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Forums Frequent flyer programs British Airways Executive Club Is there any way to get into higher boarding groups without status?

  • spellman 32 posts

    Recently flew two short haul Avios redemption flights with the family. Hand-baggage only.

    Don’t have any BA status, so on the way out, we were boarding group 8 (booked row 13 seats via online check-in), was forced to check-in hand luggage at the gate by the time they got to board our group.

    On the return flight, I booked seats further back (row 24) but ended up in boarding group 6, and exactly the same happened.

    Just wondered if there’s a non-status trick to getting into the higher boarding groups and actually being able to carry on one’s carry-ons!

    Regards

    Neil

    PeteM 778 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    yonasl 976 posts

    People with babies, needing a wheelchair or mobility issues board first.

    Sometimes you get to board first if you give your hand luggage for check-in (which defeats your purpose).

    ukpolak 73 posts

    Not an easy one but with two young children, we’re always invited to board first on short or long haul under the usual “passengers with children or who would appreciate extra time boarding” (ie including elderly or frail) announcement which seems to trump the letters or numbers denoting boarding priority in my experience.

    Although I have seen it backfire when those privileged status members first on the transfer bus (if no jetway) and have to sit waiting for everyone else to disembark plane / fill up bus, sometimes in sweltering heat and no air con.

    spellman 32 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    No, I’d always expect to be down the pecking order when it comes to status (ie groups 1-3), but on a flight with mostly holiday makers, I would imagine most would have similar BA status, so how do they categorise groups 4-9? Is it based on row? i.e. they board the back of the plane first, so you’re more likely to get a lower boarding group if you’re seated towards the back?

    PeteM 778 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    No, I’d always expect to be down the pecking order when it comes to status (ie groups 1-4), but on a flight with mostly holiday makers, I would imagine most would have similar BA status, so how do they categorise groups 4-8? Is it based on row? i.e. they board the back of the plane first, so you’re more likely to get a lower boarding group if you’re seated towards the back?

    I believe it is based on booking classes. So the less you paid, the further back you will be. I suspect if you check the classes on the flights you took you’ll find your return booking class was higher than outbound.

    JDB 4,643 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    No, I’d always expect to be down the pecking order when it comes to status (ie groups 1-4), but on a flight with mostly holiday makers, I would imagine most would have similar BA status, so how do they categorise groups 4-8? Is it based on row? i.e. they board the back of the plane first, so you’re more likely to get a lower boarding group if you’re seated towards the back?

    I think you will find that many of the “holiday makers” either have status (a doddle to get at least silver these days) or are travelling in CE so I’m not sure why you are expecting to be in groups 1-4 while they should be relegated to the lower orders if you are are the one with no status and an economy ticket.

    spellman 32 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    No, I’d always expect to be down the pecking order when it comes to status (ie groups 1-4), but on a flight with mostly holiday makers, I would imagine most would have similar BA status, so how do they categorise groups 4-8? Is it based on row? i.e. they board the back of the plane first, so you’re more likely to get a lower boarding group if you’re seated towards the back?

    I think you will find that many of the “holiday makers” either have status (a doddle to get at least silver these days) or are travelling in CE so I’m not sure why you are expecting to be in groups 1-4 while they should be relegated to the lower orders if you are are the one with no status and an economy ticket.

    I’m not expecting anything – I’m asking if there’s any science or tricks to getting into lower boarding groups with no status, as per the subject line.

    If there’s not, there’s not.

    Anna 458 posts

    It seems blindingly obvious to me that people who already have hold baggage should be the ones to check in their hand baggage. We’re got a MAN connection tomorrow and I can guarantee that as I’m Silver (easily acquired, as per @JDB!) we won’t be required to check in our hand luggage but we’ll volunteer if asked because it makes complete sense – we’re going to be heading to the T3 carousel bunker regardless!

    spellman 32 posts

    You mean a trick that would mean status passengers that spend significantly more than you with BA should have to check their bags instead of you?

    No, I’d always expect to be down the pecking order when it comes to status (ie groups 1-4), but on a flight with mostly holiday makers, I would imagine most would have similar BA status, so how do they categorise groups 4-8? Is it based on row? i.e. they board the back of the plane first, so you’re more likely to get a lower boarding group if you’re seated towards the back?

    I believe it is based on booking classes. So the less you paid, the further back you will be. I suspect if you check the classes on the flights you took you’ll find your return booking class was higher than outbound.

    They were reward flights so likely the lowest of the booking classes then?

    Anna 458 posts

    I think reward bookings are technically “above” HBO fares?

    PeteM 778 posts

    I think reward bookings are technically “above” HBO fares?

    Correct, there is no HBO Avios redemption options. But I think there’s a couple of redemption fare types on short haul too?

    yonasl 976 posts

    Jokes apart, OP’s question is fair. On a SH flight how can you have your to Group 8?

    – 1: Gold
    – 2: Business / Silver
    – 3-8 economy classes?

    So fair to ask if maybe getting a different seat will allow you to be called to the gate earlier.

    That said, other than in Asia where proper queues exist for the different classes/status holders, in EMEA it is rare when people don’t all rush to the queue at the same time regardless.

    AJA 1,128 posts

    The only way you could have a higher boarding group, other than being disabled, is to pay for a CE reward ticket. You will then likely be group 2 or possibly group 1

    jml930 5 posts

    Not an easy one but with two young children, we’re always invited to board first on short or long haul under the usual “passengers with children or who would appreciate extra time boarding” (ie including elderly or frail) announcement which seems to trump the letters or numbers denoting boarding priority in my experience.

    No offence to you. But BAs policy of boarding families with young children drives me nuts.
    Business / Gold left standing around for ages whilst a herd of children get pushed up to the front. I think. BA are the only airline that do it. Of course. Anyone needing special assistance should be given priority.

    Anna 458 posts

    I concur, and certainly when my son was small he preferred being able to move around than being crammed into his seat while everyone else boarded!

    Olly 249 posts

    @Anna you were under no obligation to board first. If that was the case why didn’t you wait until everyone else was on board?

    SteveJ 1,004 posts

    Isn’t the answer to OPs question to pick a seat at the back of the plane if travelling Economy with no Status?

    AFAIK those needing assistance go first, then status and CE. After that the boarding groups usually start at the back of Economy and make their way to the front of Economy.

    tba87 2 posts

    Not an easy one but with two young children, we’re always invited to board first on short or long haul under the usual “passengers with children or who would appreciate extra time boarding” (ie including elderly or frail) announcement which seems to trump the letters or numbers denoting boarding priority in my experience.

    No offence to you. But BAs policy of boarding families with young children drives me nuts.
    Business / Gold left standing around for ages whilst a herd of children get pushed up to the front. I think. BA are the only airline that do it. Of course. Anyone needing special assistance should be given priority.

    I can understand why this may cause you some frustration (I used to think the same thing) but, as the registered keeper of two children under four years old, I now think it makes a lot of sense. Those with young families often have a pushchair to drop off at the door and generally take longer to get seated, remove inflight essentials and settle down. The cabin crew also get a little extra time to ready seatbelt loops for lap infants and correctly sized life jackets. BA’s policy may inconvenience status passengers a little but I imagine, overall, this is outweighed by getting the aircraft off (somewhere near) on-time.

    tba87 2 posts

    I can understand why this may cause you some frustration (I used to think the same thing) but, as the registered keeper of two children under four years old, I now think it makes a lot of sense. Those with young families often have a pushchair to drop off at the door and generally take longer to get seated, remove inflight essentials and settle down. The cabin crew also get a little extra time to ready seatbelt loops for lap infants and correctly sized life jackets. BA’s policy may inconvenience status passengers a little but I imagine, overall, this is outweighed by getting the aircraft off (somewhere near) on-time.

    spellman 32 posts

    Isn’t the answer to OPs question to pick a seat at the back of the plane if travelling Economy with no Status?

    AFAIK those needing assistance go first, then status and CE. After that the boarding groups usually start at the back of Economy and make their way to the front of Economy.

    That was my thinking but was just speculation.

    It was just rather disappointing having 23kg of luggage allowance each, choosing NOT to use it (BA benefits on 70kG weight/fuel saving) and carry on HBO and then be forced to check them in anyway because the overhead bins were filled by groups 1-6.

    Our return flight was sweltering hot upon boarding (APU failure, no air conditioning) and over an hour late, and then having to wait for baggage at midnight was the icing on the cake. Cabin service was patchy (no complimentary water handed out to several rows, and then snarky replies when we asked for a glass of water) and the gate staff were snappy and rude (probably annoyed at having to tag all the hand luggage).

    A timely reminder why I rarely fly BA these days!

    Andrew. 511 posts

    Seats at the very back are great at some airports. Edinburgh in particular you are far better off in the last couple of rows in economy than the first couple of rows in economy as they invariably disembark and board from both front and rear doors.

    ukpolak 73 posts

    Fully agree.

    The irony of having two younger children on LH flights is that we’re inclined to limit hand luggage to just stuff for the kids which can easily go under the seat in front of them, eg the Bose noise cancelling headsets unfortunately haven’t seen the light of day since our children were born, so they’re never packed! So the overhead bins are empty above us, however our suitcases are maxed out to the limit.

    We tend to delay boarding only to maximise “on ground” time to stretch legs etc, despite the invitations to board earlier if we choose.

    I’m grateful for BA’s inclusive policies and recognition that there’s a limit to monetising things like this.

    Anna 458 posts

    @Olly, we didn’t, I thought that was clear from my post?!

    Luca M 391 posts

    Jokes apart, OP’s question is fair. On a SH flight how can you have your to Group 8?

    – 1: Gold
    – 2: Business / Silver
    – 3-8 economy classes?

    So fair to ask if maybe getting a different seat will allow you to be called to the gate earlier.

    That said, other than in Asia where proper queues exist for the different classes/status holders, in EMEA it is rare when people don’t all rush to the queue at the same time regardless.

    Pretty sure (checked my Apple Wallet expired passes) on short haul

    – 1: Gold / Business
    – 3: Bronze
    – 4-8: Economy

    BA priority line is in fact 1-3

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