American Airlines is launching a new boarding process systemwide that AA execs believe will cut the time needed to board planes by allowing passengers with one carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them to board early.
The new system, of course, will require a certain amount of vigilance on the part of AA gate agents to ensure only eligible passengers join this early-boarding group.
An American Airlines (AA) spokeswoman in Chicago said the new boarding plan went into effect at O’Hare Airport this morning and would require no additional gate agent personnel to implement.
If the new boarding process goes according to plan, AA execs believe it will streamline the boarding process and thereby enable more flights to depart on time.
“For customers, departing on time and arriving at their destination on time is a huge factor in how they feel about their overall experience,” said Carol Wright , American’s Vice President – Customer Planning. “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. It’s another example of our promise to put our customers at the center of everything we do.”
The new boarding process follows successful testing done earlier this year at American Airlines gates at airports in Austin, Texas (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Denver (DEN), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (FLL), Kansas City, Mo. (MCI), Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Washington-Dulles (IAD).
The test received overwhelmingly positive feedback from American’s customers, and agents like the new process because it allows for smoother and quicker boarding for everyone. American expects to see a notable reduction in average boarding time per flight with the new boarding process.
American’s baggage policy allows each customer to take onboard at no charge one personal item that will fit under the seat in front of them and one bag that meets the FAA-mandated carry-on size requirements to fit into the overhead storage compartment. With the new boarding process, customers who wish to board early before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.