Customers are expressing outrage after United Airlines announced a new boarding system that would give priority to passengers sitting in window seats.
The new boarding method known as WILMA will impact those flying economy on United flights across the U.S. Under the new system, window seat passengers will enter the plane first regardless of their row.
Those with middle seats in the aircraft will then board the plane, followed by those in aisle seats.
WILMA was previously used on United flights but was disbanded in 2017.
“By doing this, we’re saving two minutes,” Linda Jojo, United’s chief customer service officer, said on TODAY. “So, if we can get two minutes back on this flight and two minutes back on the next flight, we’re gonna help, especially those customers traveling later in the day to be closer on time.”
The airline noted that priority passengers and those in business class will still board first and families will still be able to board together.
United also attempted to assuage concerns about luggage, claiming that their fleet will be retrofitted with larger overhead bin space. The change, United said, should allow all passengers to store one carry-on in the compartments.
The change was put in place on October 26, just ahead of the holiday season.
However, United flyers were shocked by the announcement and voiced their displeasure on social media.
X user Ross Smith expressed concern that the new approach would allow window seat passengers to 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,” she said.
“@united don’t like your new boarding policy according to if you pick an aisle, middle, or window seat, if aisle seats board last charge less for that seat,” another user said.
Several other accounts called for boycotts against the airline.
“Well, I’m not flying United,” one TikTok user said. “I’m an aisle girlie and now I’m always going to lose out on overhead space.”
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