My days of Boarding Group 1 are long gone. With that being said, first off, you can make sure you’re never in Boarding Group 5 with the United MileagePlus Explorer credit card (which gives you Boarding Group 2).
Learn more about the United MileagePlus Explorer Card
Ever since United switched to a revenue-based model, I’ve had no motivation to chase status anymore. Since I’d rather chase fare deals instead, it always happens that I reach all of the premier qualifying miles flying requirements, but never the yearly spend.
Up until recently, I kept getting stuck with the dreaded “Boarding Group 5” label stamped on my ticket and, I couldn’t figure out why! I always check in immediately within 24 hours. Sometimes I’m stuck buying a higher fare class. So what gives?
Aside from being the last chump to board, other downfalls include having to gate check your bag when the overhead bins fill up, and I can imagine I’d be the first one to go when it comes to being involuntarily denied boarding on an over-sold flight.
For those unfamiliar, United boards flights in a 5-group process, and it looks like this:
- Group 1 – First/Business Class passengers, Premier 1K, and Platinum members
- Group 2 – For Chase United MileagePlus credit card holders (Learn more about the United MileagePlus Explorer Card)
, Gold and Silver members
- Group 3 – General Boarding Economy
- Group 4 – General Boarding Economy
- Group 5 – General Boarding Economy
Of course, uniformed military personnel, families traveling with small children, and customers needing assistance are also offered priority boarding.
But here is the magic of it all…
Choose a window seat and you’ll get Boarding Group 3!
I finally discovered the formula. I was always stuck in Boarding Group 5 because I always pick an aisle seat!
So now when I see that my flight is looking mighty full, and I’m nervous about the possibility of having to check my carryon (especially when you DO NOT want your bag checked to the “final destination”), I’m simply avoiding the aisle.
What do you think about United’s Boarding process? Did you know about how Boarding Groups 3, 4, and 5 were determined for status-less customers?