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Last week United Airlines said it’s planning to test changes to its boarding process to simplify it and address complaints.
The tests started this week at Chicago O’Hare Airport, and here’s how one of the tests is configured according to a report from a flyer who experienced the test this week on FlyerTalk:
This test accomplishes a few things:
What it doesn’t do is simplify or reduce the number of groups. In fact there could very well be more groups, and that’s confirmed in an article in the Chicago Tribune which notes an example of possibly having 7 distinct groups.
The idea, United says in the article, is to discourage lining up 15 or 20 minutes before it’s time to board and the tension that creates. And by having fewer lanes there’s no where for later groups to try to line up while the earlier groups are boarding. Whether that actually cuts down on people standing is part of what’s being tested – and we’re not optimistic it will do much to curb that behavior since people are still paranoid about having to gate check a bag.
The demotion here is for United MileagePlus credit card holders, who would no longer board alongside Premier Gold level fliers, and instead board after them.
And there’s no sign yet that families with strollers or car seats can once again board before the masses, like they can on Delta.
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