If you are a minimalist flier, you are in luck when flying American Airlines. If you have no overhead luggage you will be able to board between Groups 1 and 2. Your carry on item must fit in the seat in front of you to qualify. I actually like this new policy as those fliers take up no time in the boarding process and take their seat quickly. It is putting your luggage up above that can take forever!

You will still be boarding after quite a few people, including First Class, Business Class, Uniformed Military, Executive Platinum, Platinum, Gold, Priorirty Access, and Group 1. On those Monday morning and Thursday evening flights, that could account for more than half the plane! Still having the ability to board sooner than later if you desire is a nice perk.

You can learn more about this process and just the general boarding process for American here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • Tony said,

    What would really smooth things out is, if the gate agents really eyes those people who have carry on bags that are MUCH too big (and you can spot them very easily) and have them check them at the gate. This would make things quicker. I do like how the gate agents are proactive in getting people to check their bags when the flights are full. This saves time, but then again you have people who are too selfish and think they can find space and once on board they realize they can’t… THOSE are the people I would charge!!

  • Curtis said,

    I agree that this should speed up boarding. I don’t know how many times I check a bag and just have my backpack and laptop which fit under the seat, and people ahead and monkeying with the overhead storage. If they weren’t in the way, get in seat quickly and out of the way. I bet lots will fall in this category. Of course the above is only when I am still chugging my beer at the lounge and have missed priority boarding :).

  • Miles said,

    I imagine that the folks at American don’t mind that this will cause more folks to pay to check luggage.

  • Mark (@palmerlaw) said,

    Maybe I’m an outlier, but short of the benefit of getting settled into my seat for the flight, if I do not have prime seating and no need to “fight” for overhead space, I tend to not board until I must, i.e. minimize my time in a tight seat as much as possible. What’s the rush? (Cue: George Carlin’s bit on “pre-boarding” a plane.)

  • Chris said,

    Totally agree with Mark. The only time I pre-board is if I need overhead space. Otherwise I am a “final boarding call” kind of guy.

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