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GUIDE: AA Boarding Priority, Order and Related Issues (as of 2018)

GUIDE: AA Boarding Priority, Order and Related Issues (as of 2018)

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Old Jun 14, 19, 9:51 am   -   Wikipost
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Wiki Link
Guide to AA Boarding Priority, Order and Times
including minimum gate arrival time to board

Link to "Boarding Process" page on aa.com

See the current charts in Post #1.

CURRENT Boarding process as of Apr 2018

(NOTE: The archived thread discussing the announcement, etc. can be read here: ARCHIVE: AA announces new boarding policy effective 1 March 2017

NOTE: Changes have been implemented 01 March 2017, as tweeted by JonNYC. See American Airlines announces new boarding policy effective 1 March 2017

Link to March 1 boarding process on aa.com.

On March 1, 2017, American Airlines will launch a new, simplified boarding process. In the future, all customers will be assigned a group number (1 through 9) based on their ticket type, elite status level and priority. We will call the group number in our announcements rather than all customer types. The boarding order will be the same, with only minor exceptions. The change is in how we refer to each group on boarding passes and announcements. Our ConciergeKey members will be invited to board prior to general boarding.
  • Preboard: Pax requiring assistance, ConciergeKey (+ Five Star customers)

  • Group 1 - First class or 2 cabin international Business class / Active duty U.S. military with military I.D. link(Business on a 2-class international plane)

  • Group 2 - Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald / 3 Cabin Business class

  • Group 3 - Platinum Pro / Platinum / oneworld Sapphire

  • Group 4 - Gold, oneworld Ruby, Air Pass, Premium Economy, Executive Citi credit card, purchased Priority Boarding

  • Group 5 (preferred boarding) - Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy), Eligible corporate travelers**, Other AAdvantage eligible credit cards*

  • Group 6 - 8 - Coach Groups, Basic Economy on longhaul transoceanic

  • Group 9 - Basic Economy within the U.S., Canada, Mexico & Caribbean

NOTE: AA recent policy has included "Should you arrive at the gate after Priority customers have been called, you may bypass the General Boarding lines and enjoy the convenience of boarding anytime via your new dedicated boarding lane." (American Airlines policy.)

See Ben Schlappig / Lucky's blog here.

Boarding times See chart in first post.

NOTE: AA gate agents seem to often and unpredictably begin boarding earlier than the scheduled times mentioned below.

50 minutes prior to departure From/To the United States and:
Europe
Middle East
Asia
South American destinations: Asuncion, PY; Brasilia, BR; Belo Horizonte, BR; Curitiba, Br; Buenos Aires, AR; Rio de Janeiro, BR; Sao Paulo, BR; Lima, PE; Montevideo, UY; Porto Alegre, BR; Recife, BR; Salvador, BR; Santiago, CL; Sao Paulo Viracop, BR
45 minutes prior to departure - From/To the United States and:
Caribbean
Central America
Hawaii
Mexico
South American destinations: La Paz, BO; Santa Cruz, BO; Maracaibo, VE; Caracas, VE; Bogota, CO; Cali, CO; Medellin, CO; Guayaquil, EC; Quito, EC
35 minutes prior to departure - Domestic on these aircraft types: A321, A321S, A330, B757, B767, B787, B777
Within the 48 contiguous states
Alaska
Canada
30 minutes prior to departure - Domestic on these aircraft types: A319, A320, A321T, E190, S80, B737
Within the 48 contiguous states
Alaska
Canada
At the Gate prior to boarding

Conditions of Carriage (Link

"Arrival at Gate
You must be at the gate and ready to board the aircraft:

15 minutes prior to scheduled departure for flights departing from points -within- the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands

30 minutes prior to scheduled departure for flights departing from points -outside- the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, i.e., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Central/South America, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda"

For gate arrival, AA states: "Recommended before your flight: Link

30 minutes

Be at the gate, ready to board. Doors close 10 minutes before departure – once they close you'll be denied boarding."
The posts made priorbto 1 Mar 2017 may be read here.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 7:49 am
  #286  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: NYC/LAX
Programs: BAEC Gold, JAL Diamond (JML), TK Elite, Hilton Diamond, SPG/Marriott Gold, SUMA Silver
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Main Cabin Boarding Groups

I have a friend (who has no status with ow) on a Main Cabin booking from JFK to MIA. I wonder would we know in advance which group he will be assigned to? From what I've read on the forum, boarding with Group 6 is typically fine while boarding with Group 7 will likely need to gate check carry on. Is the boarding group decided by where you sit, your fare code or just at random?

Thank you
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Old Apr 2, 19, 8:08 am
  #287  
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As a Main Cabin passenger with no status, he will be Group 5-8 (Group 9 would be Basic Economy). That is largely based on which seat he has, e.g. aisle, middle or window and whether the seat is to the front or the back.

On that route, people carry on steamer trunks, so your friend should pack as though his larger carry-on will be gate-checked.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 9:17 am
  #288  
 
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
As a Main Cabin passenger with no status, he will be Group 5-8 (Group 9 would be Basic Economy). That is largely based on which seat he has, e.g. aisle, middle or window and whether the seat is to the front or the back.

On that route, people carry on steamer trunks, so your friend should pack as though his larger carry-on will be gate-checked.
They will not be in group 5 unless they have an AA credit card or are in MCE seat.

Boarding Process
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Old Apr 2, 19, 8:50 pm
  #289  
 
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Originally Posted by shimps1 View Post
They will not be in group 5 unless they have an AA credit card or are in MCE seat.

Boarding Process
My company just announced a new travel contract with AA, and it includes "Group 5 Priority Boarding" (LOL contradictions) for non-elite employees.

I really hope they didn't assign significant value to that during the negotiations. It is better than the Group 6 - 8 lottery, but only barely.
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Old Apr 3, 19, 6:20 am
  #290  
 
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Originally Posted by pa3lsvt View Post
My company just announced a new travel contract with AA, and it includes "Group 5 Priority Boarding" (LOL contradictions) for non-elite employees.

I really hope they didn't assign significant value to that during the negotiations. It is better than the Group 6 - 8 lottery, but only barely.
Hope they threw that in for free. Knowing AA is giving Group 5 out like that is interesting, makes group 4 from Gold a bit better.
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Old Apr 12, 19, 12:56 pm
  #291  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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I noticed this flying standby - usually board group 4 and don't see how many people are behind me or group 5. Has anyone seen someone try and board in group 3-5 and get denied because they're in a lower group? I get that group 4 encompasses a lot of folks, GLD, Citi Exec, Airpass, etc, but there are times (not talking about biz routes) where I think there is NO way there could be that many folks in this group. It seemed like gate lice saw a ton of people in group 4 and 5 and just started to filter into those lines. As in they were confused by the 9 boarding groups and saw a bunch of people getting on a plane and decided they should too. Again I get that on biz routes most of the plane could be elite. It just seems like AAgents just scan your pass and let you on - I've only seen issues with folks trying to pre-board without having pre-board.
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Old Apr 13, 19, 7:31 am
  #292  
 
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Enforcement of boarding groups is about as rare as a thread over at PR where someone has their mind changed.

I even questioned a GA at PHL once when she let Group 7 (!) board during in front of me during Group 3. She flat out ignored me (which I called out to more ignoring), and then she left my battlefield upgrade to F empty and left me back in coach out of spite.

Good thing I screen capped the upgrade list (and it was an 800 mile flight so I was fine in my exit row seat anyway). Got 15k miles for that, which I hope also means the GA got a "talking to" since I identified the flight, date, and gate in my complaint.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 2:18 pm
  #293  
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Boarding etiquette (?)

Just boarded 487 to phx here at 49A lax. As usual people were all standing around the boarding area. Standing at the “entrance” to the priority 1-4 lane was a mother and her two teen aged girls. They were three abreast from one rope to the other. I was standing right behind them. When zone 1 was called I said “pardon me” and moved beside them. They were obviously miffed (their bp’s were zone 9) about me going first. The man right behind me says to them “you’ll need to move out of the way”.

10 minutes later mom and kids board and give that man (sitting in front of me in 1A) a new arse up and down “y’all need to give more respect towards someone! You didn’t need to be that disrespectful!”

Man apologies and the drama is over as they walk back.

Thoughts?
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Old Apr 24, 19, 2:27 pm
  #294  
 
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Originally Posted by enviroian View Post
Just boarded 487 to phx here at 49A lax. As usual people were all standing around the boarding area. Standing at the “entrance” to the priority 1-4 lane was a mother and her two teen aged girls. They were three abreast from one rope to the other. I was standing right behind them. When zone 1 was called I said “pardon me” and moved beside them. They were obviously miffed (their bp’s were zone 9) about me going first. The man right behind me says to them “you’ll need to move out of the way”.

10 minutes later mom and kids board and give that man (sitting in front of me in 1A) a new arse up and down “y’all need to give more respect towards someone! You didn’t need to be that disrespectful!”

Man apologies and the drama is over as they walk back.

Thoughts?
The boarding area is a cluster&#*$ at nearly every airport AA serves. The lack of clarity around why someone might be in group 1 vs group 9 for your typical traveler that flys once or twice a year doesn't help.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 2:28 pm
  #295  
 
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"Boarding etiquette"

Well that's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one!
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Old Apr 24, 19, 2:35 pm
  #296  
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I've noticed lately that the GAs have gotten lacked in policing the boarding process. Now that I've fallen back to PLT from EXP I see when CK/Group 1 is called at times 50+ people rush the boarding area. When I finally actually wait for Group 3 and get on (usually in Y because upgrades do not clear all that much) coach is already 25%+ full and these are not pre boards. This seems to happen mostly at hub airports. I feel sorry for CKs. I've seen Group 9ers nearly topple them as they try to wade through the throngs to pre board.

Gate lice as they are known has always been an issue and GAs simply letting a running of the bulls to occur at boarding time part of the same issue.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 3:36 pm
  #297  
 
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I am in another tour around Asia right now and always reminds me of boarding issues frequently talked about at FlyerTalk, not just AA forum.

Just yesterday took JL flight SHA-HND, operated by high density 777-200ER with 26 J and 286 Y, total of 312 seats. China-Japan is business heavy route (why do you think I was on this flight? ), at the gate elite line for boarding was as long as regular economy line!

At JL a gate agent go though lines of people at a gate area checking boarding pass to make sure passengers are at correct boarding line, directing passengers to appropriate boarding line. At JL they do not wait till a passenger reach the boarding gate.

Flight was pretty full as usual. Boarding started at 12:20 noon for 12:50 schedule departure for almost full 777-200 flight with 312 seats, but the boarding was completed by 12:40 and left gate at 12:48. Early this week on NRT-PVG flight on 787-9 for 9:40 a.m. departure, the boarding did not start till 9:20 a.m. and we left the gate at 9:38 a.m.

Why can't we have this in the U.S.?
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Old Apr 24, 19, 8:16 pm
  #298  
 
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Originally Posted by newyorkgeorge View Post
I've noticed lately that the GAs have gotten lacked in policing the boarding process. Now that I've fallen back to PLT from EXP I see when CK/Group 1 is called at times 50+ people rush the boarding area. When I finally actually wait for Group 3 and get on (usually in Y because upgrades do not clear all that much) coach is already 25%+ full and these are not pre boards. This seems to happen mostly at hub airports. I feel sorry for CKs. I've seen Group 9ers nearly topple them as they try to wade through the throngs to pre board.

Gate lice as they are known has always been an issue and GAs simply letting a running of the bulls to occur at boarding time part of the same issue.
No need to be part of the stampede. Regardless of status, nothing beats the pleasure of being one of the last people to board.
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Old Apr 24, 19, 11:43 pm
  #299  
 
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Originally Posted by jcf27 View Post
No need to be part of the stampede. Regardless of status, nothing beats the pleasure of being one of the last people to board.
For me, the pleasure of finding space for my carryon and not being forced to gate check it massively beats the pleasure of being the last to board. But that’s me.
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Old May 22, 19, 7:38 pm
  #300  
 
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Flight 1717 BWI-CLT yesterday..preboarding done. Group 1 called (I'm group 3). 16 F seats. About 40 people push to the front. I see BP's with group 1, 8, 6. 7, all heading up. Certainly the agent will stop the insanity! Nope. She scanned each on then called group 2 and 3. When my BP was scanned, i saw my seat turn green (8F) and saw that 8D was already scanned before me. Got to my row. 8D, E, F occupied. I sorted out the seat issue..the people in E and F weren't in ROW 8. They were in GROUP 8 and row 29. They didn't know what they were doing. They moved without issue. I am just irritated that AA sets the rules for 9 groups. They have people pay for F, MCE, earn status, have the CC. They set the rules. We play the game. The need to enforce them.
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