One airline is betting that customers will pay for the perk of boarding early. United Airlines has announced that it will begin charging a new fee for passengers who want to board in Group 2. People who fly frequently with United are probably already aware of the fact that Group 2 is the airline's priority boarding group. However, the new fee-based entry policy will allow anyone willing to pay $9 to enjoy the privilege of boarding with United's elite travelers.
This boarding option was previously only available to the airline's elite passengers. Members who fall into the categories of Premier Gold, Star Alliance Gold, Premier Silver and Star Alliance Silver are currently able to board in Group 2 without a fee. In addition, some cardholders are allowed to take advantage of the perk. United's decision to allow anyone to enjoy Group 2 boarding for a fee of $9 is sure to ruffle a few feathers among the airline's elite customers. It's not unreasonable to expect that the new option being offered to passengers could cause some overcrowding issues during the window for early boarding on some flights. United Airlines has stated that the availability of Group 2 boarding for customers who pay the fee will be based on factors such as the date, time and specific flight details at hand.
Is paying a $9 fee to board with Group 2 worth it for most customers? People boarding in this category won't actually be the first to arrive on the plane. Passengers with active military status, families with children, First Class travelers, Business Class travelers, Premier 1K members and Platinum members would have boarded by the time Group 2 is permitted on a flight.