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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 Feb 25, 20, 12:39 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: JDiver
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

*Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers (on American Airlines flights) include:
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express® Card
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa Signature
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

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:="4"%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:="4"%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="4"%Within the 48 contiguous states
Alaska
Canada

30 minutes prior to departure - Domestic on these aircraft types: A319, A320, A321T, E190, S80, B737="4"%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 prior to 1 Mar 2017 may be read here.


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Old Jun 15, 19, 5:27 am
  #331  
 
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Board in the lowest group number assigned to anyone with your group. Any companion "travelling on the same flight" as the policy reads is permitted to board with you in a lower group. All it takes is "He/She is with me." Any GA that refuses is in the wrong (for what little that's really worth in an argument).

On more than one occasion, I've run into a colleague at the gate for a flight and boarded with them in their lower group. I've also dragged colleagues higher than my Group 3 up with me for boarding.
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Old Jun 15, 19, 3:10 pm
  #332  
 
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I've noticed agents calling Groups 2,3,4 together especially on smaller planes recently. I know this is silly but I like Group 2 boarding as part of my EXP benefits and I wish they would wait for Group 2s to board before calling 3 and 4 which are usually much larger groups.
Even worse, I’ve had them omit Group 2 and call for 3 and 4.
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Old Jun 19, 19, 4:37 am
  #333  
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Originally Posted by ryan182 View Post
For an all Y plane then it would be Pre-board/Mil/CK, Group 2 (EXP), then Group 3. Even though there is no first they don't re-order group numbers to shift everyone up and just start with Group 2 after CK and no one has Group 1 since there is no FC cabin.
In my experience most GAs still call Group 1 even though no one on the aircraft can have that boarding number.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 12:57 pm
  #334  
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I'm boarding a JFK/MIA flight yesterday and when Group 1 was called this couple starts to shove in front of everyone screaming we have "paid for priority" waving around BPs that had Group 5. I explained to the couple that "Priority" doesn't mean you go before Group 1, you're Group 5. The woman says we were told we have "priority over all other paxs" to which I replied "you got ripped off if you were told that." So we just let them go ahead but when they got to the card reader the GA sent them away telling them to board when Group 5 was called. I thanked the GA for doing so.
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Old Jul 28, 19, 9:49 am
  #335  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Quick question - apologies if already addressed, but I didn’t see it.
I am OWE, traveling in MCE from MIA to EZE, but no AA status.
I have already qualified for next year’s OWE renewal, so I now want to credit everything to AA to try get a higher status with AA.
My question is - can I have my AA FF number on my booking to go towards earning status, but still gain benefits from my OWE status, such as priority boarding, check in etc?
Is it just a case of showing my BAEC Gold card when boarding with the OWE group, even though my BP will say group 5?
Thanks!
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Old Feb 20, 20, 1:23 pm
  #336  
 
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Boarding group for main cabin without status (to merge)

I purchased a ticket to fly on AA in the main cabin (NOT basic economy) and I don't have any status with AA.

I see from their website that my boarding group would be between 6-8 but there is no clarification which boarding group it would be.

- For people in the main cabin without AA status is the boarding group determined by whether you are in front-back of plane, aisle vs. window or some other method?

- Will I likely get bin space for a 21" carry-on?

Thanks
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Old Feb 20, 20, 1:33 pm
  #337  
 
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Before I had an Aadvantage number, I was group 8 every single time and never bothered trying to carry on a bag for the overheads (baggage fee was worth 1. being able to pack a big bag, 2. Not having to lug anything other than a small backpack around airports, and 3. Not dealing with baggage space drama)
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Old Feb 20, 20, 1:37 pm
  #338  
 
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I've heard anecdotally to check in as early as possible to get a better boarding group. Sitting in the very back may help too (not sure).
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:02 pm
  #339  
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I might be very wrong but for groups 6-8 I always thought it might be tied to fare code. But again I might be wrong. I think if you're Group 6 or higher you should count on the real possibility of you bag not being placed near you. Personally I'd probably gate check my bigger bag. I don't think the GA will charge you even if they make an announcement of free gate check.
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:05 pm
  #340  
 
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Originally Posted by MiamiAirport Formerly NY George View Post
I might be very wrong but for groups 6-8 I always thought it might be tied to fare code. But again I might be wrong. I think if you're Group 6 or higher you should count on the real possibility of you bag not being placed near you. Personally I'd probably gate check my bigger bag. I don't think the GA will charge you even if they make an announcement of free gate check.
Thanks for the info. I am flying from NY to Phoenix and then have a connecting flight on AA from Phoenix. If I have to gate check my flight, would I collect the bag off the ramp of the aircraft or would it be loaded onto the connecting flight?

My concern is that if it's loaded on the connecting flight, since the baggage ticket will be handwritten, there is a higher chance of it being misplaced?

- Any suggestions to get a higher boarding group?

Thanks

Thanks for all the great info

- I do have an Aadvantage number but no status
- I looked up my economy class and it is class V. Any idea if that is more likely to result in group 6, 7 or 8

- My concern about the overhead bin space is because I am flying from NY to Phoenix and 1 hour later have a connecting flight out of Phoenix (on AA).
If they make me gate check my bag, would I get it back on airbridge in Phoenix or would it be checked all the way to the final connection?
If they gate-check it all the way to the final connection, should I be concerned about it getting lost since I presume the baggage tag will be handwritten instead of being printed?

Thanks

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 20, 20 at 2:25 pm Reason: Merge consecutive posts (one moderated)
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:22 pm
  #341  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by fly_away View Post
Thanks for all the great info

- I do have an Aadvantage number but no status
- I looked up my economy class and it is class V. Any idea if that is more likely to result in group 6, 7 or 8

- My concern about the overhead bin space is because I am flying from NY to Phoenix and 1 hour later have a connecting flight out of Phoenix (on AA).
If they make me gate check my bag, would I get it back on airbridge in Phoenix or would it be checked all the way to the final connection?
If they gate-check it all the way to the final connection, should I be concerned about it getting lost since I presume the baggage tag will be handwritten instead of being printed?

Thanks
One factor is how many elites and how many AA credit card holders end up in economy on your flight.
Golds get group 4, Plat get group 3, I think holders of certain credit cards get group 4, etc.
So if your flight is full of elites, then there is a chance you get last group.

Being that you fly between hubs (NY and PHX) I would expect a plane full of elites and by the time you board, they will have started to gate check bags.
Plan accordingly.

Last edited by carlosdca; Feb 20, 20 at 2:35 pm
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:30 pm
  #342  
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Gate checked bags (not regional jet valet bags) are delivered to the baggage carousel at the final destination on the check tag. I suspect, but have no way of asserting, a hand-written gate check bag would have a higher risk of delay that a regular or gate check tag imprinted with the details for each flight, a bar code and a number, and scanned into the system at various points.

(NB: I’ve had very few times when a tag was written; the usual gate check tag is automated, with codes, etc.)

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 21, 20 at 11:24 am
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:34 pm
  #343  
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Originally Posted by fly_away View Post
- Will I likely get bin space for a 21" carry-on?

Thanks
If it were me, I would embrace them gate-checking your bag for free / not having to pay $30+ at the checkin counter to do so. Saves you the anxiety of hoping to find one (only to be disappointed) and $30. Or whatever AA charges for checked bags now-a-days.

Positive side effect: you have some time to grab a drink at the bar on arrival while your bags are wheeled around the airport. (assuming the airport has one)

Depending on your flight, they may give you your bag at the gate as you de-plane, but you may have to wait a few minutes for this to happen.
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Old Feb 20, 20, 2:40 pm
  #344  
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Originally Posted by fly_away View Post
- My concern about the overhead bin space is because I am flying from NY to Phoenix and 1 hour later have a connecting flight out of Phoenix (on AA).
If they make me gate check my bag, would I get it back on airbridge in Phoenix or would it be checked all the way to the final connection?
If they gate-check it all the way to the final connection, should I be concerned about it getting lost since I presume the baggage tag will be handwritten instead of being printed?

Thanks
If you gate check your bag in your case, you would collect it at the baggage claim of your final destination. The tag would be printed by the computer not handwritten.
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Old Feb 20, 20, 3:20 pm
  #345  
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Originally Posted by carlosdca View Post
One factor is how many elites and how many AA credit card holders end up in economy on your flight.
Golds get group 4, Plat get group 3, I think holders of certain credit cards get group 4, etc.
So if your flight is full of elites, then there is a chance you get last group.

Being that you fly between hubs (NY and PHX) I would expect a plane full of elites and by the time you board, they will have started to gate check bags.
Plan accordingly.
Flew PHX/MIA yesterday (Wednesday afternoon) I was number 13 (as a mid spend PP) on a list of 25+ on the upgrade list. Boarding groups 2 and 3 was out of control. Gate check. You can track bags by the AA app.
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