As a frequent British Airways passenger, I am delighted that there has finally been some control introduced on the boarding process [since December 12, 2017]. This level of organisation has been long overdue – on far too many flights I have witnessed chaos at the gates. In my experience, long-haul flights were managed by the gate crew with a clear boarding process based on ticket class – first, business then economy, which everyone understood. But on short haul, especially late-running domestic flights, it was akin to survival of the fittest as the gate crew quickly abdicated any responsibility, leaving a massive stampede.
However, the new method also seems to have a few issues, and does not really result in swifter craft boarding. The new process creates five distinct groups, who board in order starting with Group 1, flexible ticket holding passengers who have paid the most for their tickets; to Group 5, who have obtained the cheapest tickets.
Now we have a Disney-style queue system, which holds back the hordes as the affluent glide on – leaving the disaffected masses in a walk of shame. But does this approach make boarding quicker? Not from what I can see.
As an alternative BA should consider the following: 1. The Group 1 passengers board as a priority – a relatively small group. 2. Passengers board from the back, in order of those sitting at a window then middle then aisle.
Granted this may require some additional marshalling and work by gate staff, but if it allows a full flight to board without delay, and a swift turnaround, it can only be positive for the airline and passenger alike.