American Testing Early Boarding For Those Without Bags That Require Overhead Bin Space

File this under interesting.  American is running a test at a handful of airports where passengers traveling in economy who just have a small bag to put under the seat in front of them are allowed to board before the rest of economy passengers.  A couple of observations:

  • Since American (and pretty much everyone else other than Southwest) charges for checked bags this might actually encourage behavior that results in extra revenue for the airlines.
  • It occurs to me that the only reason most people without status (and pretty much every status member on United) want to board early is to make sure they get overhead bin space.  So, not much of an incentive to customers to pack a smaller bag to get on board early.

Ultimately this might lead to a more streamlined boarding process for the airlines, which I’m always in favor of.  I generally board first even when I’m in first class mostly because I don’t want to waste time standing on the jet bridge waiting.  So, anything that avoids 50 people standing in line waiting for one person to put their bag up can’t be all bad.



  1. AS been doing that for some time – at least when we flew AS in January and it appeared to work very well. We have seldom flown AS but they always impress us when we do.

    1. Fredd, it seemed like things went smoother? I don’t think I’d want to board first if I didn’t have a bag to stow overhead and were sitting in coach. Then again, I’m allergic to coach. 🙂

  2. When I don’t need overhead space, I want to be the last one on the plane…. Does not make much sense to me.

      1. Strictly anecdotal… We were occupied with a five-year-old granddaughter we were flying back from Disneyland so I didn’t give it that much notice. All I recall was it seemed like an innovative idea that I hadn’t seen before.

        1. Fredd, pretty awesome that you got to share that with your granddaughter. We dragged the grandparents with us to Disney World and they created some great memories with our kids.

          Regards, Edward Pizzarello

          Sent from my iPhone

Leave a Reply