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American Airlines allows fliers who pack lightly to board early

May 17, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Deals and Travel Blogger
  • American Airlines changed its boarding policy Thursday to give additional consideration to passengers with carry-on items that don't require an overhead bin.
American Airlines changed its boarding policy Thursday to give additional… (Tim Chapman / Miami Herald )

American Airlines rolled out a new boarding policy Thursday that allows passengers with one carry-on item that fits under the seats to board planes earlier than others who require overhead bins.

It's all about being able to get to and from destinations on time, the airline says.

"Our tests indicate that this new boarding process will improve our dependability and on-time performance, while being easier and more enjoyable for our customers," Carol Wright, the airline's vice president of customer planning, said in a statement.

The airline said tests earlier this year at airport gates in Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Denver; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Washington, D.C., showed the process proved to be quicker, and customers liked it too.

But traveling light doesn't mean you go straight to the head of the line.

On boarding domestic flights, American gives preference to first-class passengers and members of the military in uniform, then business class, then frequent fliers enrolled in the airline's loyalty program and then customers without overhead luggage.

Customers will find a group number on their boarding pass that determines when they may board. Fliers in Group 2 who want to ditch their second carry-on will be allowed to do so at the gate.

Mary.Forgione@latimes.com
Follow us on Twitter @latimestravel, like us on Facebook @Los Angeles Times Travel.

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