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British Airways to start boarding passengers by group from 12th December

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Following numerous trials, British Airways has finally decided to push ahead with boarding in groups.  The new process will go live on 12th December.

Your boarding pass will now carry a group number. 

British Airways boarding pass

These are:


Group 1 – BA Gold or oneworld equivalent, First Class passengers

Group 2 – BA Silver or oneworld equivalent, Club World passengers

Group 3 – BA Bronze or oneworld equivalent, World Traveller Plus passengers

Group 4 and Group 5 – World Traveller passengers, split by row


Group 1 – BA Gold or oneworld equivalent, Club Europe

Group 2 – BA Silver or oneworld equivalent

Group 3 – BA Bronze or oneworld equivalent

Group 4 – Euro Traveller

Group 5 – Euro Traveller on a hand baggage only fare

It is not clear what will happen with mixed groups – historically there has been an informal policy that children or partners could board with higher status passengers in the same group.

The key to this new policy working will be the announcements.  All passengers will be expected to be seated by the departure gate.  They will be strongly encouraged not to congregate by the boarding area.

Only when their boarding group is announced should they stand up and make their way to the gate.  The idea is to replace what can be a scrum with a more laid back process.  It will also be easier to police hand baggage, since it will be clear to boarding staff at each stage in the process how much each group should be allowed to bring on.

Will it work?  We will see …..

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Comments (130)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • John says:

    I’ve just flown an internal Air Canada business flight and they board in zones. It made it rather smooth for a completely sold out flight, they also have a proper business class product!

  • Squalker says:

    Can’t wait to see how all those on a hand baggage only fare try to get their larger pieces of luggage in the over head lockers when they board last!

    • the real harry1 says:

      I’ll just stick mine in the CE lockers! bunch of %&%&!”

      • Rachel says:

        I like to board first when I’m in the first row of CE. That way I get to feel really superior watching all the %&%&! sitting behind me. And further behind me still 🙂

  • Wetboy1uk says:

    Completely pointless. As soon as boarding starts everyone gets up, goes into the queue, and boards irrespective of any conditions. Just came back from fll to lgw and got on the same time as business class with no questions asked even though was sitting in economy

  • ankomonkey says:

    This policy aligns well with the proposed plans from today’s other BA post. It makes sense to make economy-travelling families board last so that they can spend more time enjoying the lounges.

  • Sarah says:

    Sounds not a lot different to what happens now. Will this apply to just UK??

  • Derek Scott says:

    I doubt this will stop the congregation of passengers in front of the boarding area. What will speed up boarding is dual front & back door boarding on dense volume short haul. It takes upwards of 30 mins to board a 767 EDI-LHR as it only boards from the front. That, and being more vigilant with hand baggage people take on board

  • Will says:

    This won’t work in France 😉

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Lovely message from BA this afternoon….LHR-OSL

    Flight BA0770 on 19-Nov/LHR – Thank you for choosing to fly with British Airways today. Your flight is full and we would like to invite you to check-in your hand baggage free of charge at desks B15 and B16, prior to security. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Terminal 5

    • Graham Walsh says:

      Just at the gate now and they announced if you don’t bring your bag forward within the next 5 minutes, if the cabin storage is full when you get on board, your bag will not travel this evening.

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