United Airlines improves boarding of flights

19 Sep 2018 by Tom Otley

United Airlines has added new improvements to boarding at gates in airports around the world.

The most notable change is the reduction of the number of boarding lanes from five to two.

In addition, United app users will receive a new alert when boarding has begun for their flight, with the airline saying that “in the future” it will “expand these notifications to text messages.”


Digital displays in the gate area also keep customers informed with boarding information.

United’s MileagePlus Premier 1K customers who previously boarded in group one, will now be invited to pre-board, and United’s MileagePlus Premier Gold customers will also move up in the boarding process from group two to group one.

United is also expanding its military pre-boarding group from uniformed military members to include all active duty military members. Qualifying United credit card holders will continue to receive priority boarding in group two.

United says it started testing a variety of boarding concepts in the fall of 2017, asking for feedback from customers and employees along the way.

United experiments with new boarding procedure

After positive feedback from both passengers and employees, United began rolling out aspects of this process, including updated signage at select airports across its network earlier this year, and putting it into effect at all gates at Los Angeles International Airport in February. The better boarding is now being rolled out to over 1,000 gates across the world.

“The boarding process was one of the top areas customers told us they wanted improved,” said Sarah Murphy, vice president of Global Operations Strategy, Planning and Design at United. “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.”

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