Alaska follows recent announcements from American and United in changing its boarding process. Begining July 18, Alaska will roll out a simplified boarding process for its “guests” (passengers). According to Alaska’s blog:
At one point or another, you’ve probably seen a big queue of people – let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just a shapeless blob – that forms when people aren’t sure if it’s their time to board.
The “shapeless blob” might be the best (and nicest) description I’ve seen for utter chaos that ensues during boarding. Alaska says there will be no need to line up in advance, simply “approach the gate when your group is announced.”
Four New Groups
Alaska’s boarding process divides “guests” into four different groups. After pre-boarding, active duty military, and first class, Alaska will board according to the following groups:
Group A: Million Milers, Alaska Mileage Plan MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold
Group B: Alaska Mileage Plan MVPs, Premium Class
Group C: Remaining guests seated in the back half of the aircraft
Group D: Remaining guests seated in the front half of the aircraft
New Boarding Passes
A new boarding pass design will better display key travel information: gate and boarding time. Alaska apparently tested passengers – guests, rather – who were able to quickly identify the “big and bold” information they needed. Alaska did not announce whether it would make changes to mobile boarding passes.
Approximately 30 to 35 minutes prior to departure, gate agents will make an initial announcement. After an announcement to gather your belongings but not line up, boarding will continue in approximately five-minute intervals.