Customers spoke and United Airlines listened. Travel is becoming a bit more colorful for customers of United as their signage and boarding process becomes color-coded. The carrier recently launched its streamlined boarding process across its 1,000 gates worldwide, after Los Angeles International Airport was the first facility to test out the new process.
Maria Walter, managing director of Global Operations Strategy for United, said the change was inspired by customers. In a press release on the United website, Walter said, “We listened to customers and employees as we tested a variety of processes on thousands of flights until we found a better boarding process that results in less time spent waiting in lines, improved communication and a better way to recognize our Premier customers while balancing out the number of passengers in each boarding group.”
According to United:
The improvements start with reducing the number of boarding lanes from five to two, giving customers added space, more time to relax and less time spent in line. . . United app users will also receive a new alert when boarding has begun for their flight, making it easier to know when to make their way to the gate. . . Digital displays in the gate area also keep customers informed with updated helpful boarding information.
The traditional boarding process of using groups will remain, but passengers will be processed through a color-coded system creating shorter lines and shorter wait times. A recent USA Today article stated that instead of boarding by row — the method in place for decades — Group 1 travelers will include frequent flyers, active military, and families traveling with children under two. They’ll board first when airline personnel announce “Premier 1K.”
Group 2 will be called next, and includes first class and business class flyers; they’ll also board in lane 1. They will be joined by Platinum and Gold level frequent flyers. Both Groups 1 and 2 will use the Blue lane. Stragglers of Group 1 and 2 will still board through the Blue lane.
Meanwhile, Silver-level frequent flyers, select United credit card holders and passengers who have purchased priority access will enter lane 2, now known as the Green lane.
Following those two groups will be Groups 3, 4, and 5 which consists of Economy Plus, United Economy and Basic Economy. These travelers will board after the first two groups, entering through lane 2. They’ll also board in the Green lane.
United will begin adopting new technology to send text messages, as well as send updates via digital displays in the gate area.
What are your thoughts on United Airlines’ new boarding process? Is this something you’re looking forward to? What’s your ideal boarding process? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.
Photo credit: Courtesy of United Airlines