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United announced plans to update their current boarding process and reduce the number of different groups (which no one seems to follow anyway!). Ever since the merger with Continental, it seems like United is constantly changing how they are boarding planes and the amount of groups they have. Below is the new boarding procedure with only 5 groups.

Simplified Boarding Groups (January 8-9, with full implementation January 10): Starting today, United plans to reduce the number of boarding groups from 7 to 5 (plus pre-boarding). The new boarding group priority will be:

  • Pre-Boarding: Customers with disabilities, then Global Services and uniformed military personnel
  • Group 1: Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum, premium cabins
  • Group 2: Premier Gold, Star Gold, Premier Silver, Star Silver, MileagePlus Presidential Plus and Club cardholders, MileagePlus Explorer and Awards cardholders
  • Groups 3-5: General boarding
United has new groups for their boarding process.
United has new groups for their boarding process.

Worth noting: If you are traveling on January 9 or 10, and checked in to your flight before United made the change, you can refresh your online boarding pass to see your new boarding group. You can also go to a kiosk to reprint your boarding pass.

Revised Gate Layout with Premium Bypass Lanes (March/April): United will add more boarding lanes – in many cases, one for each boarding group. At nearly every gate, their Premier Access boarding will be comprised of two separate lanes – enabling a dedicated line for groups 1 and 2 respectively. Some of you have already seen this concept, as they are testing this new layout at several gates (in many cases with temporary signage). Below are some of the gates where we are testing this layout:

  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) – B8, C16 and C18 (adding two more at a later date)
  • Cleveland (CLE) – C27 and C3
  • Denver (DEN) – B23 and B32
  • Houston (IAH) – C40 and E2
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – 70B and 73
  • New York/Newark (EWR) – C123 and C131
  • San Francisco (SFO) – 73 and 80
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD) – C19 and D7

Hat Tip –Flyertalk 

For comparison, Delta boards all their entire First Class/BusinessElite cabin before inviting elites to board; American boards First Class, Uniformed Military, AAdvantage Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members first. What are your opinions on an airline’s boarding process? Should all of First Class board first, or do elite members deserve to board at the same time regardless of what cabin they are seated in?

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