what's the deal with boarding group 1?

What's the deal with United Airlines' [so-called] Boarding Group 1? It happened to me twice this past weekend.

We flew from SFO to DCA on Friday morning. After relaxing in the United Club, we left the lounge in time to reach the gate as boarding was scheduled to begin. Alas, boarding had already begun. We queued up at the back of an inexplicably long line of passengers in Boarding Group 1.

So when we flew back from IAD to SFO on Sunday afternoon, we made it a point to leave the Club to reach the gate early. The same long line was queued up behind the Boarding Group 1 sign, so we walked up closer to the podium to listen as the gate agent invited different groups to preboard... disabled passengers... families with children under 2... active members of the military... Global Services... 4K... and?

What about paid First Class passengers? Nope, the Gate Agent then invited the entire line of passengers queued up in the Boarding Group 1 line to board. It seemed that half the plane was in that line.

Why were they there? Was it by virtue of holding a United credit card? Explanation, please!

I consider this an inexplicable lapse of customer care, not to mention common sense. Does a company not want to extend recognition to those customers who paid the highest fare for their seats? (Many Global Services and 4K pax likely purchased coach tickets and were upgraded). Doesn't United think that its best customers deserve early boarding? Does the airline not care that they are also devaluing their United Club product, intended to provide customers a haven of seclusion before leisurely boarding their flights? Fly the friendly skies? Hah!

Now, once on the plane, First Class passengers do get what they've paid for. Plenty of space to stretch your legs. A wide arm rest rather than an all-too-close passenger wedged into a middle seat. Free and mostly decent meals. Complimentary alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. Freshly baked chocolate cookies near the end of the flight. Service and attention from the flight attendants.

Is anyone from United listening? I'd love to hear your response.

copyright (c) 2019 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

No comments: