Gate Agent: “Welcome to the gate for American flight 1366 with nonstop service from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. Our Boeing 737 jet has exactly 16 First Class seats and there are 154 seats on this plane so it would be ridiculous for all of you to stand up and move to the boarding lanes when I call for First Class passengers to board. Ok, everybody got that? Ok, First Class is welcome to board”
All 154 passengers: “zOMG GET OUT OF THE WAY I MUST GET ON THE JET NOW LIKE RIGHT NOW NOT LATER BUT NOW”
The above is all too common on jets these days, especially as overhead bin space is at a premium. While policies like the new Basic Economy fares will certainly help with the boarding rush, American’s policy itself needed some work. I can’t blame it entirely on American (for once, heh), a lot of it is consumer behavior and some of it is just flat out confusing. For instance, if you have certain AAdvantage branded credit cards one of the benefits is “priority boarding”. When you have this access your boarding pass says “Priority Access”. Leads you to believe you’ll be boarding pretty early, right? Unfortunately that’s not the case, as Priority Access is technically the fifth group to board. Not only that, but Group 1 was technically the sixth group to board! Boarding a plane is tough (science has proven there is no one way which is most effective) but the combination of group numbers and named groups added to the confusion.
But all is not lost!
American is changing the boarding process March 1, 2017, for the better!
Effective March 1, 2017, American is going to simplify the boarding process. Note that there will still be lots of different groups called, since there are lots of status levels to run through, but from that date forward every passenger will have a group number on their boarding pass. This is going to make life much easier for passengers, in my opinion.
American put together a handy dandy infographic to help explain the old procedure and the new.
So as you can see there aren’t that many drastic changes in the actual order of boarding, but I think listing a group number for every passenger on their boarding pass will reduce the “grey area” of the whole Priority Access/Group 1/confusion/dogs and cats living together mass hysteria thing.
That said, I don’t think it will prevent people with Group 8 on their boarding pass trying to board with Group 1 completely but it’s a good start. Nice work American!
What do you think of the new boarding process? How would you have made it better? Tell me in the comments below!