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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 May 9, 18, 11:42 am
  #676  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Las Vegas
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Absolute shambles of an experience at T3 yesterday for BA275 LHR - LAS. Having had a true premium experience with a limo transfer from T5 off my flight from Manchester, I had time for glass of champagne in the CX lounge. I received the "Gate Open" notification on the BA app at 1540 and then at 1553 I had the "Boarding Commenced" notification so I headed to the gate. When I arrived, boarding had not commenced in spite of the app and the monitors saying so. Another passenger (travelling in 1A) was very peeved and demanded to speak to Special Services. Anyway, when they did finally start boarding it was First Class only.

Being Gold / Group 1 I was in the same group so went to the gate and had my passport and BP checked and was then told to wait. First Class were boarded with absolute no explanation why. Again, another case of BA was going off script. I ended up speaking to the Aircraft Departure Manager ( at least I think that was her title - she would be the TAM at T5) and she explained that because the aircraft was late on stand they were loading the catering and therefore couldn't board via door 2 as the right-hand side doors were open. Once the doors were closed they could board cabins other than F.

Now, I have absolutely no problem with this. But it needs to be communicated. There was none, and hence expectations can't be managed effectively. The concept of group boarding is excellent and my other flights on this trip were all handled well. However, it needs to be applied consistently to be meaningful and when BA diverges from the standard it needs to communicate why it's doing so.
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Old May 10, 18, 10:36 am
  #677  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Bit of a mess at EDI this evening. Gate 10 has been a problem previously with the Priority line being directed straight onto boarding check desks which means crossing the main concourse path, while lesser groups use the gate seating area to huddle for boarding.

New idea is to have space for about 10 pax along edge of carpeted gate zone, but the 30+ pax then form a switch back totally blocking thoroughfare.

Net result is the tail end of the switch back is right next to gate desk, and step forwards with assisted boarding while head of G123 queue waits until called. And I was in that group that went forwards. It did appear that most of the mob were G1, so kind of worked but at expense of those in proper position. I was through the doors before G1 was even called and did ask the chap who did my final check if he thought this was all OK, but not surprisingly not a deep conversation.
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Old May 14, 18, 7:29 am
  #678  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Pleased to note the 'group' signs at the B gates yesterday had moved to 'above head height'. Makes life a lot easier when trying to board later and you can't work out which queue is which.
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Old May 14, 18, 8:04 am
  #679  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
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BA278 SJC–LHR on Thursday had no group signs up until five minutes before boarding started. Once they put them up, people started queuing in an orderly fashion and boarding was perfectly by the book and stricly by group numbers. Worked flawlessly at this point.

While I suspect the late posting of the group signs was not intentional, it did actually seem to improve the waiting situation as people just stood around in a relaxed manner and did not form the long queues that easily block the space around the gate long before boarding started.
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Old May 14, 18, 8:17 am
  #680  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Surrey, UK
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Groups 1 and 2 announced at the same time at VIE in Saturday- which is something that seems to be happening more and more frequently at outstations.

Although compared to the mess that is the gate security there, boarding was a breeze.
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Old May 14, 18, 8:55 am
  #681  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ottawa, Canada
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Just standing at A15 about to board flight for GOT. They are making repeated announcements about groups, as well as having quite well raised signs. See some people in group 2 line realising they have Group 5 on BPs, so saunter over. System may not be perfect yet, but at least they are trying to get it to work!
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Old May 14, 18, 10:05 am
  #682  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Originally Posted by jfallesen View Post
BA278 SJCLHR on Thursday had no group signs up until five minutes before boarding started. Once they put them up, people started queuing in an orderly fashion and boarding was perfectly by the book and stricly by group numbers. Worked flawlessly at this point.

While I suspect the late posting of the group signs was not intentional, it did actually seem to improve the waiting situation as people just stood around in a relaxed manner and did not form the long queues that easily block the space around the gate long before boarding started.
It was a similar situation on the 278 on Saturday too. Agent came into the lounge and announced that the BA flight had started boarding. Left the lounge about 5 minutes later and went to the gate to find boarding hadn't started, nor were the signs out. Waited about another 15 minutes for boarding to actually start, which was also very orderly on a full flight.
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Old May 14, 18, 10:18 am
  #683  
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Originally Posted by LondonCanuck View Post
Just standing at A15 about to board flight for GOT. They are making repeated announcements about groups, as well as having quite well raised signs.
Elevated signs (i.e. at eye level) are essential. Lower-level ones just get completely obscured by the inevitable mass of humanity. Glad to hear someone has got the right idea.
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Old May 14, 18, 10:56 am
  #684  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: London - SW4
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BA 292 - IAD-LHR May 2018. Groups 1 and 2 called perhaps 5 seconds apart. Not a huge deal since they board from different gates, just took a bit of the DYKWIA off of us in group 1 when we got to the jetty (which the group 2 gate is closer to!) :P
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Old May 14, 18, 11:48 am
  #685  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: UK
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28/04/18, BA270, LHR-LAS was shambolic, I've not flown BA for a while so this was my first experience of group boarding. We arrived at the gate when the status was 'Go to gate' and there were people everywhere. During the time we were standing around no announcements were made and there was just one staff member policing one of the entrances letting groups 1 and 2 through. I didn't even realise there were different entrances for different groups until we followed the masses and saw them, I'd echo other comments that they need to be much higher. Once they'd boarded the first group who I imagine were the priorities it was then just a free for all as there continued to be no announcements at any point.

The return, BA271 on 02/05/18 was much better, announcements were made and it all went smoothly. Shows it can be done!
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Old May 19, 18, 6:59 am
  #686  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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MAN gate 142 at present.
Two queues, one for groups 1-3 and the other for groups 4-5. Worked well.

Last edited by xenole; May 19, 18 at 8:26 am
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Old May 19, 18, 8:24 am
  #687  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold, A3 *Gold
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I’ve had very good group boarding experiences so far but flying to PHX from T3 yesterday wasn’t great. They did try to board by group but the gate area (one of the ones with boarding pass check then waiting room) just isn’t big enough for a fairly full 747 so the entrance to the gate was clogged with people. I was sitting only 10 metres or so away from the door and they allowed a minute or so for group 1 but I hadn’t managed to fight my way through by the time they called group 2 so I ended up queuing on the bridge behind 20 or so group 2s.

They could have asked people to stay away from the door to let group 1 through but honestly the holding pen wasn’t big enough for them to have anywhere else to go...

Last edited by RobDBA; May 19, 18 at 9:31 am
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Old May 19, 18, 8:42 am
  #688  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Boarding 1-2 or 1-2-3 together makes the whole thing pointless, TBH, but at outstations it can be the norm both because of the airport space and the less than interesting local staff. It effectively means no change from how things were before, or even a bit worse, as for example in PSA they used to call CE first, then priorities, now they just call 1-2-3.
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Old May 23, 18, 2:34 am
  #689  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: SYD
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Departing SYD yesterday signage was Groups 1&2 and Groups 3-5 on top of waist high posts. Arrived just they were finalising boarding wheel chairs. Within 30 secs they announced Group 1, had to weave through a bunch of people griping about not being their turn, person in front of me was rejected by GA for being Group 2. Sheen he asked who was Group 1 the response was First Class (no I wasn't in First unfortunately). He happily accepted that and stepped to the side.

At SIN, similar signs. Nice clear announcements but then absolutely no checks of boarding passes despite the member of staff that announced Group 1 standing next to the door leading to the air bridge.

This reinforces my belief that BA if they want to even pretend that their procedures are on place for a reason should invest in mystery shoppers/passengers (I doubt they would follow views from FT as most of the posts will always be service failings and a proper mystery shopper/pax provides the positive feedback as well which in a correctly set up company results in a reward for staff if they meet certain metrics including over a period of time rewarding repeat positive feedback). I know it won't happen as they seem to behave like an ostrich.
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Old May 23, 18, 3:41 am
  #690  
 
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Diver Boy, it seems clear to me that BA staff performance ratings / bonuses are driven more by on-time departure than adherence to Group Boarding process. While that remains the case, proper Group Boarding will always be a poor cousin to getting the aircraft away...
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