Announcing a new, easier boarding process for United Economy travelers
When boarding for a flight, many of us have experienced crowded aisles and having to climb over other customers to get to our seat.
United wants to change all that by implementing a new United Economy® boarding process on all United, United Express® and TedSM flights. This new process will board elite members seated in United Economy first (Seating Area 1), followed by United Economy customers with window seats (Seating Area 2). Customers with middle seats will board third (Seating Area 3) and those with aisle seats (Seating Area 4) will board fourth.
The full boarding sequence is as follows:
Preboarding—Global ServicesSM members and special needs customers
Mileage Plus elite members
United Economy window seats
United Economy middle seats
United Economy aisle seats
The new boarding process will allow planes to be boarded quicker and easier to help get flights in the air on time.
ZKEOJ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2005, 1052 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3199 times:
sounds logical, but I doubt it will work. If there is a couple sitting next to each other, they usually want to board together. With UA's new system they will be separated for the boarding process, which might upset people - especially inexperienced flyers.
I think the system to board from the rear is better. It doesn't alleviate the "climbing over", but at least it keeps the aisles a bit more free... And then, you always have those people who board last, no matter where they sit.
It's tricky, and if people with section 2 come later and want to board with their partner of section 2, do you want to tell them: Sorry, your boading call was earlier, you can't come along....
727EMflyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3174 times:
This is nothing new, they have been doing this for 2 years or so IIRC. Anyway, for at least 1!
Actually the process seems to work rather well. You have a lot less confusion in the boarding area as there are many fewer announcements to make... especially on 763 and larger aircraft! The gate agents seem to be very good at letting each group get into the jetway (at least) before calling the next group. As the seating area is very clearly marked on the boarding pass and the process is well explained in announcements there is no mad rush to the door as the first few rows are called. The agents are human and I have never seen them force a family or pair of travelers to split: the highest boarding area will apply to a whole family (the computers may even mark all the cards together if booked on the same itinerary, i don't know though...).
And I think most of all, the antsy passengers are put in their place: at the back of the aircraft and the back of the line! Think about it... while all airlines give priority to their elites, normally inviting them to board whenever, UA pretty much keeps them seperate (in actual practice the elites are seating area 1). The premier crowd knows how to get aboard, get stowed, and get seated... and they get to do so without the hassle of seldom-flyer who gets lost at row 12 looking for row 21.
And a final point, it might make sense to board groups of rows to the rear, but you are very likely to have someone take the aisle seat, only to need to get up and step into the row to let the window-guy in. Now the ailse is jammed. In reality if I stop at row 10 to put my stuff in the bin, even on a singe aisle jet someone can squeeze past me to get to row 25 (especially since his butt most likely won't brush some aisle-guy's face!).
Bottom line, I've flown some thirty segments with UA this year, and only one twice do I recall departing late. Those times were due to waiting for connecting pax to arrive from tight connections or waiting for all the baggage to be loaded. One other flight was slow, but on time, but I blame that one on 3/4 of the pax having no clue what an airplane was. (Some vacation group, i'm sure, headed to HNL on a 772... I swear the ones who didn't step into the starboard aisle after being directed by the FA and stop to ponder exactly how far back their row was (which they had forgotten anyway so had to look up) for a full minute... all had decided that the exit row seat by the 2R door was the best in the house and they would take it (until shooed away by a FA or their companion who had pondered just how far back their assigned seat was!))
Quoting ZKEOJ (Reply 1): sounds logical, but I doubt it will work. If there is a couple sitting next to each other, they usually want to board together.
Way back LH introduced to print zones on boarding passes, but couples turned out to have different zones on their passes. So, nobody really cared about "boarding by zone number" and none of my recent flights made use of "boarding by zones" (btw, I usually use LH´s "etix-gate", so there´s no wait for me at all ).
Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
HT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3159 times:
Quoting ZKEOJ (Reply 4): Quoting HT (Reply 3):
I usually use LH´s "etix-gate"
What's that? I'll be on LH Sunday and Monday the first time in ages - never heard of that...? Care to explain to a guy from downunder?
On most of LH´s busier airports there are two boardingpass checking station at the departure gate:
One of them is manned and a ground staff will take care of your boarding pass. The second one usually is bright yellow and an automated one with a turnstile (sometimes there´s a also banner "E-tix gate"). One can use this automated gate only in case one is travelling on an electronic ticket (aka. "e-tix" by LH). Simply insert your bp into the reader and if the machine does not spit it out at the same location, you can go through that turnstile (there´s also a LCD-display to guide you); the "receipt"-part of your pb will be emitted on the far end of the machine.
If your pb gets spit out, you´ll have to use the other line (but by that time, you´ll be at the head of the queue anyhow ).
ExFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3042 times:
Amazing how much time and effort airlines put into trying to re-invent the wheel on this over and over. United tried "Wilma" (windows/middle/aisle) back in the Shuttle era and now they've brought it back again, just disguised as a "zone" system. AA and DL have their "zones" as well, although I have no real idea how the higher-numbered zones are assigned...except that I seem to always get on last. WN swears that the "cattle call" is the fastest way, and everyone else seems to use the classic "back-to-front by rows" method, with the JetBlue "from the front and the back" variation at some airports.
What I found interesting was the one time I flew Alaska a few years ago - their position was (that except for first class and handicapped/UAM, IIRC) studies showed it worked best just to allow everyone to queue up and go at random.
While UA seems to have modified the "Wilma" idea to get rid of the problem of splitting up people traveling together, I still suspect that the aisle folks get royally screwed on overhead bin space.
In the last few months, I've flown on CO, AA, B6, and DL, and I haven't really seen any difference between the various systems. DL seemed a little smoother, but I think a lot of that was the spiffy gate display screens that allowed passengers to see the zone calls, rather than having to listen for scratchy and hard-to-hear announcements.
Now if only someone could come up with a system to get us OFF the damn plane faster - then I'd be happy!
Highpeaklad From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 3006 times:
What do you do if you've got a boarding pass issued by a different airline that doesn't have the zone on it? I'm flying MAN-ORD-SFO on Saturday on BMI and UA, last time I flew that route 2 years ago BMI didn't print the zones on the tickets and we only found out because I asked the gate agent a question and he insisted on swapping the boarding passes for united ones as he said BMI ones didn't work in their system.
Should I change them again this time or just play dumb and try to get on first?
Don't try to keep up with the Joneses - bring them down to your level !
727EMflyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2995 times:
Don't play dumb, play smart! If BMI can't issue the right pass (and if they can't they should tell you to check in with UA's gate in ORD) then ask the UA agent for the right one. Trade in the BMI card saying "hi there I need to get a pass with my boarding zone " And while you're at it ask for a better seat! (Unless of course you're traveling C/J... then I don't think you'd want a "better" E+ seat )