on time at all under the new system but this was fairly regular over the last couple of years before this. It will be interesting if BA release the stats on this.

(Note that I'm not comparing to 3 or 4 years ago prior to HBO and densification, but compared to the 12 months or so before the change I see a clear and noticeable improvement)

Last edited by RobDBA; Mar 20, 18 at 8:43 am
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Old Mar 20, 18, 10:01 am
  #535  
 
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I think new boarding system works really well for the dozen or so flights that I have experienced it... Even worked at the bus gate, although still got on a bus, but at least the first bus :-)
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Old Mar 20, 18, 10:46 am
  #536  
 
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Group boarding at ABZ to LHR yesterdayb was in place, but it took ages (25min+) to board everyone.
We then connected to AA in LHR where group boarding was used. strictly enforced at gate, with folks being turned back and higher groups being told to keep away from gate area, which they did. Boarding seemed to be quite quick for a fully loaded A330.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 1:14 pm
  #537  
 
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FWIW

For what it's worth,

Being Edinburgh based and frequenting LHR with transit connections means enduring the boarding process at least twice on any given journey. I have experienced group boarding at , Edi, Lhr, Ath and all went smoothly. Experienced Ath late January and again this afternoon. The gate area there permits clear lines for Groups 1&2 / 3-5 with barriers along the length of the line of sufficient length for the usual number who wish to hover near the gate rather than remain seated.
T 5 A on the other hand lacks the space for such organisation and is generally chaotic by comparison. That said I do believe it works better simply by having group numbers. Previously gate announcements listing the range of qualifiers to board by ticket type or BA status or One World status or any other seemed beyond the attention span of many. How oftentimes have you overheard " What was that? Was that us? Dunno, let's just go up anyway"...

Like I said Fwiw.
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Old Mar 20, 18, 10:25 pm
  #538  
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Originally Posted by CloudCoder View Post
If someone from group 4 decides to board early, the system imposes no penalty. If someone from group 4 decides to queue up with their correct group, the system offers no reward.

So, when a group 4 person hears the gate agent implore that group to remain seated, surely the thought immediately pops up: "Why should I? What's in it for me?"

At airlines where group boarding works well (Southwest (WN) in the USA, United), they designed the space so that everyone can queue up at the same time. You merely need to get into the correct queue. If you try to board out of sequence (i.e. you try to board in group 1 but your ticket says group 3) they won't accept your boarding pass. So there's a "penalty" for boarding wrong, and presumably a "reward" (the lack of delays) for boarding correctly.
Mouais.
Yesterday at DFW, boarding an AA domestic, the two ladies in front of me were group 7 and went when group 1 was called, without the GA batting an eyelid. So airlines which usually manage the process quite well are not as strict as we would think/like.
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Old Mar 21, 18, 1:54 am
  #539  
 
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Originally Posted by PUCCI GALORE View Post
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.
So what you really mean is it CAN be done but BA needs to think through the end to end process and either move the desk or deploy more staff. Both of which would cost money, which no doubt is problematic.

We benefited from this last year going to Orlando. As soon as the doors opened we boarded despite being bronzes in Y. No staff there and we were more or less first on board. Sounds like we might still be in business this year.
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Old Mar 21, 18, 8:28 am
  #540  
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Originally Posted by simons1 View Post


So what you really mean is it CAN be done but BA needs to think through the end to end process and either move the desk or deploy more staff. Both of which would cost money, which no doubt is problematic.


Exactly so. It seems to work at Heathrow, but Gatwick is a much older design. However, if they had enough staff at the gate - and two people were manning (policing) the door - it strikes me the should work perfectly well.
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