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British Airways is introducing a boarding policy that means those buying the cheapest seats will be called last.

From 12 December, passengers will be assigned a number between 1-5 printed on boarding passes, with the highest figure reserved for economy fares.

BA said the move is about simplifying the boarding process, and bringing it into line with other carriers, including American Airlines and Iberia. But BA was accused of operating a class system and further eroding perks.

The number “one” will be given to first class passengers, with others assigned to other segments such as Executive Club or World Traveller Plus.

Passengers who are travelling with children or have mobility issues will still be able to board ahead of everyone else.

A BA spokeswoman 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 around the world for a number of years, including by our partners American Airlines, Iberia and Qatar.”

One passenger says: “It’s very Kardashian, ostentatious about wealth and status. Everyone will know how much money you’ve got based on where you are in the line”

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