American Airlines Testing New Boarding Procedure

Have you noticed that at the airport, when a plane is preparing to board passengers, there’s usually a group of people who hover? You know what I mean — the travelers who pace back and forth by the airline desk, ready to jump into line as soon as their section is called for boarding. Maybe these passengers feel as if the act of standing in line is an improvement on sitting in the waiting area. Maybe they just want to get on the plane and get settled. Whatever the reason, there’s something about boarding the plane early that passengers seem to enjoy.
American Airlines has picked up on this early boarding obsession, and here’s the the latest travel-related rumor – American Airlines is testing a new boarding procedure which asks passengers to board the plane depending on whether or not they have carry-on luggage. The test is apparently happening in several airport locations, and on randomly selected flights.
English: Just like on an airplance, the overhead bins on the InterCityExperimental had lids which could be closed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)In this new beta boarding procedure, the elite travelers and business class passengers are asked to board first as usual. But immediately following these groups, passengers without carry-on luggage are asked to board, regardless of their seating zone on the plane. At least, that’s the way it happened for John DiScala, frequent business traveler and editor of travel website .
This test of shortening boarding time is likely a method American Airlines is using to both save money AND to make money. The idea is, getting the low-maintenance passengers in their seats first can potentially shave a few minutes off boarding time.
And according to DiScala’s story in the LA Times, every minute saved on boarding can save an airline $30. That may not sound like a lot of money, but it can add up fast. Plus, passengers who truly love the early boarding policy might be incentivized by this new boarding procedure to check their bags upon arrival, even if it means paying an extra luggage fee.
Whatever the reasoning behind American Airlines testing this new boarding procedure, it seems like process improvements and efficiency are the primary goals. Only time will tell if a new boarding procedure like this one eventually is rolled out for the rest of us to experience.
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