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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 31, 18, 1:59 pm
Join Date: Mar 2014
Programs: BAEC Gold, IHG Spire Elite
Posts: 262
SJC-LHR BA278 on last week.

Groups were queueing in an orderly fashion. I was travelling with two colleagues, only one of us (not me) was a GCH. Group 1 was short-ish, Group 2 was very long: The SJC-LHR route seems dominated by status holding folks, all the Silicon Valley folks on business trips.

Group 1 was correctly called first, and had a gate-agent pre-checking that passports matched boarding passes, which always makes boarding faster.

We managed to sneak 2 Silvers in with our Gold in Group 1: it was a bit cheeky: it was noticed and but we got a pass from the gate agent pre-checking passports when the GCH said: "They're with me".
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Old Apr 2, 18, 4:31 am
Join Date: Nov 2015
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BA459 MAD-LHR today 02/04.

Very well organised, clear signage and announcements, Group 1 called first (even before specials !) so we spent <5 mins in the gate area.

No particular issue with overhead space as far as I could see, just about to leave to will post more later.
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Old Apr 2, 18, 5:37 am
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Oxfordshire, UK
Programs: BAEC Silver, EY Plat, IHG & Accor Plat...
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BA269 LHR-LAX 25/02 C-Pier gate

Conclusion - having 3 /4/ 5 queues just multiplies the gate-lice effect by giving more classes of passenger the opportunity to exert their sense of self-importance over their fellow travellers. BA is also culpable - the queue signage is not visible in a crowd.

In more detail - when I arrived at the gate, many pax were jammed up around the heads of all the queues, and boarding had not even started. This is an A380 service, to give a sense of volume. This was only my second BA flight this year (the other a weekend service to ABZ back in January) so I didn't at first appreciate why there was such a packed scene at the gate considering boarding had not been announced. I was wondering if my flight was cancelled, delayed, or a change of operating aircraft ? I could not see the signs leading to the different Priority Queues, because of the crowd. Then I remembered what I had read about it on Flyertalk and so I was able to guess at the boarding arrangements. When the priority boarding announcements started they were not much help, as I couldn't see which queue I was supposed to be in. When boarded pax started moving to the aircraft, I could then guess which queue to get at the back of, but it wasn't moving at the rate the gate was processing pax...then I realised that Priority 3/4/5 people were just standing around in the middle of what should have been the Priority 2 queue , and I had to push past this form of gate lice - in my opinion, they were clearly hanging to the side of the lower priority queues hoping to push in. Overall - the "premium pax " experience is diluted in execution, and becomes more of an "I escaped the crush ahead of others" experience.

I would add that these crowded scenes and behaviours don't help the elderly/infirm/toddler-carrying to get boarded first. Furthermore, any try-hard who is rejected at Priority 1 or 2 cant really get to the back of the other queues in these circumstances. But hey, if the results are that Mr Cruz increases the on-time departure of his flights by 1% as a result, who cares what I think.... (OK....sample size of 1 !)
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Old Apr 2, 18, 7:50 am
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Basel
Posts: 382
FRA-LHR-HKG all worked as expected, both at FRA and LHR. Reverse also true at HKG and LHR.

What surprised me (having not noticed this happen previously) was that when arriving at Frankfurt, CE passengers were let off first and the bus departed with Y passengers directed to the bus behind. Nice touch.
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Old Apr 2, 18, 8:09 am
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: London, CPH, ARN or HEL
Programs: Mucci Silver, BA GFL / GGL, HH Diamond, Radisson Gold, Hertz Gold 5*
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Still continues to be consistently good, with policing, at CPH, despite the tight gate area. Clear announcements and, if some people enter the tensabarriers early, their BPs are checked to ensure that they are in the first group permitted in that queue.

Clearly, much like CK on AA, I'd be delighted if they boarded GGLs first (pulls up the ladder - and ducks )
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Old Apr 3, 18, 1:18 am
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: London
Programs: BAEC Silver; Hilton Gold; SPG Gold
Posts: 213
Departing from Gate 19

Clearly laid out separate lanes for groups 1, 2 and 3, all with a short row of seats in them. A fourth lane was marked out for groups 4 and 5.
GA called groups 1-3 to board and a few minutes later removed the tensa barrier for G1. A cheeky passenger at the head of the G2 lane decided to remove the barrier for that lane. His action was not spotted by the GA as I was passing through. Perhaps just being keen...
Usual full flight with most pax travelling HBO. Boarding complete about 8 minutes before SOBT and departed about four mins later than scheduled.
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Old Apr 3, 18, 4:31 am
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: London, Strathaven
Programs: BA (Gold). Various other statuses
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Last night GLA-LCY. Groups 1,2 and 3 all in one queue and all called at the same time. I think this meant half the plane boarded in the same group!
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Old Apr 3, 18, 7:44 am
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: FL
Programs: AA Plat, HH
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My Group Boarding experience on a MIA-LHR-TGL-LHR-MIA itinerary last week

March 23rd, BA 208 MIA-LHR: Well organized Group Boarding, Group 1 followed by Group 2 and so on. Fantastic job by the gate crew despite the main check-in system being down and them having to use a backup
March 24th BA 986 LHR-TGL: Groups 1 and 2 in single queue, called at same time, clear announcements and well managed
March 31st, BA 981 TGL-LHR: Groups 1, 2 through separate queue and good enforcement of groups
March 31st BA 209 LHR-MIA at Gate 3 (Term 3): Utter Disaster!! Boarding passes and documents checked before entering the waiting areas split into two rooms (Gates 3A for Upper deck and 3B/C for lower deck and First Class) for boarding the A380. A single agent at Gate 3A who made announcement to board Group 1 and then just moved to Gate 3B/C with no one manning Gate 3A. A rush of people boarding through Gate 3A without a gate agent in sight, and with no regard to boarding group. Finally a gate agent shows up and just asked people to board. I asked if we were not boarding by group and she says to me " Not at this gate Sir". It was utter bedlam and not at all well managed.
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Old Apr 10, 18, 5:30 am
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: London
Programs: BAEC Gold
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A9 now has three lines for boarding, Group 1, Groups 2-3 and Groups 4-5. A welcome development I think.
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Old Apr 10, 18, 7:47 am
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Four experiences from the Greek Orthodox Easter break:

Friday, April 6
BA 641 ATH-LHR - Group boarding enforced, seemed to work perfectly. Group 2s who were in the line held up until all Group 1s had boarded
BA 838 LHR-DUB - Group boarding worked well

Monday, April 9
BA 829 DUB-LHR - Late flight, no signs of group boarding - got to the gate and there was a huge line, asked if Group 1 was boarding and was told "Just come along then, just don't stop."
BA 634 LHR-ATH - priority to those checking roller bags on the full flight, then Group 1 - B43 was the gate - separate lines for Groups 1, 2, 3, 4-5 (I think were together)
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Old Apr 10, 18, 8:26 am
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Berlin
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Originally Posted by NoFrillsFlyer View Post
My Group Boarding experience on a MIA-LHR-TGL-LHR-MIA itinerary last week...
When did BA start flying to Tagula, Papua New Guinea? 😊
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Old Apr 10, 18, 10:00 am
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Peterborough, UK
Programs: BA Silver; Avis P+; Global Entry
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PMI-LHR Monday April 9th

Gate agents announced group boarding then just let everyone on, a pure mess
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Old Apr 10, 18, 10:11 am
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by aidy View Post
PMI-LHR Monday April 9th

Gate agents announced group boarding then just let everyone on, a pure mess

At least they gave it a mention. In passing, as it were.
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Old Apr 10, 18, 11:56 am
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Balham - Gateway to The South
Programs: BA Silver, Aadvantage now dormant
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Last week at JFK in the club lounge, group 1 were called- probably 2-3 mins later they called ‘everyone else’ - I assume it was just announced in the lounge so effectively group 2.
At the gate we didn’t have to wait and went straight through. I thought it was handled very well.
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Old Apr 10, 18, 12:21 pm
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: US/Europe
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 923
BWI-LHR the other day fine - plenty of space for the tensa barriers to separate the different groups.

In total contrast, LHR-VIE and total and utter shambles. As soon as the gate (T3 gate 11) doors were opened a Mexican-wave of passengers stood up and surrounded the door making it impossible for any lower-numbered group passengers to get to the door. Not helped by no check at the door as to whether the pax were in the correct group anyway.
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