On December 12, 2017, British Airways will introduce a “group boarding” system on its flights, which means that the passengers who pay less for their tickets should wait at the departure gate until those who pay more have boarded.

The announcement of the upcoming changes was made in the airline's internal newsletter. According to it, all passengers will receive a group number from one to five and “this number will then be displayed prominently on the boarding pass, printed or mobile,” British Airways says in the newsletter.

The travelers with the lowest number will be able to board the first.  Gold members of the British Airways Executive Club, as well as first-class passengers on long-haul flights and business class passengers on short-haul flights, will be assigned to the group number one. Silver members and Club World passengers on long-haul flights go next under number two. Group three will consist of Bronze Executive Club members and passengers in World Traveler Plus, the carrier's premium economy.

Economy passengers with no special status will be in group four.  The passengers who travel on the cheapest, hand-baggage only trips will the last in the line for boarding – their group will be number five.

Passengers who are flying with small children and travelers with mobility issues will still be able to board ahead of everyone else, the Independent informs.

“Next month we are looking at introducing new boarding procedures to further improve the customer journey by creating a number of groups to speed up the process,” a spokesperson for BA said to the Independent. “This method has been used by airlines around the world for a number of years, including by our partners American Airlines, Iberia, and Qatar."

The new boarding policy caused controversy among many customers. For example, Twitter user Tomas wrote that “boarding by the price of a ticket and not from rear to front in the main cabin is a recipe for disaster.”

Another user Jord wrote: “We always wait until last to board cos we don't want to be cooped up on the plane any longer than necessary been upgraded to speedy boarding for our next trip and don't really see what difference it will make but we'll see. ”