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Boarding Group/Zone For The Legacy US Carriers  
User currently offlineB52murph From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 241 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2907 times:

Hi

Sorry if this has been posted before, but I couldn't find it if it had. Here's the question: What do the US legacies use to determine which boarding group/zone you're assigned when you print your boarding pass? I've been in "Group 5" on American (M80) while seated near the front; yet "Zone 5" on United seems to mean the back of the jet.

The Zone 5 (or 4 maybe?) on UA was especially frustrating--319 ABQ-IAD, last row, aisle--boarded at the front of this group, yet all overhead bin space had already been taken when I got on and was forced to check my SMALL carry-on (not just door check, but all the way to destination through the connection).

Would like to avoid that UA experience again without having to become a MP status passenger.

I'm guessing Zone 1 is always FF status pax. Of course, WN is it's own deal...no questions there.

Anybody know the answer...next trip (on US) is in a couple weeks? Thanks...

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11754 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2892 times:

Not sure about United, but at American, the boarding process goes like this:

First Class
AAdvantage Executive Platinum/Platinum, AirPass
Group 1 / AAdvantage Golds
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6 (sometimes on the widebodies, I think)

Groups 1-5/6 are boarded from the back to the front. So the last few rows of Y are in Group 1, along with the bulkhead which is always boarded at the beginning of the flight, and then they progressively board towards the front of Y.

And all the while, of course, First Class and AAdvantage Exec Plat/Plat and AirPass pax can board at their leisure.


User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5276 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2878 times:

My understanding on AA boarding is that Groups 1 through 6 are supposed to be roughly equal in size. But, if a flight has a lot of AAdvantage Gold members, Group 1 might only have the last 1 or 2 rows of the coach cabin.

Personally, I've seen boarding calls at ORD where the Exec. Platinum/Platinum group is larger than the First Class group.


User currently offlineB52murph From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2878 times:



Quoting Commavia (Reply 1):
Groups 1-5/6 are boarded from the back to the front. So the last few rows of Y are in Group 1, along with the bulkhead which is always boarded at the beginning of the flight, and then they progressively board towards the front of Y.

Do you know the breakdown of the groups (i.e. which rows go with which groups?) Is that published by the carrier anywhere?

Also, what about the pre-boarding for families with small children, minors alone, etc.? Are they after Exec Platnum but before Group 1?


User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11754 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 2846 times:



Quoting Ckfred (Reply 2):
Personally, I've seen boarding calls at ORD where the Exec. Platinum/Platinum group is larger than the First Class group.

Oh yeah, big time, all the time. You should see when the board the MD80s from AUS up to DFW. It's comical. When they call Exec Plat and Plat, half the damn gate area stands up. I've literally seen flights where by the time they get done with the Exec Plats and Plats, less than half of the people originally in the gate area are still standing there. It sort of just makes you chuckle, especially since you know 90% of those Exec Plats' upgrades didn't clear! Ha ha!  Smile

Quoting B52murph (Reply 3):
Do you know the breakdown of the groups (i.e. which rows go with which groups?)

It depends on the aircraft. The boarding groups on, say, a single-aisle MD80 are obviously smaller than on, say, a dual-aisle 777.

Quoting B52murph (Reply 3):
Is that published by the carrier anywhere?

Not publicly, no.

Quoting B52murph (Reply 3):
Also, what about the pre-boarding for families with small children, minors alone, etc.? Are they after Exec Platnum but before Group 1?

I could be wrong - it's been a while - but I believe AA still preboards those people towards the beginning, but without a separate announcement. Much of the time I'm flying AA, the agent actually visually identifies wheelchairs, small kids/strollers, etc. and pulls them out of the gate area personally to preboard.


User currently offline44k From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 310 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2845 times:



Quoting Ckfred (Reply 2):
Personally, I've seen boarding calls at ORD where the Exec. Platinum/Platinum group is larger than the First Class group.

Not only at ORD...Not too long ago, I had 8 ExPlat, 36 Platinum and 24 Gold on a single MD-80 CMH-DFW flight.


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1392 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2830 times:

Flying DEN-CLE on UAX CR-7 I got stuck with the aisle on the last row (17C IIRC) and was boarding group 4. When I checked in I moved to the window seat (17A) and I was then boarding group 2.

-----
Regarding the overhead bins.

If the overhead bin is full and it is clear it is not the people in my row (I had all three seats, early boarding [after Premiers and such] with young children nearish the front), I have pulled the bag out of the bin and put my bag in the bin - then the F/A can gate check the bag I pulled. It is risking death, but I was pissed. The F/As actually found another spot for the bag.

---

Anybody remember the small closets most UA A/C had? I remember them on DC-8s, 727s, etc. Now the first and last rows of the bins are filled with important crap (bullhorn, med kit, oxygen bottle, demo kit, the flight attendants bags, etc)


User currently offlineHAMAD From United Arab Emirates, joined Apr 2000, 1160 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2825 times:

with united i know that they board first/biz class, then group 1 , which is all FF with status, then group 2 are windows, 3 are middle seats, and 4 are aisles. never experienced larger than group 4. i like the way united is doing it


PHX - i miss spotting
User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2176 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 2768 times:



Quoting HAMAD (Reply 7):
group 1 , which is all FF with status, then group 2 are windows, 3 are middle seats, and 4 are aisles.

Bingo!!! Got it right. WILMA....window middle aisle.


User currently offlineApodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4288 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2713 times:

I have a big issue with UA, because they only use 4 boarding groups no matter how big the airplane is. So you have the same number of boarding groups on a CRJ that you have on a 747. The reason I don't like this is because it causes backups in the Jetway, and I think slows the whole boarding process down, especially on bigger airplanes. Not too experienced with other carriers, but US has a pretty good system right now the way they do it, and it seems to really expedite things.

User currently offlineB52murph From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2642 times:



Quoting Hiflyer (Reply 8):
Quoting HAMAD (Reply 7):
group 1 , which is all FF with status, then group 2 are windows, 3 are middle seats, and 4 are aisles.

Bingo!!! Got it right. WILMA....window middle aisle.

Ahh...that explains it for UA. Perfectly logical, at least on narrowbodies. EXCEPT...when the flight is a business-heavy flight (i.e. the single daily non-stop ABQ-IAD) and 1/2 the pax are M.P. status. It would have worked fine if I could have stored my carry-on overhead, but most of the travellers on that trip had large-ish rollaboards which totally hogged the overhead space. My bag just bairly missed fitting under the seat in front of me (too tall) Sad


User currently offlineAlitalia744 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 4753 posts, RR: 45
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2642 times:

Personally find DELTA's zone system the easiest to deal.

That and the GIDS seem to make boarding orderly which is something you don't find at most airports.



Some see lines, others see between the lines.
User currently offlineBicoastal From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2627 times:



Quoting B52murph (Reply 10):
Ahh...that explains it for UA. Perfectly logical, at least on narrowbodies. EXCEPT...when the flight is a business-heavy flight (i.e. the single daily non-stop ABQ-IAD) and 1/2 the pax are M.P. status. It would have worked fine if I could have stored my carry-on overhead, but most of the travellers on that trip had large-ish rollaboards which totally hogged the overhead space.

Sorry, but if it's business heavy and 1/2 the passengers are Seating Area 1 (50,000 miles/year and above) then this is more of a reason to let them board first. This enables them to have room to store their carry-ons before the occasional UA flyer boards and takes the space. Reward your best customers....no problem with that. If you want on the plane earlier....either fly United more or pick a window seat. Window seats will put you in Seating Area 2. Of course, you could have checked your bag and avoided the stress.


User currently offlineB52murph From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 241 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2585 times:



Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 12):
Sorry, but if it's business heavy and 1/2 the passengers are Seating Area 1 (50,000 miles/year and above) then this is more of a reason to let them board first. This enables them to have room to store their carry-ons before the occasional UA flyer boards and takes the space. Reward your best customers....no problem with that. If you want on the plane earlier....either fly United more or pick a window seat. Window seats will put you in Seating Area 2. Of course, you could have checked your bag and avoided the stress.

I really want to flame you for this one, but will resist. My bag was small...no reason for it to be checked. And yes...this type of treatment for the "ordinary" paying customer is the main reason UA is usually my LAST choice. Not meant as a meaningless slam by any means...but a $200 ticket is a $200 ticket.

Too bad...given that this WILMA concept really does make a lot of sense.


User currently offlinePlaneguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1250 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2524 times:

In a different direction from other posts, I have been the only pax in a zone on a US mainline flight (Zone 2, DM Silver). It was really strange to be the only one...

And if memory serves I think US uses up to 7 zones



I want to live in an old and converted 727...
User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11754 posts, RR: 62
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2513 times:



Quoting Planeguy727 (Reply 14):
In a different direction from other posts, I have been the only pax in a zone on a US mainline flight (Zone 2, DM Silver). It was really strange to be the only one...

Ah yes, that wonderful moment like in "Meet the Parents" where you - alone - are standing there at the gate while the gate agent dutifully sticks to regs by boarding the aircraft row-by-row (or group-by-group), even though nobody seems to be boarding!  Smile

I, too, once had this happen: it was an early morning flight on a Sunday on Eagle DAL-AUS. I was the only passenger on the plane. And yet, comically, the agent actually called "Executive Platinum and Platinum, Group 1, etc.," knowing full well that it was nothing but me, whose boarding pass said "Group 3" and was sitting in seat 2A. The other agents were just standing around laughing, as was my agent - I think he was just doing it as a joke to lighten the mood on an otherwise boring Sunday morning. (After all, even at the busiest of times, the AA/Eagle wing at DAL can be a pretty slow place!)


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