I often say that you do not want to board first. You want to board ‘not last’ so that the plane hasn’t run out of overhead bin space by the time you get on. Boarding early is about one thing only: not having to gate check your carry on bag.
That’s why I absolutely love a quick overnight, and on a two night trip sometimes stretch myself to travel with just my laptop bag, so that I don’t need overhead bin space. I can show up at the airport later. I can work productively in the lounge. And I don’t have to rush boarding. As someone that values every 5 minutes in my day (I really do keep myself that busy), this matters to me.
But first class boards first and then passengers sit on the plane for half an hour and everyone else shuffles by. Wouldn’t it be better and more comfortable to avoid that extra 30 minutes on board?
First class passengers shouldn’t want to board first. The problem is access to overhead bin space. When you’re at the front of the plane it’s not enough for there to still be some on the plane. You don’t want the bin space to be in the back of the plane, where you’ll have to either fight your way to the back when you land (and wait to get off) or wait for everyone else to deplane in order to get your bags.
There may not be enough bin space for all first class passengers. If you board first you can at least put your stuff in the front rows of coach. And even if there’s enough space up front, there’s a good chance that ccoach passengers will take it as they walk back through the aircraft on the way to their seats.
Delta puts signs in their first class overhead bins that say they’re for first class passengers only. American now does this too, but there’s not really enforcement.
In the meantime I board first for the overhead bin space, open my laptop and work throughout boarding.
Now it’s not all about overhead bin space. Another reason to board first is to avoid standing in a clogged jetway. But boarding last accomplishes this too.