United Airlines is updating its boarding procedure this month, allowing travelers in window and middle seats to board earlier in an effort to speed up the process.
The new procedure, which is called “WILMA” for window, middle, and aisle, will go into effect on Oct. 26, according to an internal United memo obtained by Travel + Leisure. The procedure saves up to two minutes of boarding time, according to the airline.
The boarding procedure was used prior to 2017 when United introduced its carry-on restricted basic economy fare. Technical advancements have now allowed United to bring it back, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed T+L.
Ahead of its return, United has tested it in four domestic line stations and one hub.
Similar to the current procedure, the boarding process will start with pre-boarding customers with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, active-duty military, global service members, families traveling with young children 2 and under, and United Premier 1K members. Customers in United Polaris business class, United first class, and other premium cabins as well as status holders will then be able to board.
The airline will then board customers sitting in window seats or exit rows. New this month, the airline will next board customers in middle seats, followed by passengers sitting in aisle seats.
Finally, United will board customers sitting in basic economy, which does not include a carry-on bag in the price of their ticket, as well as passengers who don’t have a boarding group listed on their boarding pass.
Each airline boards its planes differently. Southwest, for example, famously doesn’t assign seats ahead of time and allows customers to pay for an earlier boarding group.
Boarding earlier also makes it more likely there will be space for a passengers’ carry-on bag in the overhead luggage bin.
This isn’t the only change United is making. This summer, United upgraded its app to allow customers to automatically rebook if their flight was delayed or canceled as well as request meal, hotel, or ground transportation vouchers.