BA's new boarding rules: cheaper ticket means longer waiting

Anastasia Dagaeva
November 23, 2017
Next month, on December 12, 2017, British Airways will implement a “group boarding” — a dedicated system on the carrier’s flights, meaning the passengers who paid less for their tickets should wait in the departure lounge, until those passengers who paid a higher fare to board first. 

Passengers will be segregated by group number tags from one to five and, as BA informs “this number will then be displayed prominently on the boarding pass, printed or mobile.” The lower the number the quicker a passenger will get onboard. 

Gold members of the British Airways Executive Class, as well as the premium-class passengers, will be assigned to the group number one. Producing a ticket of a first-class passengers on long-haul flights and business class passengers on short-haul flights will guarantee the priority. 

Silver members and Club World passengers on long-haul flights go next under number two. Group three will consist of Bronze Executive Club members and passengers in World Traveler Plus, the carrier's premium economy.  Economy-class passengers with no frequent flyer status will be assigned to a group four. The rest of the crowd — those who travel on the cheapest, hand-baggage only tickets will be the last ones in the queue, tagged five. 

Disabled passengers or who are travelling with young children will still be able to board ahead of everyone else, even number one. Travellers who have frequent-flyer status with BA’s Oneworld alliance partners will also get priority. 

“Next month we are looking at introducing new boarding procedures to further improve the customer journey by creating a number of groups to speed up the process,” a spokesperson for BA said to the Independent. "This method is an evolution of our long-established boarding process and has been used by airlines around the world for a number of years, including by our partners American Airlines, Iberia and Qatar Airways.” 

The new boarding policy caused controversy among many customers. For example, Twitter user Tomas wrote that “boarding by the price of a ticket and not from rear to front in the main cabin is a recipe for disaster.” Another Twitter user asked: "What, rich people can't wait? What year is it again?” Depending on the aircraft type, boarding the passengers along with a fueling and loading of cargo is a subject to centering the airplane.
Photo: British Airways