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GUIDE: AA Boarding Priority, Order and Related Issues (as of 1 Mar 2017)

Old Sep 22, 17, 12:38 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 1 Mar 2017

(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 / Military

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

  • Group 3 - Platinum Pro / Platinum / Sapphire

  • Group 4 - Gold / Air Pass / Executive Citi credit card / Alaska MVP / purchased Priority Boarding

  • Group 5 - Premium Economy / Main Cabin Extra / Other AAdvantage eligible credit cards

  • Group 6 - 8 - Coach Groups

  • Group 9 - Basic Economy
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.

PREVIOUS Boarding Progression On Flights Departing the U.S. and Canada through 28 February 2017

Slightly different processes for:
  • Travel within the U.S. on Aircraft with Two-Class Service (First Class / Main Cabin)
  • Travel within the U.S. on Aircraft with Two-Class Service (Business Class / Main Cabin)
  • Travel within the U.S. on Aircraft with Three-Class Service & International Departures
General Boarding Order within or departing U.S.A. and Canada: (as of 1/1/2017)
  • Preboarding (may include those with disabilities or mobility impairments and their companions, users of Five Star Services, occasionally Concierge Key customers and, overseas, parents with infants and small children). (Five Star customers may even board prior to preboarding in some instances.)
  • Concierge Key members
  • First Class and U. S. Military (usually First Class only overseas)
  • Business Class (where only Business is offered, Military in Uniform in USA)
    - or, departing US three class flight - Business Class, AAdvantage Executive Platinum / oneworld Emerald
  • AAdvantage Executive Platinum / AAdvantage Platinum / oneworld Emerald / Sapphire (if not previously boarded)
  • Platinum Pro, Platinum and oneworld® SapphireSM
  • AAdvantage Gold / oneworld Ruby
  • AirPass / Priority
  • Group 1
  • Group 2
  • Group 3
  • Group 4

Group 1 / Priority includes those purchasing Choice Essential or Choice Plus fares, those with credit cards including Priority boarding, etc.

Boarding Group order assignment other than class of service and Elites:

AA assigned boarding group by check in method: (c/o ThreeJulietTango)
  • Group 1: Bulkhead rows, wheelchairs, credit card holders, purchased fare bundle, purchased Main Cabin Extra, purchased Group 1
  • Group 2: Online check-in, exit rows, connecting inbound from another airline
  • Group 3: Curbside check-in, self-service check-in
  • Group 4: Agent check-in

Revised 1 Mar 2017 - JDiver
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Old Mar 4, 17, 5:06 pm
#46

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mundelein, Il
Programs: AA Platium
Posts: 363
Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Now would be a great time to try to make sure agents implement the new boarding order as written. AA should fix things such as boarding 1-4 as a single group before the habit becomes ingrained. It would be harder for AA to fix this if they don't know about it or don't realize its importance to customers.

There are a large number of complaints here about agents who didn't enforce the old boarding order. The new process won't work better if agents make up their own processes.
Cannot imagine that it could be worse. At least everyone will have a number and be less confused about the terms.
Obviously an excellent point about the enforcement. Generally a rule is not really a rule if it is not somehow enforced, but at a minimum the violations will not be because of a misunderstanding.
I will have my first experience with the new process on Tuesday and I will see what I think.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 5:41 pm
#47

Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 44
I think I'm a fan of this new boarding process. Makes it simple for the plebs that rarely travel and prevents idiots from trying to board early and act dumb. I didn't get a paper boarding pass so not sure if it's as obvious on the paper pass as it is in app on the group number.

Someone also asked if a lower level companion would be given the same boarding number as you, and the answer is yes. My roommate should have been in Group 5+, but got on Group 2 with me on or outbound flight that we booked together and got Group 6 or 7 on the return flight because we took different routing and he wasn't flying with me.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 5:46 pm
#48

Join Date: Apr 2009
Programs: AA EXP; BA Gold; Hilton Diamond; UA Gold
Posts: 669
Originally Posted by mokarney View Post
I think I'm a fan of this new boarding process. Makes it simple for the plebs that rarely travel and prevents idiots from trying to board early and act dumb. I didn't get a paper boarding pass so not sure if it's as obvious on the paper pass as it is in app on the group number.

Someone also asked if a lower level companion would be given the same boarding number as you, and the answer is yes. My roommate should have been in Group 5+, but got on Group 2 with me on or outbound flight that we booked together and got Group 6 or 7 on the return flight because we took different routing and he wasn't flying with me.
How did the roommate attain the Group 2 boarding? Did you ask the gate agent for the accommodation? Did you do something with the initial reservation?
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Old Mar 4, 17, 6:14 pm
#49

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Programs: AA Executive Platinum, HH Gold, National Executive
Posts: 1,388
Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
I am in Group 3 on an upcoming flight, as a Platinum.

AA should have left "Priority" and then Groups 1, 2, 3, etc.

As a Group 3 member, I feel like a nobody. As "Priority", I was somebody, even though I boarded at the same time as I'll be boarding in Group 3.
Yikes! Talk about first world problem.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 7:22 pm
#50

Join Date: Jan 2003
Programs: American Airlines Platinum, National Executive
Posts: 3,410
Originally Posted by WiscAZ View Post
Yikes! Talk about first world problem.
Don't we all like to feel valued? AA should call groups 1-4 "Priority 1", "Priority 2", etc. or at least print "Priority" with the number on boarding passes. That would cost AA almost nothing and would help elites feel like non-rabble. As a Group 3, I am nothing special.
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Old Mar 4, 17, 7:31 pm
#51

Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: LAX, LGB, SNA
Programs: AA EXP OWE, DL DM ST+, AS MVPG, UA, BA, WN CP, Hyatt E, Ritz G, SPG G, HH DM, VX G
Posts: 3,143
Originally Posted by jcatman View Post
How did the roommate attain the Group 2 boarding? Did you ask the gate agent for the accommodation? Did you do something with the initial reservation?
Probably on same pnr outbound. Different pnr inbound
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Old Mar 4, 17, 7:32 pm
#52

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
Programs: AA, DL, AS MVPG, VA
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by Erik Jacobsen View Post
Just boarded the 4pm, PHL to LGA. On my the prior flights this March, the GAs have been great about announcing and enforcing the new order. This flight, however, generated an odd story.

This is a tiny E145, no first... So logically, the only possible Group 1 would be military. The agent calls CK, nobody boards. Then she calls Group 1 and about ten people all crowd forwards. Now, if they were all military, cool. But they pretty obviously weren't. The GA just scanned them through with comment. The I boarded Group 2 (ironically, Theo only one). So I asked her "those were all group one?" And her reply was to kind of shrug, grunt and motion me past. I'm seated in front of one of them, and they're enthusing to their friend about how the priority she got from the cc was great.

I shake my head.
I suppose they're going based on the heavily-marketed "group 1" boarding from the credit card and haven't kept up on the recent change and either didn't look at the boarding pass or figured that they had group 1 boarding because that's what they were told when they got the credit card. Totally understandable, in my opinion. It will sort itself out over time, I think, but would be helped by kind, respectful corrections from gate agents. Frustrating that that didn't happen on this flight.

Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
Don't we all like to feel valued? AA should call groups 1-4 "Priority 1", "Priority 2", etc. or at least print "Priority" with the number on boarding passes. That would cost AA almost nothing and would help elites feel like non-rabble. As a Group 3, I am nothing special.


God forbid an airline should go with an order that is logical ("group 1" is [almost] fist to board; what a concept!) instead of based on marketing fluff and thinking that their customers need a giant corporation to make them feel important.

Obviously, there are growing/implementation glitches and it will really come down to execution to see whether this actually works in practice, but the new system is fundamentally logical and clear instead of letting marketing trump clarity and efficiency. With due respect, I think those who don't like that they have changed from being so special they don't need a number to having a number should focus on their real importance, not airline marketing.

Last edited by ashill; Mar 4, 17 at 7:40 pm
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Old Mar 4, 17, 8:09 pm
#53

Join Date: Jan 2003
Programs: American Airlines Platinum, National Executive
Posts: 3,410
Originally Posted by ashill View Post


God forbid an airline should go with an order that is logical ("group 1" is [almost] fist to board; what a concept!) instead of based on marketing fluff
<redacted>

I like the numbers. It makes more sense to have them than to have an extensive description of eligible people who can board at a specific time. Just add the word "Priority" before groups 1-4. That would also help clarify who can use the priority lanes (which are marked with 1-4 now).

Last edited by JDiver; Mar 5, 17 at 12:48 am Reason: Redacted unfriendly bit
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Old Mar 4, 17, 8:49 pm
#54

Join Date: Apr 2015
Programs: AA EXP, Enterprise PLT, Marriott Gold
Posts: 457
You still get that sense of feeling important though as you still get to board through the priority lane in most places.

In my travels the last few days, They said, "Group 3 is welcome to board through the priority lane for flt _____"
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Old Mar 4, 17, 9:17 pm
#55

Join Date: May 2007
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, CX SL
Posts: 1,340
Anyone have pictures of what the new mobile, internet, airport BPs look like, especially for those of us who used to have FIRST, EXECPLAT, or PLATINUM printed where it ordinarily says GROUP 1, etc.?
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Old Mar 4, 17, 9:26 pm
#56

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: HOU
Programs: AA EXP | SPG Plat | Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,645
Originally Posted by dkc192 View Post
Anyone have pictures of what the new mobile, internet, airport BPs look like, especially for those of us who used to have FIRST, EXECPLAT, or PLATINUM printed where it ordinarily says GROUP 1, etc.?
Here are mine from my flight this evening (EP in F, so group 1)
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Old Mar 4, 17, 9:46 pm
#57

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
Programs: AA, DL, AS MVPG, VA
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
<Redacted>.
I apologize for the typo; it is due to the awful new mobile interface which makes it so I can't even see what I'm typing, let alone readily edit or proofread it.

I like the numbers. It makes more sense to have them than to have an extensive description of eligible people who can board at a specific time. Just add the word "Priority" before groups 1-4. That would also help clarify who can use the priority lanes (which are marked with 1-4 now).
I agree with this, but this is not what you said. You said that you don't like the numbers because it makes you feel less special. That is an argument I don't have much sympathy for. This argument, based on clarifying the boarding process, certainly makes sense. I haven't traveled AA since the 1st (on an AS plane now), so I haven't seen the new procedure or the new boarding pass in action. Dropping "Priority" from boarding passes does seem like a mistake to me.

Last edited by ashill; Mar 5, 17 at 6:14 am Reason: Redacted previously deleted post content; remove bit that replies to deleted content
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Old Mar 4, 17, 9:54 pm
#58

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Programs: AA Executive Platinum, HH Gold, National Executive
Posts: 1,388
Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
Don't we all like to feel valued? AA should call groups 1-4 "Priority 1", "Priority 2", etc. or at least print "Priority" with the number on boarding passes. That would cost AA almost nothing and would help elites feel like non-rabble. As a Group 3, I am nothing special.
As an EXP I feel valued and whether or not my boarding group says priority or not means nothing. Boarding in group 1 or 2 out of 9 seems prioritized to me.
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Old Mar 5, 17, 5:48 am
#59

Join Date: Jan 2003
Programs: American Airlines Platinum, National Executive
Posts: 3,410
Originally Posted by ashill View Post
I apologize for the typo; it is due to the awful new mobile interface which makes it so I can't even see what I'm typing, let alone readily edit or proofread it. (Trump style? Really? I hate everything he stands for, FWIW. Is sloppy grammar a thing of his? I don't read his tweets to protect my sanity. )



I agree with this, but this is not what you said. You said that you don't like the numbers because it makes you feel less special. That is an argument I don't have much sympathy for. This argument, based on clarifying the boarding process, certainly makes sense. I haven't traveled AA since the 1st (on an AS plane now), so I haven't seen the new procedure or the new boarding pass in action. Dropping "Priority" from boarding passes does seem like a mistake to me.
No, I said that I disliked the numbers alone. Adding Priority next to them sufficed for me.

<redacted>

Last edited by JDiver; Mar 6, 17 at 1:22 pm Reason: Redacted OMNI/PR comment
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Old Mar 5, 17, 6:13 am
#60

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: YYF/YLW
Programs: AA, DL, AS MVPG, VA
Posts: 4,038
Originally Posted by NYCommuter View Post
No, I said that I disliked the numbers alone. Adding Priority next to them sufficed for me.
Fortunately, the boarding pass shown by Antarius shows that they do in fact still say priority.
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