United Airlines To Implement Boarding Process That Prioritizes Window Seats

United Airlines will soon implement a boarding process that gives window-seat passengers in economy class access ahead of fellow travelers in the middle and aisle seats, according to a new report from The Washington Post.

That means no more climbing over your neighbors to get to your seat, and no need to stand up to let others find theirs.

As outlined in an internal memo obtained by The Post, beginning on October 26, United will assign passengers to seven different boarding groups. 

First-class and business-class passengers will board next, followed by window, exit row seats, and nonrevenue passengers, before middle and aisle seats are seated last. A preboarding system will still exist for customers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, and active-duty military members. 

According to the same memo, the process could save United up to two minutes of boarding time, and industry experts added that it could save the airline money, lessen the chances of delays, and potentially allow them to add more total flights.

“It is one of those situations where what’s good for the airline would probably also be good for travelers,” Going founder Scott Keyes told The Post. “That’s not always the case many times, it’s more of a zero-sum thing–but I think systems that allow airlines to board more efficiently is a win-win.”

United first used the system—named WILMA, standing for “window-middle-aisle”—in 2017 after launching basic economy seating, according to airline spokesperson Christine Salamone. Though United did not disclose to The Post when the WILMA system was paused, the airline said it has resumed the system and expanded its boarding groups from five to seven as a result of added technology.

“We’re excited to bring WILMA back to provide a smoother boarding process flow that helps get passengers in their seats even faster and saves precious time during our boarding process,” Salamone wrote in an email to The Post.

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Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University who loves beeps and boops!

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