Minutes count when you’re trying to carry hundreds of thousands of airline passengers every day. So United Airlines is changing its boarding policy in hopes of speeding things up at the airport.
Starting October 26, basic economy ticket holders and window seat passengers will board first, then those in the middle seats, followed by people in aisle seats. The change is estimated to reduce boarding time by up to two minutes, United told NPR on Thursday.
The process will not change for pre-boarding groups, such as unaccompanied minors, persons with disabilities, families with young children, and active-duty military personnel. The process also remains unchanged for boarding groups one to three (the third group usually includes those with window seats and exit row seats).
But the fourth group will now be reserved for passengers with middle seats and the fifth group will be exclusively for those with aisle seats. The review applies to US domestic flights and flights from the US to the Caribbean, Canada and some Central and South American cities.
United is adding a sixth boarding group for domestic flights and flights to the Caribbean and Central America for basic economy customers who don’t have a group number on their boarding pass.
United said boarding times have risen by as much as two minutes since 2019. It tested the new policy, known as WILMA, at five airports and found it was faster.
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