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#939703 by SlimpyJones
20 Nov 2017, 09:27
What a load of clickbait garbage.

Airlines have been doing this as long as "priority boarding" has been around, i.e. those in economy (who are often paying the least) board last. I am usually the last to jump to BA's defence, but this is nothing new. All US airlines with Basic Economy tickets do this as well.

Mountain out of a molehill is the phrase for this I think.

[Edit: Just to say - my annoyance is at the DM, not directed at you Cat!]
#939704 by catsilversword
20 Nov 2017, 10:42
Was talking to the OH about this, and he said the same as you did Slimpy! I’ve seen this grouping in practice, and indeed been in the kowest of the low boarding category - Southwest have been doing that for as long as we’ve flown with them. I assumed it was a budget airline thing, to actually put people into marked lines... anyway, I digress, and yes, economy boarding has always been last. Somehow though, that doesn’t feel as repressed as being herded into a line!!!
#939705 by McCoy
20 Nov 2017, 11:06
I don't think "herding" is part of it - it's just simplifying the current boarding order into a numerical system, to hopefully improve both staff enforcement and pax compliance. There's no change to the boarding order (apart from separating out HBO fare economy from regular economy) just a change into how the boarding will be called. And I think calling "group 1 to board" is a lot simpler than calling a combination of premium cabin, gold card holder, oneworld amethyst, crystal and iron oxide, etc etc etc

https://www.simonarmitage.com/thank-you-for-waiting/
#939707 by Traveller2
20 Nov 2017, 11:12
Am I strange in that, no mater what cabin I'm in, I have no desire to board first and spend longer on a plane than I have to, so this won't bother me in the slightest. However, if it stops everyone from crowding round the departure gate at once, then it can only be a good thing.
#939708 by gumshoe
20 Nov 2017, 11:18
Enforcement is the key here.

The current undignified scrum at the gate is a problem of BA’s own making because (a) there’s no consistent approach to priority boarding and (b) there’s insufficient policing of its overly generous hand baggage policy.

If BA can learn from the US and low-cost carriers and board STRICTLY by group number (no exceptions) and set a limit on the number of wheelie-cases allowed on board, the process would run a lot smoother.
#939709 by dickydotcom
20 Nov 2017, 11:32
Traveller2 wrote:Am I strange in that, no mater what cabin I'm in, I have no desire to board first and spend longer on a plane than I have to, so this won't bother me in the slightest. However, if it stops everyone from crowding round the departure gate at once, then it can only be a good thing.

It depends where I'm sitting. Up the front and I like to be on early, but if I'm not then later will do.
Dick D
#939710 by tontybear
20 Nov 2017, 11:44
Long thread on flyer talk about this over the weekend.

This is not something new just a re-jig of the boarding order - and a hopeful emphasis on enforcing the groups which should ensure faster boarding overall. But it's the enforcing that will be the key.
#939712 by NYC123
20 Nov 2017, 12:00
Would it not make more sense to board with those at the rear of the plane first, then the middle etc so you dont have a jam of people clogging up the aisle whilst storing bags overhead.
#939714 by mitchja
20 Nov 2017, 12:10
BA do tend to 'try' and board from the back to the front, certainly on domestic flights but since the 23Kg carry-on policy was brought in, it's basically a free-for-all now as regular flyers know full well over-head locker space is a premium now and boarding rules have never been enforced.

The 23Kg carry-on thing BA brought in several years ago has got a lot to answer for and made things a whole lot worse at BA for everyone both staff and pax.
#939715 by ColOrd
20 Nov 2017, 12:15
I flew BA to Glasgow back in July and EasyJet to Berlin this month, and I have to be honest, it was EasyJet who seemed the most organised for boarding.
#939719 by Silver Fox
20 Nov 2017, 12:50
gumshoe wrote:Enforcement is the key here.

The current undignified scrum at the gate is a problem of BA’s own making because (a) there’s no consistent approach to priority boarding and (b) there’s insufficient policing of its overly generous hand baggage policy.

If BA can learn from the US and low-cost carriers and board STRICTLY by group number (no exceptions) and set a limit on the number of wheelie-cases allowed on board, the process would run a lot smoother.


Spot on. All they need to do is to enforce their own rules. I fly United primarily and the amount our cousins feel entitled to bring on is, in some cases, mind blowingly unbelievable.
#939728 by SlimpyJones
20 Nov 2017, 15:57
Silver Fox wrote:Apparently people are taking to the internet to complain.


Haha, indeed! The foundation of a modern article nowadays is to write a paragraph or two yourself and then copy & paste as many tweets as you can find to bulk it up. Such low effort really.
#939732 by stuart_f
20 Nov 2017, 16:34
NYC123 wrote:Would it not make more sense to board with those at the rear of the plane first, then the middle etc so you dont have a jam of people clogging up the aisle whilst storing bags overhead.


You would think that it should be faster to start at the back but it doesn't survive real-world testing.

Mythbusters episode on how to board an aircraft:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss1S3-Kv6R8

To spoil the result, a total free for all with each passenger allowed to sit wherever they want is fastest: 14 minutes and 7 seconds. "WilMA" method, for window, middle, aisle. Passengers board the plane at the window seats first, middle seats second, and aisle seats last: 14 minutes, 55 seconds. Airline style 'groups' 24 minutes and 29 seconds.
#939739 by Smid
20 Nov 2017, 17:45
It strikes me as there's a whole lot of chips on peoples shoulders nowadays here in the uk, and the howls of anguish from this is another demonstration.

BA has had priority boarding, as has VS, for a long long time.

BA hasn't been enforcing it. Particularly on Short Haul, where people just join the priority queue. Then other people walk to front of priority queue because, well, they're priority.

This could be a means to which enforce such boarding. But it also solves another problem. Which VS does not have:

Hand luggage only fares.

The reality is that in order to avoid a charge, people will pay the lowest fare with no hand luggage. Yet with an unenforced priority system, they'll get on early and take all the overhead space leaving others with none. You exit usually from the front, so you might even use the space in front of you, you are coming back that way....

Whereas with this, you get the status and club passengers getting on and stoying their luggage, THEN people who are far less likely to stuff huge bags in the overheads because they've got luggage in the hold, leaving the ones who require the overheads most, but are unwilling to pay for them, the lowest priority (unless you've got status).

It makes sense to me. If they enforce it then that's good. However, the basic problem is that not all the overhead luggage will get on. That's a problem which has been causing a lot of delays recently. I'm not quite sure why, because their main objective has probably been met: "not paying for hold luggage".
#939753 by Kraken
21 Nov 2017, 00:01
Fully agree this is a non-story. Like both the DM article & the bit on BBC News website say, other airlines have been using a group based boarding system for years. It's probably easier for less frequent flyers to grasp the concept of Group 1 / 2 / 3 etc too as it'll be printed in big letters on the boarding pass.

As with any policy - if it's going to be effective, it has to be enforced by the gate agents & the turnaround crew need to communicate back to the gate when the overhead bins are almost full so gate-checking of bags into the hold can be done.

IMO, 23kg is too heavy to put in an overhead bin - if something that heavy falls out onto someone it will hurt. A 12kg maximum weight for a carry-on bag like VS have is much more sensible. (That said I've only once had any carry-on bag weighed when flying VS so enforcement of the limit is lax).
#939761 by pjh
21 Nov 2017, 05:08
Smid wrote:Hand luggage only fares.

The reality is that in order to avoid a charge, people will pay the lowest fare with no hand luggage. Yet with an unenforced priority system, they'll get on early and take all the overhead space leaving others with none. You exit usually from the front, so you might even use the space in front of you, you are coming back that way....

Whereas with this, you get the status and club passengers getting on and stoying their luggage, THEN people who are far less likely to stuff huge bags in the overheads because they've got luggage in the hold, leaving the ones who require the overheads most, but are unwilling to pay for them, the lowest priority (unless you've got status).

It makes sense to me. If they enforce it then that's good. However, the basic problem is that not all the overhead luggage will get on. That's a problem which has been causing a lot of delays recently. I'm not quite sure why, because their main objective has probably been met: "not paying for hold luggage".


OK, here's my experience of nearly forty weeks of flying easyJet twice a week STN-AMS and return where hand luggage only fares are the norm.

1. If you board from the front only the savvy travellers in those going to the rear will stow their bags in the overheads near the front. It only takes one or two to do that and the process is disrupted.

2. Enforcing the rule is critical, particularly on size of the bags. It can be a problem for the gate staff though where the passenger is on a return leg and insists that item was allowed on the outbound - I've seen this a lot with work and sports gear

3. easyJet will simply add up the numbers on the flight and state they will only take x cabin bags. First they ask for volunteers (in exchange for joining the speedy boarding queue, which is kind of a no win really?) and then start at the back of the queue trying to take passengers' bags. The problem is that this then leads to arguments and then delays.
You need effective policing of the rules. easyJet definitely try in these two airports, and
#939797 by Kraken
22 Nov 2017, 13:15
Interesting comments about easyJet above - seems like they are trying to enforce the rules. Slightly OT, but my experiences on Ryanair (the one airline you would expect to be hot on charging you for breaking the rules) are quite different...

At UK base airports where they operate multiple flights, it's a separate check-in & airside gate team, so anything goes when it comes to hand baggage - as the passenger can [and often does] just say "the check-in staff said it was OK". Checking with said staff takes time and on a 25min turnaround there is no time to spare. This does not stop bags being checked into the hold at the aircraft steps when the crew say the overhead bins are full.

At small down-route airports that are not bases and only handle a few FR flights a day, it's normally the same staff that do everything. They close check-in 40mins before departure then go airside to handle the boarding. Baggage rules are strictly enforced at these airports with the bag-sizer in prominent use, as the passenger cannot claim "check-in staff said it was OK".

One thing FR are good at (in my experience) is policing the Priority Boarding. Even if you are bussed out to the plane, they load the Priority Q passengers into the front of the bus and ensure the bus is unloaded front-door first. That said, it is not exactly rocket science when you only have one priority queue & 189 passengers. 5 queues / groups with an aircraft taking up to 450 passengers (i.e. a VS leisure route like MCO) is a different matter.

Back to VS - the one thing they do need to police better is the passengers who abuse the special assistance service. They absolutely have to be pre-boarded in the UK, but the curse of the Lourdes Jet-bridge strikes and they are all but sprinting to US immigration at the other end of the flight - there are a few on most flights.
#939799 by gumshoe
22 Nov 2017, 13:28
Kraken wrote:Back to VS - the one thing they do need to police better is the passengers who abuse the special assistance service.


Agreed - as do many airlines.

Tricky one to police though: the last thing VS would want is to find “Virgin tells terminal cancer patient she’s not ill enough for a wheelchair” plastered on the front of the Daily Mail.

Sadly there’ll always be a minority of people who take advantage.
#939801 by Kraken
22 Nov 2017, 14:08
gumshoe wrote:
Kraken wrote:Back to VS - the one thing they do need to police better is the passengers who abuse the special assistance service.


Agreed - as do many airlines.

Tricky one to police though: the last thing VS would want is to find “Virgin tells terminal cancer patient she’s not ill enough for a wheelchair” plastered on the front of the Daily Mail.

Sadly there’ll always be a minority of people who take advantage.

So just ask for written confirmation of the disability / need for special assistance if it's not obvious (i.e. passenger in a wheelchair / amputated limb etc). A passenger in genuine need of special assistance will have no problem in providing such confirmation.

Theme Parks have successfully clamped down on people abusing disabled ride access (i.e. avoid the queues) & now insist on written confirmation of your inability to stand in a queue (unless obvious) before ride passes are issued. They also have steps in place to ensure the disabled guest only gets on as many rides as an able-bodied person can each day (i.e. you have to wait the current queue time between rides). The Daily Mail have not been screaming about discrimination here (& they are quite happy to criticise theme parks when there is an incident of any kind resulting in injury / death).
#939802 by tontybear
22 Nov 2017, 14:27
As far as I am aware there is no requirement that disabled people or those with young children have to be boarded first. It's just that airlines have found it more convenient to get these groups on first - just as they ask those needing assistance to deplane last. If someone did a proper study that said boarding those groups last led to faster boarding you can bet they would soon switch.

The disability legislation only requires equal access to services not priority access to services. There is noting to say those needing special assistance should get whisked to the front of the immigration or security queue either - if the wheelchair minders dropped them off at the end of the queue then perhaps that might stop some of the abusers and their hangers on asking for it.
#939824 by Smid
23 Nov 2017, 11:52
Kraken wrote:Interesting comments about easyJet above - seems like they are trying to enforce the rules. Slightly OT, but my experiences on Ryanair (the one airline you would expect to be hot on charging you for breaking the rules) are quite different...

At UK base airports where they operate multiple flights, it's a separate check-in & airside gate team, so anything goes when it comes to hand baggage - as the passenger can [and often does] just say "the check-in staff said it was OK". Checking with said staff takes time and on a 25min turnaround there is no time to spare. This does not stop bags being checked into the hold at the aircraft steps when the crew say the overhead bins are full.


This doesn't make sense.

It costs a premium to check in at the airport for Ryanair, and a costly one too, so most people do online checkin. They might do baggage drop, but probably not if they have that much luggage. A home printed boarding pass would possibly give this away.

So "The check in staff said it was ok" doesn't really work with ryanair, because most of them with that size of luggage did not talk to checkin staff. It might work with BA it being costless for airport checkin with hand luggage.
#939825 by Kraken
23 Nov 2017, 12:21
Smid wrote:This doesn't make sense.

It costs a premium to check in at the airport for Ryanair, and a costly one too, so most people do online checkin. They might do baggage drop, but probably not if they have that much luggage. A home printed boarding pass would possibly give this away.

So "The check in staff said it was ok" doesn't really work with ryanair, because most of them with that size of luggage did not talk to checkin staff. It might work with BA it being costless for airport checkin with hand luggage.

Sorry, my mistake - for airport check-in with Ryanair, I should have said "bag drop". Certainly at smaller down-route airports bag drop is staffed by the same team who will then do the boarding. (Nimes & Montpellier being prime examples - so you do have a chance to negotiate whether it's hold or carry-on luggage with the staff).

The last two FR bases in the UK I've flown through (LBA & LPL) have both had staffed bag-drop desks. So passengers can claim to have checked at the bag-drop desks & been told by the landside team it's an OK carry-on bag. That said, if you were in any doubt, common sense would say buy the hold baggage before you get to the airport as it's cheaper. My experience still stands that FR are not very good at enforcing carry-on bag size from the UK, but very good at it when flying from smaller airports overseas. They are consistently good at Priority boarding though.
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