American Airlines to Let Light Packers Board Earlier
Company trying to discourage big carry-ons that go in overhead bins
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2013 4:05 PM CDT
American Airlines and US Airways jets prepare for flight at the Philadelphia International Airport in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Newser) – If you're traveling light, you can board earlier on American Airlines. The airline said today that people carrying just a personal item that fits under the seat—no rolling suitcases—will be allowed to board before most other passengers. American said the change will speed up the boarding process because fewer passengers will stop in the aisle to hoist a bag into the overhead bins. The difference is about two minutes per flight, "which doesn't sound like much, but it adds up throughout the day," says an airline exec. As part of the move, the airline will let people check a bigger carry-on at the gate for free.

Airlines have been seeing a buildup in boarding times since they began charging fees for checked baggage as more people fight for limited space in overhead bins. American tested the new boarding procedure at several airports earlier this year and began applying it to all flights today. Passengers carrying just a personal item—a purse, backpack, or computer bag that will fit under the seat—will board right after "premium" passengers.

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May 17, 2013 12:57 PM CDT
I don't check anything. I only carry one carry on though for that reason where it is done on other airlines. But since Frontier started charging I switched back to Commyair and UnAmerican. I have shipped items ahead before but now hotels are starting to reject such shipments (they say for security reasons). I still do ship back souvenirs and dirty laundry. Ok, please don't tell Aunty Lizzy that I wrapped her 3-finger Vegas shot glasses in my dirty socks.
May 17, 2013 11:07 AM CDT
When do fudge packers get to board? LOL
May 17, 2013 10:54 AM CDT
YES! This is awesome! And I think it's a LOT more than 2 minutes. I think more like 15-20. I have always gotten SO irritated with people trying to shove giant suitcases into the overhead bin, holding up everyone else on the plane. I've always thought, "check that stuff cheapskate" Hooray to American for doing this! I hope other airlines follow suit.