American Airlines is testing out a new boarding process at select airports, in which they will allow flyers who will not be using the overhead compartments board early.
According to the LA Times, the new boarding process is being tested at BWI, Austin, Washington-Dulles, and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International airports.
The airline released a statement, saying, "We test many different concepts in an effort to continually improve the customer experience. With this in mind, we're conducting a test for a boarding process whereby customers who do not have any baggage to stow in the overhead compartment will be boarded in a separate group. This is a limited test and results are still being analyzed."
American Airlines charges $25 for the first checked bag on domestic flights, so it might be a nice perk to let passengers who have paid that board early. Or not—personally, the only reason I like to board early is to make sure that there's space near my seat in an overhead compartment for my carry-on, as I hate being forced to gate-check a bag at the last minute when all bins are full. If I didn't have to worry about finding space, I don't see any reason to rush on the plane—it's more comfortable waiting at the gate!
American's goal is to speed up the boarding process, so it will be interesting to see if the changes actually get people on board and in their seats any faster.
What do you think? Do you like to board early, even if you don't need overhead bin space? Tell us in the comments.
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