United Airlines will resume its “Better Boarding” group-style boarding process on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
United Airlines Returns To Pre-Pandemic Group Boarding
In a memo to employees, United explains the reason for the change:
Now that more customers are returning, this can result in customers gathering in the gate area to wait near the boarding door for their row to be called, ultimately defeating the social distancing purpose of back-to-front boarding.
We’ve also found that back-to-front boarding can take longer and that the process can feel disorderly for customers. We know from recent surveys that an orderly boarding experience is one of the things our customers value the most. We also know that our Premier customers value early boarding.
United insists this will not compromise safety:
United has proven the safety of our travel experience – even when the plane is full – through enhanced cleaning procedures, electrostatic spraying, on-board HEPA filtration, and mask requirements. Nothing about United’s CleanPlus commitment or mask policy is changing.
Boarding On United Airlines
Boarding on United will follow the guidelines below:
|Pre-board||1. Customers with disabilities + unaccompanied minors
2. Active military (uniform not necessary)
3. Global Services customers
4. Families traveling with children under two
5. 1K customers
|1||United Polaris business, United First, United Business, Premier Platinum, Premier Gold, Star Gold|
|2||Premier Silver and Star Silver, Chase card holders, paid Premier Access|
|3||Window seats (and those in the same PNR), exit row seats|
|4||Middle and aisle seats|
|5||Domestic Basic Economy customers|
Passengers will be notified when it is their turn to board not only by the gate agent, but by United’s mobile app.
From my own travels, I observed that the back-to-front boarding took longer and seemed to result in more crowding in the aisles, especially as flights filled up again. This policy change simply makes sense.