American Airlines this week announced a new nine-class boarding regime in conjunction with the launch of its bargain-bin “Basic Economy” service class.
The “simplified” scheme will see boarding groups announced by number, not name, with priority broken down largely by familiar metrics: how much you paid for your ticket, your elite and frequent-flyer status, and which credit card you own.
The nine-level hierarchy does not include members of American’s exclusive corporate ConciergeKey program, who will be permitted to preboard flights before anyone else.
Once general boarding begins, the first of the nine classes allowed onboard the aircraft will be first class passengers and active-duty US military with military ID. Boarding last will be Basic Economy passengers.
The entire board process will be as follows:
- Preboarding: ConciergeKey members
- Group 1: First Class (or Business Class on international aircraft with only two classes of service), active US military
- Group 2: Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members, Business Class on international aircraft with three classes of service
- Group 3: Platinum Pro, Platinum, oneworld Sapphire members
- Group 4: Gold, oneworld Ruby members, Alaska Airlines MVP members, AirPass, Premium Economy Citi AAdvantage Executive cardmembers, customers who paid for Priority boarding
- Group 5: Main Cabin Extra, eligible AAdvantage credit cardmembers, other eligible corporate travelers
- Groups 6-8: general boarding based on seating in main cabin
- Group 9: Basic Economy passengers
Our advice: just look at the group printed on your boarding pass.