On June 30th American Airlines Will Revise Its Boarding Groups

On June 30th American Airlines will revise its boarding groups to make two changes. The two top elite levels in the AAdvantage program will be able to board earlier.

Members of American’s ’75K’ elite tier, Platinum Pro, will have their status elevated to emerald level in the oneworld alliance. That means they’ll also receive 3 free checked bags (instead of just two) and they’ll board with other oneworld emerald members – group two rather than their current group three.

And to maintain some of the distinction between the Platinum Pro level and the higher ‘Executive Platinum’ (100K) tier, Executive Platinum members will board with group one instead of group two. Of course this wouldn’t be an airline if group one was the first group to board.

Here’s the new boarding order at American Airlines, starting June 30, 2021:

Boarding Group Eligibility
Concierge Key Concierge Key Member
Group 1 First Class, Business (when that’s the most premium cabin)
AAdvantage Executive Platinum
Active duty U.S. military with I.D.
Group 2 AAdvantage Platinum Pro, oneworld Emerald, Business Class (when there’s First)
Group 3 AAdvantage Platinum, oneworld Sapphire
Group 4 AAdvantage Gold, oneworld Ruby, AirPass, Premium Economy,
Citi Executive cardmembers, Paid ‘Priority’ Boarding, Corporate Contracts
Group 5 Main Cabin Extra, AAdvantage Credit Card
Group 6 AAdvantage Members, Group 6 Boarding Pass
Group 7 Group 7 Boarding Pass
Group 8 Group 8 Domestic, Basic Economy (Europe & South America)
Group 9 Domestic Basic Economy (U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico, Caribbean)

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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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Comments

  1. I assume the chart under Group 2 should read “oneworld Emerald” instead of Sapphire.

  2. Way to Many boarding groups. Someday we’ll go back to a single file line, first come first served. With overheads being able to accommodate more bags, there will be less of a reason to board early.

  3. I think they need at least 10 more boarding groups 9 is not enough
    Group 19 will be the new high end elites as they board last just as the doors are closing and avoid all the gate lice & crowds 😉

  4. Last time they used so many classes I used to tell gate agents that I was magnesium but working up the periodic table to zinc, with a long-term plan to reach gandolinium. They seemed to like that.

  5. Not that it matters, it’s not like the GA’s will honor them or anything. 🙂

  6. Didn’t EXPs get to board with group one a few years back? Might have been before they used group numbers.

  7. If they would only enforce the boarding groups. I have been on recent flights where 30% of the plane boarded with Group 1. SNA for example.

    These extra people were not military, not CK, not in F.

  8. I was on a flight from Tokyo to DFW on American a few years ago and just before boarding began, a gate agent walked along the line that had formed and asked to see each person’s boarding pass. Over half of the passengers weren’t Group 1 and squawked about being asked to wait their turn.

    It was fun to watch.

  9. I’m PP, so Group 3, moving to Group 2. But on Sunday, I was flying F, so I was Group 1, in ANC, which was a DISASTER, but not because of AA as much as the rudest, pushiest passengers EVER. I have never seen anything LIKE it–but, Gary, it’s like the stuff I have been reading about here and in other travel blogs. First, people made fake lines at check in, and decided whoever was sitting in chairs along the windows was in line first, so they yelled at everyone who came to the real line to get in back. At the gate itself, they called Group 1, so I walked to the Gate Lice mass. I asked a couple people if they were Group 1, to ensure I was not walking in front of one of them, but it was impossible to tell. Some lady with Group 4 said, “this is ALL priority boarding.” I said, “No, I am pretty sure it’s just Group 1.” We were boarding a Dreamliner, so it was a large crowd. Right at that moment, the poor GA said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are boarding GROUP ONE ONLY RIGHT NOW. GROUP ONE.” Honest-to-goodness. We have assigned seats on American.

    My experience in ANC has actually caused me to postpone anymore flying that is not 100% necessary until the extra craziness calms down. I can handle crowded airports and lines that are legitimate, but rude people and middle school drama is too much for me. One lady actually even asked me if I was “aware [I was] in the First class line.” I suppose the fact I was in a t-shirt and comfortable pants for a red eye, so I could sleep, meant I didn’t look fancy enough for her. I almost became a MIA story, Gary. I tell you!

  10. Both of my most recent flights on AA, they called groups 1 through 5 all together. Mad rush. I couldn’t even stand up and walk to the gate fast enough to board ahead of the credit card holders. A really shameful ignorance of elite status by AA gate agents.

  11. @Linda and @Lynne

    Handicapped are allowed to request pre-boarding. However, on my ANC flight, the passengers would have told a person with a walker or a wheelchair to get in the back of the line. Honestly, this was not the agents, but the customers. But yes, pre-boarding, so before anyone else.

  12. Weirdly, I boarded 2 AA flights today and, both times, the agent called “Groups 2 through 4” together. I’d never seen that before. These were both full flights on mainline aircraft, and one was at a major hub (ORD).

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