To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

United Airlines passengers threatening to boycott as controversial new boarding system is introduced
Featured Image Credit: Image Source/Getty / Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

United Airlines passengers threatening to boycott as controversial new boarding system is introduced

Passengers are not happy...

If you're planning on flying with United Airlines soon, then you'll want to read this.

The popular airline has sparked controversy with its plans to change the way it boards its passengers - and the new system has come into force this week.

Known as 'WILMA', those flying economy will no longer be boarded depending on their row and it will now be dependant on their seat.

Those with a window seat will go on first, followed by middle seat passengers and, lastly, those who booked an aisle seat.

As to why United Airlines is doing this, the travel company claims it speeds up the time it takes people to board the plane, as well as helping ease congestion in the plane aisle.

'WILMA' was previously used by the airline, but it was scrapped in 2017.

It's slightly different from previous years however, as the boarding system will only affect economy passengers this time round.

United Airlines has previously used 'WILMA'.
Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

This means that first class and business class will see no change in their routine, and travellers with priority boarding passes will still get to go on first.

With the change in mind, people have shared their thoughts online.

Someone said:" With this approach, window seat passengers will have first dibs on overhead bins.

"Unless the gate personnel strictly enforce the 2 item rule, I predict some interesting dialogue and disruptions to occur during boarding."

"What about families in all 3 seats, having to board separately," questioned someone else.

Meanwhile, someone even threatened to boycott the airline altogether.

They said: "Well, not flying United. I’m an aisle girlie and now I’m always going to lose out on overhead space."

Some people think using 'WILMA' is a bad idea.

Others have hailed 'WILMA' as a 'brilliant' idea, though.

"I think it’s brilliant! If they only let everyone bring 1 bag for overhead then luggage won’t be an issue. If they have more than 1 then make them bag," wrote one person on TikTok.

"I literally have been saying this for years!!" added a second.

Someone else weighed in: "Hell yeah. I just had this conversation with a couple on a plane. I had the window seat and they were sitting first when arrived. Makes more sense!"

However, it has been argued that 'WILMA' isn't actually the fastest boarding system for planes, and that the 'Steffen Method' is.

There are concerns that those who board last won't have overhead cabin space.

Results from a study published in Journal of Air Transport Management in 2012 found that it was faster than both 'WILMA', and nearly twice as fast as the rear-to-front method.

Simply Flying said that the 'Steffen Method' is where 'priority is given to passengers who need extra time to board, such as those with disabilities and people traveling with young children'.

"Then, beginning in the plane's rear, individuals with window seat assignments begin boarding in alternating rows on one side of the plane, followed by the opposite side," the website added.

In light of the concerns about overhead luggage space on flights, United Airlines has insisted that it is 'working to ensure there’s room for everyone’s bag in the overhead bin'.

The airline said in a comment to UNILAD continued: "Our new signature interior features the largest overhead bins available, currently offered on 125 planes.

"We’ll receive more than 100 brand-new aircraft next year and are updating our current fleet with these new interiors."

Topics: Travel, US News