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United Airlines is making big changes to its boarding process

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Mike Timmermann, Clark.com

When you fly, does the big crowd of people gathering at the gate stress you out? United Airlines has totally revamped its boarding process to address customer complaints.

The biggest change? United has reduced the number of boarding lanes from five to two.

RELATED: What you need to know before you fly United Airlines

United changes its boarding process: Here’s a look at the new boarding groups 

With the simplified gate layout, Group 1 passengers will board through the blue lane and Group 2 passengers will board through the green lane, followed by the remaining groups.

Late arriving customers in Group 1 and Group 2 will still be able to use the blue lane.

Pre-boarding

  1. Unaccompanied minors
  2. Customers with disabilities
  3. Active members of the military
  4. United Global Services members
  5. Families traveling with children age 2 and younger
  6. Premier 1K members

Group 1

    • Premier Platinum members
    • Premier Gold members
    • Star Alliance Gold members
    • Customers seated in premium cabins: United Polaris, United First and United Business

Group 2

  • Premier Silver members
  • Star Alliance Silver members
  • Customers who have purchased Premier Access or Priority Boarding
  • United Explorer, Club, Presidential Plus and Awards Cardmembers

Groups 3 – 5

  • Economy Plus
  • United Economy
  • Basic Economy*

*Basic Economy passengers will be in the last boarding group, except for Premier members, Chase cardholders of qualifying cards and Star Alliance Gold members.

In a news release to announce the changes, United said digital displays have been upgraded to let you know when to board and app users can opt-in to receive boarding alerts.

United officials said they tested a number of boarding processes over the past year until they got it just right.

“The boarding process was one of the top areas customers told us they wanted improved,” said Sarah Murphy, vice president of Global Operations Strategy, Planning and Design at United. “We listened to customers and employees as we tested a variety of processes on thousands of flights until we found a better boarding process that results in less time spent waiting in lines, improved communication and a better way to recognize our Premier customers while balancing out the number of passengers in each boarding group.”

American and Delta have implemented similar systems in hopes of reducing overcrowding at airport gates. Let us know what you think about United’s changes below!

More Clark.com stories about travel: 

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