Boarding Process Changes, Starting Jan. 8-9th, 2013

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by UA Insider, Jan 7, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. UA Insider
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    UA Insider Official Representative

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    Hi Everyone,

    We know the topic of boarding is one that you care about, and we wanted to provide you with an update on further changes we will be making to address the frustration that many customers – including many of you – have expressed.

    Over the next several months, we’re going to be making several changes to address crowding and consistency and, frankly, to help you just understand where you should stand as you wait to board. Over time, we’ll also make physical changes to our gate areas, deploy better directional signage, and enact changes to the boarding process itself.

    Bear with us as these changes roll out over a period of months. Here is a brief overview of what you will see:
    • Simplified Boarding Groups (January 8-9, with full implementation January 10): Starting late tomorrow, we plan to reduce the number of boarding groups from 7 to 5 (plus pre-boarding). The new boarding group priority will be:
    • Pre-Boarding: Customers with disabilities, then Global Services and uniformed military personnel
    • Group 1: Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum, premium cabins
    • Group 2: Premier Gold, Star Gold, Premier Silver, Star Silver, MileagePlus Presidential Plus and Club cardholders, MileagePlus Explorer and Awards cardholders
    • Groups 3-5: General boarding
    Worth noting: If you are traveling on January 9 or 10, and checked in to your flight before we made the change, you can refresh your online boarding pass to see your new boarding group. You can also go to a kiosk to reprint your boarding pass.

    • Revised Gate Layout with Premium Bypass Lanes (March/April): We will add more boarding lanes – in many cases, one for each boarding group. At nearly every gate, our Premier Access boarding will be comprised of two separate lanes – enabling a dedicated line for groups 1 and 2 respectively. Some of you have already seen this concept, as we are testing this new layout at several gates (in many cases with temporary signage). Below are some of the gates where we are testing this layout:
    • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) – B8, C16 and C18 (adding two more at a later date)
    • Cleveland (CLE) – C27 and C3
    • Denver (DEN) – B23 and B32
    • Houston (IAH) – C40 and E2
    • Los Angeles (LAX) – 70B and 73
    • New York/Newark (EWR) – C123 and C131
    • San Francisco (SFO) – 73 and 80
    • Washington-Dulles (IAD) – C19 and D7
    We’ll have more information to share in the coming weeks and months. Thank you for your patience – and especially your feedback – as we work to make our boarding process better.

    Shannon Kelly
    Director, Customer Insights
    United Airlines
     
  2. downhillcrasher

    downhillcrasher Gold Member

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    So Global Services is in both group one and the preboard group???

    Overall, I like that you are now breaking apart the lanes as possible.
     
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  3. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Woohoo, simple is definitely better.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    As a 1k, group 1 changes seems fine to me, though a bit larger with Plats...

    But for Plats out there, definitely a gain for them...

    I like simpler, but maybe group 2 should be really groups 2 and 3 -- Seems to me for Premier Gold they should get preference over Mileage Plus Explorer Cardholders, but maybe that's just me.
     
  5. Phorever

    Phorever Silver Member

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    I said the same thing in another thread... As a gold I think that credit card holders should be in another group.
     
  6. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    While I do like the change, to play devil's advocate....


    Why/what prompted the change from PMUA's boarding process (which worked) in the first place and I know red is not a COdbaUA color ;) but to be perfectly honest, a red carpet "means more in terms of status" and also stands out a whole lot more than a powder blue carpet
     
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  7. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Sure, we all said from day one that it's retarded to have 8 boarding groups, especially on smaller aircraft.

    It's too hard to admit that the legacy United boarding process was one of the best in the business and of course, over entitled 1Ks gets to share the first group with (you guessed it) the pointless tier that used to be COs finest: Platinum

    So, better because maybe they can start getting more flights out on time, but again they are stomping on parts of the elites toes (UA MMs and 1Ks in particular)...
     
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  8. Phorever

    Phorever Silver Member

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    Posted this on FT:

    The problem is that UA promised credit card holders priority boarding... So unless they creat another group (like group 4 previously) they are not making good on their promise. Just have 6 groups and make CC holders group 3.

    Why even bother to fly 60 segments again when I have an explorer card?

    (I know I know... 5 extra inches of legroom! Lol)
     
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  9. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    This million miler just loves this additional enhancement to the panoply of other enhancements that have provided continual arousal since the merger and changes to my MM benefits. A simple approved credit card application makes you equal to me in many respects to a lifetime of loyalty.
     
  10. jgg630

    jgg630 Silver Member

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    Glad to know that my 55,000 miles flown count the same as a credit card with no miles flown and don't even have to use it. If I pay them $300 a year can I get all the benefits of gold or just some of them. Makes you rethink the definition of loyalty.
     
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  11. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    All i'll say is this.... :mad:
     
  12. downhillcrasher

    downhillcrasher Gold Member

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    I would add that your boarding problem is really a baggage problem. Ever since you have started charging hefty bag fees, you have been encouraging people to carry on as much as possible and, to accomplish this, board as early as possible. You need to reform your carry on AND checked baggage policies. This does not mean draconian enforcement of bag size with the severely outdated bag-sizers at your gates, but a thoughtful approach that considers how the two interact and the impact it has on your customer experience.
     
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  13. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Bolding mine:. Yeah, right-PMUA Million Mile fliers were "promised" 2CR1's and Premier Executive status for life as well but you know how that "promised" worked out ;)
     
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  14. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Well, they worked out by me flying 0 EQMs for the first time since 1985. I don't know if they don't get it, or don't care.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Then don't. And tell'em at the end of next year.
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Perhaps pointless for you, but I definitely see value in that level. And today's announcement just added a bit of value.
     
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  17. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    But we're getting the 787! ;) (unless they all pull a Saturday Night Live take off on the late Jackie Stewart ;) or the FAA decides to ground the fleet as then I'm gonna grab some popcorn)
     
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  18. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    I thought about giving my last few drink chits away but now I think I'll need them from boarding an EWR-SFO (or SFO-HKG) flight.
     
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  19. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Just waiting for UA to finally show they completely don't value UA Golds by taking away the selection of E+ in one year's time... which will be followed by taking out a few rows of E+ and squeezing in one extra row.
     
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  20. emwitty

    emwitty Silver Member

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    I've been to these test gates at ORD and IAD. They do seem to improve the boarding process mostly because they seem distribute the gate "rush" to multiple holding pens rather than just the area in front of the boarding lanes, but this comes at a cost of using more of space for stanchions. . For smaller flights, using those long lanes at the C-gates at seems as dubious -- do I really need to use these? -- as the need to zig zag through an empty giant queue area at an amusement park on an off day.
     
  21. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I wish ALL the credit card holders weren't thrown in with the golds. :(

    I'd like Gold + Star Gold + spendy credit cards as 2
    Silver + lesser credit cards (and other categories newly in 2) as 3

    ...but maybe that's because I moved from Silver to Gold. :)

    (I most frequently pre-board, though)
     
  22. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    Group 2 will be a very large group to board. I think MileagePlus Presidential Plus and Club cardholders, MileagePlus Explorer and Awards cardholders should be in Group 3
     
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  23. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    I'm plat, so always get earlier boarding group. Obviously at that point overhead space is not an issue, but on very few flights have I seen them have to gate check bags because they've run out of overhead. I realize part of that is because of pro-active gate agents gate-checking prior to boarding on packed flights.

    But if I don't need overhead space, I will wait and be one of the last to board just to avoid the herd mentality at the gate. I don't need to be first in line to board. It's not important to me what color the carpet is in the elite boarding line. I don't care that credit card holders get to board at the same time.

    I only care about the aircraft's reliability and cleanliness. If I get from Point A to Point B safely, relatively ontime, and without having encountered some gross object in the seatback pocket or stuck to the tray table, I'm good.
     
  24. Black Cloud
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    Black Cloud Gold Member

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    All this 1k wants is to sit somewhere near his bag stored in the overhead bin. I'd also prefer a boarding process that doesn't require me to be at the gate 45 minutes before a flight (widebodies excepted) as that represents lost time for me.

    I don't blame United for the boarding fiascos (although 7 boarding zones on an RJ was a bit ridiculous), I blame my fellow passengers. The obsession of bringing too much stuff on and clogging the gate area makes the whole process feel like a scrum. The plane isn't fixin' to leave without you. Find a comfortable spot and board when it's your turn.

    I've been saying this for years, but I think having a per-seat allocated space in the overhead bins is the best way to solve this whole issue. Your bag doesn't fit, you get it gate checked. You put your bag in someone else's allocated space, you get it gate-checked. It would be a mess for about 3 months and then people would figure out if they need to change their behavior (or their bag) if they don't want their bags gate-checked.

    This week I have two day trips. I'll only be traveling with my laptop bag. And I'll be the last person on all my flights and I'll be very content with that.
     
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  25. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    One of the whole reasons for even making my final push for status was to be ahead of being a plain Jane credit card holder for that precious overhead space. I also would not put myself, as a Silver, in the same boarding group as a Gold member. That makes no sense, and absolutely devalues the perks of Gold.

    United, you need to be very careful here. I know you're just following the trends of other airlines, but at carriers like Delta you can basically get full Sliver perks by just getting an Amex. Don't keep alienating those that are loyal to United by lumping us in to one big bucket. If I'm disappointed as Silver, then I can't imagine how Gold's and 1K's feel. It is absolutely a slap in the face to fly 40 segments a year loyal to United, and be treated basically the same as the credit card holder I was before. You need to find something to make it worth it as opposed to continuously dropping perks and blending them together.

    I personally didn't think there was anything wrong with the existing groups (though as previously stated, 7 zones on an RJ was a bit silly). What you need is better gate signage, and way better announcements. Those automated announcements that explain the boarding process are way too long... people tone them out, then you have group 6/7 people trying to board with group 2 because they can't understand what they're being told to do. Then you've got places like the IAD's A gates where none of the agents can articulate the English language and nobody can understand what they're rambling on about anyway. I don't see how new group numbers fixes the issues. Elites and frequent flyers understand the process, it's the general once/twice a year flyers that mess the system up (IMO).
     

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