United Airlines to change its boarding process…AGAIN for 2013
Mergers are confusing, and United’s boarding process is no exception. For the FIFTH time in less than two years United is changing its boarding process starting January 9, 2013.
Before, it was a dysfunctional mess of 7 zones (8 really when you count the pre-boarding), and United credit card holders who saw TV ads for priority boarding were given Group 4 of 7. Not exactly meeting expectations and led to lots of confusion at the gate.
So here’s what they’re changing it to:
- 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
credit card holders will be a little happier – they move up from Group 4 to Group 2.
But Gold and Silver Premier members will be disappointed that they will have no higher priority than someone who holds a $95 per year credit card, while they give United 25,000 – 74,999 miles a year worth of flying.
The Group 2 boarding for the United credit cards makes them appear closer to the ‘priority’ of American and Delta’s credit cards. Their cards offer ‘Group 1′ boarding, but that in reality means the 3rd group or more thanks to other un numbered groups for first class and other premium flyers.
As for the physical boarding itself, United will roll out priority bypass lanes at most gates. That means Group 1 and Group 2 will each have a lane they can use for priority boarding, and to ‘cut’ the line if they show up late. Groups 3-5 will also have their own lanes to make things less confusing, and more familiar to Southwest flyers.