British Airways are changing the way they board their flights, moving from the current scrum to a group boarding model. Since the current system of having one lane for priority boarding is not working very well, this is a positive move.

People report boarding passes now feature the word group on them and more information has now become available, indicating this process will be introduced in December 2017.

Group Boarding Announced

According to a post on FlyerTalk by DelTroon, group boarding has been announced internally in the British Airways magazine “Up To Speed”.

“British Airways will be changing the way it boards aircraft with the introduction of group boarding in December. This method has ben used all around the world by many airlines and aligns BA with partners American Airlines and Iberia. Group boarding simplifies the process, making it easier for customers to understand the boarding sequence at the gate.

At the check-in stage, the customer will be put into a group number dependent on their cabin of travel and frequent flyer status. This number will then be displayed prominently on the boarding pass, printed or mobile. Customers who are entitled will continue to be offered priority boarding for both long haul and short haul domestic.”

This process is very efficient and they swear by it at carriers like American Airlines. As long as it is correctly policed by the gate staff there is no reason why it won’t be a success for British Airways.

Who Will Be In Each Group?

Speculation is rife about who is going to be in which group. I think the funniest comment I saw was from someone who said it should be “me, followed by everyone else”. In the same thread on FlyerTalk, Can I help you provided the actual information, reproduced below.

Long Haul

1 will be Gold/Emerald/First.
2 will be Silver/Sapphire/Club World.
3 will be Bronze/Ruby/World Traveller Plus.
4 and 5 will be World Traveller.

Short Haul

1 will be Gold/Emerald/Club Europe.
2 will be Silver/Sapphire.
3 will be Bronze/Ruby.
4 is Euro Traveller.
5 is Euro Traveller customers who have purchased a hand baggage only fare.

Almost everyone listed in groups 1, 2 and 3 board together at the moment in a single priority lane. This results in situations where Bronze frequent flyers who queue early enough are boarding before first class passengers. As you can imagine it has the potential to cause some irritation.

Overall Thoughts

For quite a while now people have suggested online that BA should move to a group boarding process like other carriers use. As long as it is enforced, it should result in a much better boarding experience overall.

It will also add value to having high status in the Executive Club which had been somewhat eroded when Bronze level flyers were given priority boarding. At any rate, it should reduce the need for anyone to get to the gate early to get a decent place in line.

Is this a good change by British Airways or something that won’t work? Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

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