American Airlines Introducing New, Simplified Boarding Process

american airlines

Back in 2011 I earned Lifetime Gold status with American Airlines. An overwhelming majority of the miles earned to get to Gold were due to credit card sign-up bonuses.

American Airlines Gold status is the lowest tier of status and it doesn’t really offer a ton of benefits. However it does allow for one free checked bag and priority boarding.

I just received an e-mail from American Airlines that describes their new boarding process which should simplify boarding.

I initially assumed that a new boarding process meant some sort of loss in benefits.

However, all this new, simplified process really means is a change in group names. (Yeah, not so exciting…)

Starting on March 1, the new boarding group names will be quite unique (not). The groups will simply be numbers 1 through 9.

As I’m an AA Gold member, I will still board with the fourth group meaning Gold will now be listed as 4. See how simple that is…

Here are the other boarding groups: (from aa.com)

Preboarding ConciergeKeySM members
Priority boarding lane First Class
Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
(Business Class on a 2-class international aircraft)
Group 1
First Class
Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
(Business Class on a 2-class international aircraft)
Priority boarding lane Business Class
Executive Platinum
oneworld® EmeraldSM
Group 2
Executive Platinum
oneworld® EmeraldSM
(Business Class on a 3-class aircraft)
Priority boarding lane Platinum Pro
Platinum
oneworld® SapphireSM
Group 3
Platinum Pro
Platinum
oneworld® SapphireSM
Priority boarding lane Gold
oneworld® RubySM
Group 4
Gold
oneworld® RubySM
Priority boarding lane Alaska Airlines MVP® members
AirPass
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers
Customers who bought Priority boarding
Group 4
Alaska Airlines MVP® members
AirPass
Premium Economy
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers
Customers who bought Priority boarding
Main boarding lane Group 1
Main Cabin Extra
Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers*
Group 5 (Preferred boarding)
Main Cabin Extra
Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers*
Eligible corporate travelers**
Main boarding lane Group 2 Group 6
Main boarding lane Group 3 Group 7
Main boarding lane Group 4 Group 8
Main boarding lane Group 9
Basic Economy
In the end, this isn’t really a big deal but I do believe it will help to get rid of some confusion during the boarding process.
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For example: Up until now, if a passenger was placed in Group 1, they probably assumed that they got to board first and thus hung around close to the boarding lane. Starting March 1, they will now see that they are actually Group 5 and hopefully not block the boarding lanes. Makes sense, right?
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What do you think about the new American Airlines boarding process?

6 thoughts on “American Airlines Introducing New, Simplified Boarding Process

  1. Why is group 4 divided like that? Are they letting gold in before the others in the second group 4 bucket? Shouldn’t that technically be group 5 then?

  2. @Hugh Mann : it’s the reverse. the old system allows the “4a” first, then “4b”. in new process, 4a+4b are merged into a new “4” and will board at the same time.

  3. Haha. So complicated. Nine boarding groups (really 10 since there is pre-boarding) is crazy. I think Delta manages five (PREM, SKY, 1, 2, 3).

  4. So Gold’s got downgraded a spot to board with credit card holders. As a Gold I see this as no longer given any elite privilege in the boarding process.

  5. Hugh Mann or human- That is a good question.

    henry LAX- That does make sense and if so, AA lied. lol

    Tom- Yea who knows…

    DaninMCI- It does appear as a downgrade for Gold but why the division on the chart?

    1. I asked AA about this Gold downgrade. They responded that there is no downgrade and that they just moved everyone to a boarding number. Obviously this isn’t true. The new boarding process is simple and should work better but it also simply downgraded all AA Gold elite members. I think they divided the chart so they can pretend that Gold will still board in the same position which is not true.

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