United Airlines to Change Boarding Process, Add More Boarding Lanes

By Paul Riegler on 7 January 2013
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A United gate at Tokyo's Narita airport

A United gate at Tokyo’s Narita airport

United Airlines announced it is making multiple changes to the boarding process to provide a more consistent experience for passengers as well as to address crowding issues at the gate.

Starting on January 8, with full deployment on January 10, the number of boarding groups will be reduced from seven to five (not including pre-boarding).   Following pre-boarding (which covers passengers with disabilities, Global Services members, and uniformed military personnel) will be Group 1, which includes Global Services, Premier 1K, and Premier Platinum members, as well as first- and business-class passengers.

Group 2 consists of Premier Gold, Star Gold, Premier Silver, and Star Silver elite-level members, as well as MileagePlus Presidential Plus and Club cardholders and MileagePlus Explorer and Awards cardholders.  Following Group 2 is general boarding, and includes Groups 3-5.

In the March and April timeframe, United will redo its gate layout and add more boarding lanes, in some cases adding one lane for each group.  This gives both Group 1 and Group 2 their own dedicated lanes.  United has been testing this concept at a variety of airports including Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.


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