Those who follow American Airlines on Twitter (https://twitter NULL.com/americanair) saw an interesting post from AA yesterday. It seems that American has decided (after testing in several markets) that those passengers “without overhead luggage can board before Group 2”. The twitter message specifically said
According to the “Boarding Progression” chart provided by American Airlines, if you have no carry on or just 1 carry on that fits under the seat, you can board as soon as Group 1 boarding completes (the order varies just slightly depending on the plane and if it offers Two-Class or Three-Class service).
In addition, some media outlets (http://www NULL.keyetv NULL.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/no-big-carry-board-earlier-american-airlines-8701 NULL.shtml?app_data=%7B%22pi%22%3A%2251965e331f073dbf61000002%22%2C%22pt%22%3A%22wall%22%7D) are reporting that American Airlines will also offer passengers who get to the gate with an overhead carry-on the opportunity to “Gate Check” their luggage to the destination at no charge. If that’s the case, that would be big as the check luggage fees range from $25 (1st bag) to $35 (2nd bag) for flights within the us (Note: It appears you will be picking up your luggage at baggage claim, even if you gate check) .
So why do this, simple faster turn around. As one who travels a lot, what you will find on many flights is the one traveler with 2 or 3 GIGANTIC carry-on bags who usually boards in group 2 or group 3 will stand in the plane aisle about row 12 or 13 fighting to try to get the bags that barely (or don’t really) fit squeezed into the over head bin. While that is happening, over half the plane stands behind them in the aisle (or on the walkway to the plane) waiting. Like a freeway traffic accident clogging up the road. What this change does is not eliminate that traveler with the GIGANTIC bags, even though hopefully some of those people will take advantage of the gate check, but it takes a lot of the people who would get stuck waiting and puts them in their seats 1st. So hopefully once GIGANTIC BAG person gets their stuff in the overhead, the plane is loaded and ready to go.
Source: AA Logo and AA courtesy of AA.com (http://www NULL.aa NULL.com/homePage NULL.do)