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A Guide to United Airlines Boarding Groups and Boarding Procedure

There is nothing that can start your holiday or business trip off on the wrong foot quite like a very confusing and frustrating boarding process before you even get into the plane. Airline carriers, however, do not seem to recognize this problem. Either that, or it’s not a major priority. Every airline carrier has their own boarding process. Here is a brief guide to United Airlines boarding groups and boarding procedure. They are all different, they sometimes make little sense, and if you don’t travel regularly, you might have a little trouble over understanding what’s going on. Especially when it’s time to board your flight.

Recently, United Airlines has made a couple of changes to their boarding process. Thus, for the average flyer, these changes may be quite a bit overwhelming to follow. But, fret not, this guide is just for you.

In this travel guide prepared by Treknova, we will take a look at the details about United Airlines’ boarding groups and how to get from the gate onto the plane with ease.

Temporary Changes in United Airlines Boarding Groups and Boarding Procedure

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines Check-in and Boarding Pass has made some temporary changes to their standard boarding process.

Following the recent changes, United will now board passengers from the back of the plane to the front in small groups. This is to allow for better distancing and minimise crowding. Also, passengers will de-board the aircraft from front to back.

Additionally, United requires all passengers and crew to wear a mask throughout their flight. Masks are also provided at no extra cost if customers need them. The airline carrier has not instituted capacity restrictions for their flights. However, if there are more than 70% seats that have already booked, then the passengers can move to another flight instead.

An Overview of United Airlines Boarding Groups

In the following section, we will provide you an insight on United Airlines’ boarding groups, so that you will not get confused while boarding your flight.

There are a total of six boarding groups, where each group is created for its respective passenger handling task. These boarding groups are:

  • Pre-boarding
  • Group 1
  • Group 2
  • Groups 3-5

Each passenger is assigned to one of these groups for boarding, and there are lines for each group set up at the gate. If you qualify for certain pre-boarding or membership categories, you can board ahead of your assigned group. In all cases, you can board with the first group you qualify for.

Many procedures can be accomplished with United Airlines Manage Booking. These boarding groups of United Airlines are explained below.


This group includes the following categories of passengers:

  • Customers with disabilities
  • Active members of the military
  • United Global Services members
  • Families travelling with children aged 2 and younger
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Premier 1K members

Group 1

This group includes the following categories of passengers:

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

Group 2

This group includes the following categories of passengers:

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

Groups 3-5

Lastly, these groups include the following categories of passengers:

  • Economy Plus
  • United Economy
  • Basic Economy

Customers who have purchased a Basic Economy ticket will be in the last boarding group, except for Premier members, Chase Card members of qualifying cards and Star Alliance Gold members, who will still receive their priority boarding.

A Note on United’s Priority Boarding

United’s Priority Boarding is marketed to those passengers who do not have any other elite status or card membership, and it would allow them to board ahead of their assigned group. Therefore, passengers who purchase Priority Boarding will be able to board with Group 2.

Furthermore, United says that this is a good opportunity for passengers to make sure there will be a place for their carry-on bag, since space often runs out by the time they get to Group 4 and 5. As it is a fairly new option, it remains to be seen how popular Priority Boarding will be and whether it will, in fact, make it more difficult to get your carry-on bag onboard if you don’t purchase the service.

Priority Boarding starts at $9, however, pricing will be variable based on the flight booked, date, time of day, and day of the week. In other words, they can charge whatever they want for the service. Hopefully, pricing will remain rather low.

Tips for a Smooth and Hassle-free Boarding on Your United Flight

Here are some tips and helpful information to make your boarding experience on a United Airlines flight smooth and convenient. Also know about How To Complaint To United Airlines Customer Service, It helps a lot in bad timings.

Arriving at the gate

You will want to allow enough time to make your way to the gate, and your boarding pass will tell you when to expect boarding to start and end. For most flights, you can opt in to receive a United mobile app push notification that lets you know when boarding has started. That way, you can relax or enjoy the airport’s amenities until you need to be at your gate. To receive the notification, make sure you have enabled app notifications and have your mobile boarding pass added to the app’s wallet.

Listen for your boarding group number

Take a look at the boarding group number that is listed on your boarding pass, and listen for announcements from your gate agents as well. They will let you know when your group can board. You can also view the digital displays around the gate area to see what groups are currently boarding.

Find your seat and put your carry-on bags away

Once you have found your seat on board, place your larger carry-on baggage in the overhead compartment above your row and your smaller personal item under the seat in front of you. This helps ensure that everybody has space to store their bags.

Priority Boarding

You can purchase Priority Boarding to avoid the lines and board earlier. With this, you can enjoy the convenience of getting on board and to your seat sooner.

Premier Access

If you would like to be among the first to board and get settled in earlier, you may also consider purchasing Premier Access. In addition to Priority Boarding, you will be enjoying the convenience of dedicated airport check-in for united airlines lines and exclusive security lanes, as well.


No matter how complex an airline’s boarding process may be, it is usually fairly easy to follow if you know what to expect before you get to the gate. United Airlines provides a detailed procedure that they use on almost all of their flights all over the world. Thus, knowing where you fit into that process can simplify your travel experience. Even if you understand the current boarding process, however, the new temporary boarding process in testing and the Priority Boarding available for purchase may change the boarding process for your specific flight or situation.

Additionally, to best prepare for your flight, be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the possible procedures we have provided you through this guide. That way, no matter what happens, you will be ready to go and be on the plane with ease.

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