A Guide on American Airlines Boarding Groups and Process
Last Updated on February 10, 2021 by Editor Team
A flight’s boarding process varies from one airline carrier to another, although essentially they all do the same thing. The way the airlines carry out their operations can thus, vary significantly. American Airlines Boarding Groups and Process. This is also true for American Airlines. Being one of the largest U.S. airline carriers, there are certain things that you need to know when flying on their flights.
In this travel guide prepared by Treknova, we will look into the various boarding groups of American Airlines and their respective process as well.
American Airlines Boarding Groups
Unlike other US-based airline carriers, American Airlines has broken down it’s boarding into several groups. There are a total of nine boarding groups and each one offers more or fewer benefits. These boarding groups are in fact, shown on the type of ticket that you purchase. So, depending on your ticket type, you will be seated in the designated group. Also, some groups are fortunate enough to be offered priority boarding. The same also goes for unaccompanied minors traveling on American Airlines flights.
In the following section, we will take a look at the various boarding groups in their respective order and their significance toward passengers and flight experience.
This boarding group holds the highest elite status, where members are allowed to board along with passengers bearing Five Star status. Furthermore, passengers that are adults or unaccompanied minors travelling alone that require assistance during boarding, it makes your pre-boarding a lot easier.
Passengers bearing First class and Business class (two cabin international) boarding pass types fall in the category of Group 1. Some aircraft consist of a two-cabin Business class instead of a First class, which is also considered the highest class.
In addition to First and Business class passengers, other passengers, such as U.S. military personnel on active duty can also board their flight on this group. However, they will be required to present their military ID proof.
Passengers bearing the Executive Platinum boarding pass type, or oneworld or Emerald elite status come in Group 2.
Also, passengers travelling with a Business class can board on a 3-class plane.
Passengers bearing the Platinum Pro boarding pass type fall in the boarding Group 3 category.
However, passengers that are members of the Platinum, oneworld and Sapphire elite status can also board their flights through this group.
Passengers bearing the Gold boarding pass type are in the Group 4 category.
Also, passengers that are members of the oneworld, Ruby, Air Pass, Premium Economy elite status can board their flights through this group.
This group also allows boarding for passengers that have obtained Citi/AAdvantage Executive credit cards, travellers who have bought Priority boarding service and eligible corporate travellers.
If you have an AAdvantage Executive credit card issued by Citi Bank, you are offered access to Admiral’s Club lounge and other benefits that include priority check-in, priority airport screening (depends on availability), free checked baggage, in-flight savings and more. But, that’s not all. AAdvantage Executive cardmembers are also offered sign up bonus that gives you the advantage of quickly accumulating your AA miles.
Furthermore, the Group 4 category allows boarding to passengers who have also purchased Priority boarding, which usually costs around $9 to $74. If you have purchased a Basic Economy fare, you can avail of Priority boarding service for flights that are operated and marketed by American Airlines. Priority boarding service can be purchased either online on the American Airlines website, during check-in at an airport kiosk or via reservations before your flight’s departure.
Group 5 (aka Preferred Boarding)
Passengers bearing the Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy) boarding pass type come in the boarding Group 5 category. This group is also called Preferred Boarding. The benefit of travelling in Main Cabin Extra is that you will have a little more legroom for comfort and will be served on board with complimentary alcohol.
In addition, eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers are also permitted to board their flights along with this group. So, if you hold an AAdvantage credit card, such as Citi Platinum Select or Aviator Red, you are eligible for preferred boarding and complimentary service, like checked baggage for you and your companion(s) when travelling on American domestic flights.
Below is a list of eligible travel credit cards that can easily get you “Preferred Boarding” perk.
AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard
AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard
AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select American Express Card
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select Visa Signature
Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
Passengers bearing Basic Economy boarding pass type to/from Europe and South America come in the boarding Groups 6 through 8 category.
These boarding groups consist of Coach Groups and Basic Economy, particularly flights operating on long-haul routes and trans-oceanic destinations.
However, one drawback that passengers may notice in these boarding groups category is the overhead bin for storing your luggage. These overhead bins may not provide you enough storage space and also, may not align with where you are seated. In most cases, you may even have to gate check your baggage.
The last boarding group in this category is Group 9. Passengers bearing the Basic Economy boarding pass type fall in the category of Group 9. Here, the boarding allows passengers travelling within the U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean regions.
Again, similar to Groups 6-8 boarding category, the Group 9 category also has some drawback with regard to overhead bin. Passengers may have a hard time finding the overhead bins for storing their luggage. However, in such situations, seeking assistance from flight attendants can make things easier for you.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, American Airlines have made a few changes to their boarding process. The airline has added additional 15 minutes to its boarding procedure.
There is now 30 minutes of boarding time for domestic flights and 45 minutes for passengers travelling on international flights. The closing of boarding before your flight’s departure is also now 15 minutes.
Flight Boarding Time
American Airlines has most of their flights to startthe boarding procedure 30 (domestic flights) to 50 (international flights) minutes prior to departure, with the exact time depending on your destination and plane type. Boarding doors will typically close 15 minutes before the flight’s departure. Once the boarding doors are closed, you will not be allowed to board, even if you arrive at the gate at the last moment.
Keep in mind that your flight’s boarding is also shown on your boarding pass. Sometimes, gate agents get a little ahead of themselves and arrive at the gate 5 minutes prior to scheduled boarding.
When you fly on American Airlines flights, it is a good idea to spend some time in the lounge, thenhead for the boarding gate a few minutes earlier. Doing so can help you get through the gate agents quickly, and still be able to get on the plane with your scheduled boarding group.
Furthermore, in addition to starting the flight’s boarding procedure early, not all American Airlines gate agents may respect the boarding sequence of all the nine groups. This may happen so, particularly on smaller aircraft or on flights that depart from smaller airports. You will often see gate agents simply mergingpassengers of a few boarding groups.
Thus, it is important that you pay a little more attention, especially if you are on boarding Group 6. Just because you are in boarding Group 6, that does not mean there will be 5 separate groups ahead of you. In fact, it might only be just 2 or 3 groups before you.
Conclusion – American Airlines Boarding Groups and Process
American Airlines’ boarding process may appear to be overly detailed. But, even with a total of nine boarding groups, the boarding process is usually quite easy.
Also, that’s for sure that you will still finda lot of passengers from Groups 8 and 9 standing right in front of the boarding lines when you are trying to board the plane along with Group 3 passengers. However,this may not surprise you because a lot of such things alsooccur with other airline carriers.
Thus, to conclude, we can say that by holding the right credit card and paying attention toyour flight’s boarding time, you will have sufficient time to get on the plane and find your seat to get settled quickly.Also, you will have overhead space for your carry-on bag.
Lastly, you will find that American Airlines’ boarding process is pretty standardized throughout their network around the world. This makes things easier and you will know what to expect so that you can simply start your holiday trip outright – be it solo travelling or going on a trip with one or more companions.