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United Airlines tests new boarding process at Los Angeles International Airport

Passengers wait in line to check-in at the United terminal at LAX Wednesday June 20, 2007. United A
Passengers wait in line to check in at the United terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. United Airlines is testing a new way to board passengers on planes to reduce congestion and frustration.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

United Airlines, the third-largest carrier at Los Angeles International Airport, has started trying out a new way to board passengers that might cut back on confusion and frustration.

“We’ve been testing different processes and soliciting feedback to find a more customer-friendly boarding method that also helps employees,” the airline said in a statement, adding that LAX was selected for the test because it has a good mixture of aircraft and travelers.

In the past, the Chicago-based carrier directed passengers at the airport terminals to queue up in five different lanes before the fliers were invited to board.

Under the test, which started earlier this month and will last 30 days, United will still assign air travelers to five different groups. But the airline will create only two lanes in the boarding area, instead of five.

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Group one will board through the first lane and group two will board through the second lane. Once those passengers are on the plane, groups three through five will be called in order to board through the second lane, leaving the first lane open for any latecomers from the first two groups, United said.

The new process will reduce the congestion around the boarding area by asking most fliers to remain seated while others are boarding or getting off the plane, the airline said in a message on its website.

“Fewer lines will create more space and easier access to the boarding door for customers exiting the plane from the previous flight and during preboarding,” the airline said.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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