BA sparks fears of overhead space rush with new rules
Passengers buying British Airways’ cheapest fares could find all of the overhead baggage space taken up when they board, once a new BA boarding system begins.
The airline says it will introduce a new group boarding system on all its flights from December 12. From that day, passengers will be assigned a group numbered between one and five when they check in.
The priority group, group one, will be First Class passengers and Gold members of the BA Executive Club. Groups four and five will be the lowest tier economy passengers, the latter reserved to those buying the cheapest hand-luggage-only fares. These passengers will board last.
The new system raises the potential problem of passengers who paid the lowest hand-baggage-only fares finding no room left for their carry-ons because all of the space in the overhead lockers has already been filled. Bags will then have to be taken from them and put into the hold, TTG Media writes.
The new policy has attracted a lot of criticism on social media, with at least one passenger criticising the airline for highlighting the already rigid differences between those who pay the lowest and highest fares.
However, advocates of the system point out that US carriers have been using the policy for some time now.
BA did not answer specific questions about the potential difficulties the new system could bring but said, “This method is an evolution of our long-established boarding process and has been used by airlines around the world for a number of years, including by our partners American Airlines, Iberia and Qatar.”