British Airways will introduce a new boarding policy from December, but despite reports claiming it'll force those with hand-luggage only tickets to board last, it insists that decision has not yet been made.

Those with premium class tickets or with higher status in its Executive Club scheme will continue to go first, though these passengers will be split into a priority order.

The key question for people who fly in economy is how the boarding order for them will be determined. The reason for the ambiguity appears to be that the story was broken by The Independent over the weekend before BA was ready to make an announcement.

We therefore don't know yet for certain if anything substantial will change. That report said that among economy passengers, those who buy a cheaper, hand-luggage only ticket would board after other economy passengers who'd paid for baggage to go in the hold. While that may well happen, BA has not confirmed this.

What order will customers board? What we know so far

All BA is confirming is that from 12 December, like some other airlines, it'll split boarding into five groups.

On short-haul flights the boarding order will be:

Group one – Executive Club Gold members and business class passengers (in Club Europe)
Group two – Executive Club Silver members
Group three – Executive Club Bronze members
Groups four and five – Economy passengers (in Euro Traveller) - exact order TBC

On long-haul flights the boarding order will be:

Group one – Executive Club Gold members and first class passengers
Group two – Executive Club Silver members and business class passengers (in Club World)
Group three – Executive Club Bronze members and premium economy passengers (in World Traveller Plus)
Groups four and five – Economy class passengers (in World Traveller) - exact order TBC

Note: those with young children or mobility issues will continue to board before everyone else.

I've got a hand-luggage only ticket. Will my bags be put in the hold?

If those with hand-luggage only tickets do board last, inevitably, there's more chance the overhead compartments will be full.

BA says if that's the case - as happens now - passengers will have to put hand luggage in the hold, but it won't charge them.

Martin Lewis
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What does BA say?

A BA spokesperson said: "We are always looking at ways to improve and simplify the airport experience for our customers.

"Next month we are introducing new boarding procedures to speed up the process and make it simpler for customers to understand. This method has been used by airlines."

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