This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Airlines and passengers alike are constantly trying to streamline the headache otherwise known as the boarding process, sometimes with science, and other times with psychology. In 2014, popular TV show Mythbusters tested out the WILMA (Window, Middle, Aisle) method, among several others. The overall consensus seems to be that the most efficient boarding process also happens to be the one we all hate the most.

Just one year after American Airlines overhauled its boarding processes (with a fair amount of pushback), United is making its own attempt to improve the process by testing out a new boarding method at a handful of select airports.

United’s current boarding process involves a complicated mess of five lines at each gate, each marked for Groups 1-5. Human nature seems to go into overdrive at United gates, where the sight of one or two other passengers in line is enough to drive most people to begin queuing up well before gate agents even come close to announcing boarding time. (To be fair, this happens with pretty much any airline, anywhere.)

No doubt in an effort to curb this tendency, here is, in its own words, what UA is doing:

Simplified lanes

You will see some new boarding lane signs in the gate area that will guide you through the boarding process. There will be two lanes: to begin, Group 1 will board through Lane 1 and Group 2 will board through Lane 2. The remaining Groups 3-5 will then board through Lane 2 when called, and Groups 1 and 2 may continue to board through Lane 1. We ask that you wait until your group has been called before lining up.

Changes to boarding groups

The current boarding order may change for select flights, and our gate agents will guide you through the new process. Pre-boarding will still be available to select customers. Please wait until pre-boarding or your MileagePlus Premier® status or group is called before lining up. In the meantime, please make yourself comfortable, and we’ll let you know when we’re ready to board your group.

How will you benefit?

  • No need to line up before your group is called: Simplified lanes with new signs will allow you to relax at the gate or within the airport longer.
  • Smaller group sizes for select flights: With fewer customers in your group, you’ll experience less crowding while boarding the aircraft.
  • More efficient boarding: Following priority boarding groups, we’ll board customers sitting in window seats first and then middle and aisle seats.
  • Less crowding: Fewer lines will create more space and easier access to the boarding door for customers exiting the plane from the previous flight and during pre-boarding.

Let’s hope the airline’s new process helps everyone relax a little bit at the gate.

No news yet on which airports are testing out the new boarding process. However, the airline says it will collect feedback through interviews at the airports, and passengers may receive an email survey after their flight is over. 

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.