What is a Boarding Group?

When you travel on British Airways, American Airlines, United, Iberia, and Vueling, you’ll notice your ticket has a boarding group number printed on it. This number, 1-5 is the priority by which you’ll be asked to board the plane. Typically, group 1 goes first and 5 goes last. Let’s have a look at how British Airways manage the boarding process.

Pre-boarding

Boarding by group number is entirely separate to an airlines standard pre-boarding procedures. Passengers who require extra time or assistance with boarding will always be offered the option to board before everyone else.

Your boarding group determines how many people walk the air bridge before you
Your boarding group determines how many people walk the air bridge before you

Boarding Group 1

Short-haul
Club Europe (Business class)
Executive Club Gold Members
oneworld Emerald members

Long-haul
First
Executive Club Gold Members
oneworld Emerald members

Boarding Group 2

Short-haul
Executive Club Silver Members
oneworld Sapphire members

Long-haul
Club World (Business class)
Executive Club Silver Members
oneworld Sapphire members

Boarding Group 3

Short-haul
Executive Club Bronze Members
oneworld Ruby members

Long-haul
World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)
Executive Club Bronze Members
oneworld Ruby members

Boarding Group 4 & 5

For some reason, these are blended together, and are sometimes called at the same time as Group 3.

Short-haul
Euro Traveller (Economy)

Long-haul
World Traveller (Economy)

Passengers are asked to wait in the terminal until their group is called. Once it has been called, they can board at any time until the gate is closed for departure.

Further details about these groups can be found on the British Airways website.

Picture of the gate
Picture of the gate

If you’re flying on a hand baggage-only fare boarding first can mean whether you get a space for your luggage in the overhead compartment. With BA Executive Gold status, you move straight from Group 5 to 1. Read our evaluation on whether it’s worth getting Gold or Silver status. This might seem a worthless benefit, but with finite overhead space on short-haul flights, getting your bag on first means less chance of your carry-on bag going in the hold and less delays on arrival.

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