American Airlines speed up boarding

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

One of the holy grails for any airline is to speed up the time it takes to get passengers onboard. This is because hefty fines can be incurred by flights which don’t stick to the strict timetables imposed by airport authorities.

Boarding flight

This is the reasoning behind the recent introduction of reduced cabin baggage sizes by easyJet, although it remains to be seen how that will work in practice.

Now American Airlines has launched a new system aimed at increasing the speed and ease of the boarding process for its passengers, and it is one which is also concerned with how much luggage they take with them into the cabin.

The new system will offer early boarding to passengers travelling with only one personal carry-on item which is small enough to fit under the seat in front of them.

The idea is that boarding time is adversely affected by people clogging up the aisles whilst trying to put bags into the overhead lockers, and by encouraging smaller bags the whole process will be streamlined.

Vice president of customer planning at American Airlines, Carol Wright, said: “Every minute saved during boarding allows American to push back from the gate earlier, resulting in a more timely departure and arrival.”

There have been successful trials of the new system at several US airports including Denver and Washington Dulles, with the airline reporting that customer feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive” and that when the process is rolled out across the entire fleet there will be “a notable reduction in average boarding time per flight”.

At present the carrier operates a policy that allows each customer to take onboard one personal item that will fit under the seat in front and one bag that can fit into the overhead storage compartment.

A statement from the airline said: “The new boarding process is another example of how American is reinventing itself by continuously seeking out ways to streamline processes, creating a more efficient and enjoyable customer journey.”

A good way to save time – and money – on holiday is to take a prepaid card. This involves setting a budget before you jet off and sticking to it overseas so you do not run into any financial problems when you touch down on home soil.


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