“Pay Least, board last”: British Airways announces new policy.

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British Airways

(Evening Standard) British Airways announced that it would be imposing a “pay least, board last” policy.

The airline announced that travellers with the cheapest tickets will be held back at the departures gate until others who paid more board the plane.

Economy passengers travelling with hand luggage only will be given low priority seats as opposed to Gold members of the British Airways Executive Club, Club Europe and first class passengers who will be prioritised under the new system.

The announcement came in the British Airways internal newsletter that was first published in The Independent.

It read: “Group boarding simplifies the process, making it easier for customers to understand the boarding sequence at the gate.”

The new policy sparked outrage on Twitter.

One user who goes by the name of Banjobob wrote: “Nothing quite like a British class system to let you know your place!”

Another wrote: “British Airways passengers to board in order of their ticket price. This would put Britain’s flagship carrier on a par with Ryanair.”

Vanessa V wrote: “I thought airlines have always done this? If people are prepared to pay way more for a seat that is essentially the same that’s on them. Equally, how sad do you have to be as a person to find your worth in an airline seat?!”

Ben Rattigan wrote: “BA’s obsession with its status will bring the airline down. It’s happened in every other industry, it’s change or die time for them.

Gareth Miers saw the positive side, he said: “Who cares what time you get on the plane? Last on…spend less time in an air taxi like a sardine. Why sit on a plane longer than necesaary!?”

A spokes person for British Airways said:

“We are always looking at ways to improve and simplify the airport experience for our customers. Earlier this year we were the first UK airline to introduce automated biometric technology, with the launch of self-service boarding gates, and we also installed self-service bag drop points at Heathrow and Gatwick giving our customers an even quicker check-in experience.

Next month we are introducing new boarding procedures to speed up the process and make it simpler for customers to understand. This method has been used by airlines around the world for a number of years, including by our partners American Airlines, Iberia and Qatar.”

The airline said that passengers will be given a number on their boarding card which indicates what they should listen out for rather than complicated lists of various status on partner airlines and seat rows.

The new policy will be implemented on 12 December.

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