What is United Airlines Boarding Policies?


Nothing can start a trip off on the wrong foot like having a confusing boarding process. This issue seems to be the least priority for airlines.

The boarding process for airlines is typically not the easiest task. There are so many different types of groups and it can be hard to keep up with all of the details.

In this article, I will explain how to avoid getting stuck in a group 4 or a group 5 boarding group and how to get the most out of your flight.

Airlines have their own boarding process. It can be confusing to know what to expect when it comes to getting picked up, especially if you don’t regularly travel.

United has a very detailed boarding process. You can learn about the different groups they have, which ones are assigned, and how to make getting on the plane as stress-free as possible.

What Are The Boarding Groups Of United Airlines? 

The key thing to note is that United Airlines has six boarding groups. One of them is the pre-boarding group, while others are groups 1 to 5. The pre-boarding option is for top elites, people with disabilities, and military members.

United has 6 groups for boarding, which are Pre-boarding and numbered Groups 1 to 5.

Group 1 and Group 2 line up first to board. Groups 3 to 5 are then called to board through the green lane.

What Is The Process Of Boarding Groups On United? 

You must understand boarding groups determine who will enter the plane first and last. For instance, groups 3 to 5 are economy passengers, and they board the aircraft at the end. The airport official will call out the groups one-by-one.

If you meet some of the requirements for certain pre-boarding categories, you can board with the group that’s first for you.

The last people to join this group are Chase United Cardmembers who have a number of United credit cards.

Some of these include the Chase United Explorer Card, the United ClubSM Card, the United Presidential PlusSM Card, and the United QuestSM Card.

What Is Priority Boarding On United Airlines? 

Priority boarding allows you to enter the plane first with pre-boarding members. Typically, you will board the aircraft last if you’re in group 5. However, you can skip the hassle by getting priority boarding to enter the plane before other groups.

Passengers who do not have another elite status can also get priority boarding through their assigned group.

United says that this benefit is for passengers who want to avoid getting stuck in a group 4 or 5 since space is typically limited when it gets to these groups.

It is a new option that is likely to be very popular, though it may make it more difficult to obtain carry-on bags if you do not buy the service.

The cost of priority boarding is $15, but depending on the date and time of your flight, United may charge whatever it wants.

What Do I Need For Priority Boarding On United? 

The top thing that will help you achieve priority boarding is elite status. You can get this by spending $1,000 on United Airlines flights. Besides that, you can obtain this boarding type by buying the Chased card of this company.

Having elite status with United or using a Chase card can get priority boarding. It’s also possible to get priority boarding in business class.

What Is The Boarding Time On United Airlines? 

The boarding time varies from one flight to another and will be written on your boarding pass. However, you must remember to be within the plane 15 minutes before departure. The airline closes the gates early to fly on schedule.

Your boarding time should appear on your boarding pass. It’s also important to note that flight times are subject to change.

What Is The Boarding Time For Military Members? 

If you are an active military member, you can enter the United plane promptly with your family. This is because you will be eligible for pre-boarding. This group is seated in the plane first, and then other passengers are allowed.

Active military members can board during pre-boarding. They are not required to be in uniform.

How To Get United MileagePlus Miles? 

The best way to get miles is by flying with the loyalty program of United. You can also get a credit card affiliated with this airline. After that, you will receive miles for every dollar you spend using the card.

You may be thinking that flying with United is a no-brainer, but after earning miles, you will want to take advantage of the miles that are available.

To get miles, you can either earn them with a co-branded United card from Chase or transfer them to United MileagePlus.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best introductory cards for new cardholders. It has a 60,000 point bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a great rewards program and is one of the best introductory cards. It offers a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit and plenty of other travel benefits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium card that gives you access to over 1,300 international airport lounges. It also has a signup bonus of 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards Card is a great card to earn points on air travel and hotel purchases. You can also earn 3X points on dining and travel purchases.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a no-annual-fee card that gives you a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months. It also comes with a 1.5% cashback on everything that you buy. This means that after spending $20,000 in the first year, you’ll get up to $300 cashback.

After spending at least $20,000 in the first year, you can get 5% cashback on travel and 3% cashback on drugstore purchases.

The Ink Business Credit Card is our #1 recommended business card. It comes with a 100,000 sign-up bonus after spending $15,000 in the first 3 months. You can also get a cashback of $1,000 on purchases and a variety of other benefits.

The Citi Card Infinite gives you 3x on all purchases and 1x on all business categories in the first year.

The Chase Freedom Card is a no annual fee card that gives 2% cashback on the first $25,000 spent each year at office supply stores, internet, phone, and gas stations.

The Ink Business Card gives you unlimited 1% cashback on all purchases made within the first 3 months after account opening.

What Should I Know About Boarding On United Airlines? 

The first thing you must know is that the plane’s gates close 15 minutes before the departure time. So you should arrive at the airport at least an hour early. Typically, the boarding process begins 50 minutes before the flight.

Usually, arriving at least an hour before your flight’s boarding time is ideal for domestic flights. If you’re not checking bags, arrive 2 hours before the scheduled departure.

If you’re an experienced traveller, or even if you’re new to the airport, you can arrive at least an hour before the scheduled departure time.

The estimated boarding time of your flight is on your boarding pass.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the flight monitors located in the airport to see when your gate will change.

For most flights, the United Airlines app is also used to set up push notifications when boarding begins.

The planes typically start to board around 35 to 50 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Usually, I arrive at the gate around 15 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. However, if you’re flying on a large plane, you might have to arrive even earlier.

There are special rules for unaccompanied minors.

What Is The Boarding Order On United Airlines? 

Firstly, people falling into the pre-boarding group enters the plane first. These include passengers with disabilities, active military members, and top elites. After that, group 1 will board the aircraft, including business and first-class passengers.

Unaccompanied minors are children travelling without their parents or legal guardian. There are also special rules for them.

Customers with disabilities

Although it’s possible for people with visible disabilities to board the plane without any questions, they should speak to a gate agent to get priority boarding.

United Global Services members

The United Global Services elite status is not an invitation-only status. It has various requirements that you have to meet in order to get it.

Premier 1K is the second-highest level of membership. It requires various requirements to be eligible.

Star Alliance Gold members

Star Alliance Gold status is a perk that comes with certain benefits and privileges.

If you’re flying in the front row, then you’ll be able to board with Group One. On a large aircraft like the Boeing 787-9, the line can take quite along.

Premier Silver members

The lowest level of status with United Airlines is called United Premier Silver. This status can be earned with a Marriott card.

How To Get Priority Boarding Without Elite Status? 

There are various ways to get priority boarding on United Airlines without achieving elite status. For instance, you may become a member of the Premier Access membership program. Besides that, you can also get this option when flying business class.

Even if you don’t have elite status or are not flying first class, you can still get priority access by purchasing Premier Access or using an existing membership.

Premier Access is also a great option if you’re planning on getting priority boarding. It comes with exclusive security lanes and dedicated check-in lines.

The Explorer card from United is also a great option for frequent flyers. It comes with various benefits, such as free checked baggage and priority boarding.

Use the free app WalletFlo to see which credit card is the best for you. It will also allow you to track your spending and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards.

The order for economy passengers is based on the number of people on the plane. For middle-class passengers, they should get group 4, while those in the window seat should get group 3.

What Are The Classes Of United Airlines? 

There are multiple classes that United Airlines offer to all customers. You can get a seat in the Economy Plus, Basic Economy, First-Class, and Business Class sections. Typically, you can get free priority boarding if you’re in pre-boarding or group 1.

Economy Plus

If you’re a United elite customer, you’ll most likely get bumped up from economy plus to economy whenever possible.

Basic Economy

Basic economy tickets are the least expensive type of ticket. They do not come with perks like free carry on or seat selection. They are not ideal for families travelling together.

Chase Cardmembers and Star Alliance Gold members will still receive priority boarding.

If you’re in the first few groups, then you should have no issues with carrying-on bags. However, if you’re in the last group, then you might not have enough space to put your bags in the overhead bins.

Can I Choose A Seat On United Airlines? 

The good news is that you can choose your seat on the flight using the United app or website. You may also ask your lawyer to accelerate the process. If your desired seat is unavailable, you will get the next best option.

Unlike with Southwest, United’s seats are assigned. So, if you buy your ticket at the time of check-in, you’ll have a seat dedicated to you.

Final Words 

Even though it’s not an exact science, following a simple boarding process can make a huge difference in how smoothly your travel. United Airlines has a 2-lane procedure that they use on almost all of their flights.

Before travelling, make sure to thoroughly prepare yourself with all of the procedures we’ve talked about here. These will make sure that you’re ready to go when you get on the plane.

Getting priority boarding with United is very easy, and it allows you to get into the first two groups without having to queue up in the middle. If you can’t get into the first two groups, then try choosing a window seat.

James Newman

James Newman is an air travel fanatic. From the fear of flying, TSA regulations, and saving money on flights & airlines, James has extensive knowledge when it comes to air travel. He hopes to make your air travel experience a better one with his blog flyingcomfortably.com.

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