New Boarding Group Ahead Of First Class

American Airlines first class passengers board in group one. But group one isn’t first. ConciergeKey members board first, before group one.

Which reminds me of a very basic table seating strategy for major events. Your best, most important table is never table 1. You assign people to table 1 who aren’t quite as important, but you don’t want to offend by sitting them somewhere other than table 1.

And what’s first class? For some “$400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff..?”

But what about the people they need to wait for? The New Yorker gets it.

Although in fact it’s often not the wealthy flying in first class at least for work. If you’re important enough people come to you.

Private is just as often for Walmart middle managers so they can visit three stores in a day, instead taking three days connecting twice each way to visit one store in flyover country.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not nearly as bad as Zone 1 on Delta which is now the sixth group to board…

    1: Wheelchairs
    2: Kids
    3: Active Military
    4: Premium
    5: Sky Priority
    6: Zone 1

  2. Old news, I think, not sure what this post is for, however I will say that CK early boarding is only as reliable as the airport one is flying from. In my experience, in the US, PHX is absolutely the best if only because of the distribution of the elite services reps and their attitude, which is great. To my great surprise, DFW is the worst.
    Internationally, HKG is the best — of course, it’s a rule-based culture. LHR bats 50:50. Well, it’s LHR…….

  3. If you believe that Walmart’s regional management is visiting 3 stores, in a day, then you are very gullible. It is more like 3 stores in a month. Maybe on one trip per month, they do 3 stores. But that will be all they visit that month.

  4. “Private is just as often for Walmart middle managers so they can visit three stores in a day, instead taking three days connecting twice each way to visit one store in flyover country.”


    The only times I’ve ever been deemed worthy of flying “the company plane” or chartering a jet have been where I’ve needed to be in multiple shithole towns in a finite amount of time.

    NY, Paris, Tokyo, you ask?

    No. Waco, Rocky Mount, Huntsville. Look, I’m sure there’s good things to be said about these places such as “The NASA museum in Huntsville is fun.” and “There’s a decent Mexican restaurant in Waco.”, but the real deal with places like these is that they’re a pain in the ass to get to. The closest airport to Rocky Mount, NC is PGV which has 5 flights a day…total. Huntsville has an airport, but it’s not exactly a hub. You really can’t have a meeting in any of these places without devoting 24 hours plus to the endeavor or flying private.

  5. Cathay allows young lap kids to board pretty close to the end, between premium economy and economy. Japan airlines it is pretty close to the beginning. Which airline will I fly next time, regardless of whether it is with family or solo ?— Japan.

  6. This concept really infuriates me. I recall one UA flight very late night Houston to Brazil when I was flying paid first class. I was anxious to get on the plane and to get to sleep. The flight was not crowded and I was in the boarding queue early first in line. The agent told me to stop aside to let a UGS passenger board. It really makes yourp top paying passengers feel like crap. This was the point where I switched back to AA.
    This story happened a month after talking to a UGS in the lounge on the way to Asia. We were comparing schedules and I told him I had been to Asia 6x in 3 months. He said he almost never flies but UA gives all his company VPs UGS. I’m just a schlep flying 120k miles year in year out. When will the airline exec’s realize who really makes corporate travel decisions?

  7. Pablo said:
    ” It really makes yourp top paying passengers feel like crap. This was the point where I switched back to AA.”

    While some GS are handed out by corporate contracts, most get there by flying a lot of paid first and business class (I myself flew 200,000 miles on UA last year, mostly paid biz). That GS who boarded before you may well have been a highly valued customer to United (and on an equally expensive fare).

  8. What is this “Article” even about? It is an incoherent mess.

    “Thought leadership.”

  9. I’m with some of the others, were you on Ambien when you wrote this and decided to make a stream of consciousness post about something we already knew, and make it weird and incoherent? Sometimes it’s okay if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, silence is okay.

  10. This helped me.
    Chicago Cubs seating row A is five rows from the field.
    Not obvious to me that row 1 in seating is not first row.
    Loved Wall Street movie enjoyed clip.

  11. Hahaha. When AA switched to make CC holders group 5 I thought there would be an open revolt on some flights. It was ridiculous. Just get on the plane.

  12. I was surprised recently when 9 wheelchairs (final count: 10) pre-boarded my recent AA flight MEX-LAX. Told the steward I thought this might be a record. “Fourteen!” he non-chalantly replied.

    I can’t even imagine.

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