Boarding process − Travel information − American Airlines (2023)

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When and how we board

Most flights start boarding 30 - 50 minutes before scheduled departure, but the exact time depends on your destination and plane. Boarding ends 15 minutes before departure. If you’re not on board, we may reassign your seat to another passenger. You will not be allowed to board once the doors close.

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To allow enough time, review our recommended arrival and check-in times before planning your travel day.

Check-in and arrival

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Customers who need special assistance and families with children under 2 years old can ask to board early at the gate.

Boarding order

GroupBoarding pass type
ConciergeKey® membersConciergeKey®
Group 1First
Active duty U.S. military with military I.D.
AAdvantage Executive Platinum®
(Business on a 2-class international plane)
Group 2AAdvantage Platinum Pro®
oneworld® Emerald℠
(Business on a 3-class plane)
Group 3AAdvantage Platinum®
oneworld® Sapphire℠
Group 4AAdvantage Gold®
oneworld® Ruby℠
Premium Economy
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive cardmembers
Travelers who bought Priority boarding
Eligible corporate travelers**
Group 5 (Preferred boarding)Main Cabin Extra (excluding Basic Economy)
AAdvantage® members who earn 15,000 Loyalty Points
Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers*
Group 6AAdvantage® members
Group 7Group 7
Group 8Group 8
Basic Economy to / from Europe & South America
Group 9Basic Economy within the U.S., Canada, Central America, Mexico & Caribbean

*Eligible AAdvantage® credit cardmembers (on American Airlines flights) include:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® American Express® Card
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Visa Signature
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Silver Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

**You’re an eligible corporate traveler if traveling on company business for an employer with an active American Airlines Corporate Travel Agreement at the time of ticketing and travel. Only tickets booked and paid for via an authorized Agency of Record for the company and with a unique identifier (CART number) are eligible. If you’re eligible for a higher boarding priority based on ticket class or AAdvantage® status, it will be processed.

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How does American Airlines determine boarding? ›

How are American Airlines boarding groups assigned? American passengers are put in the highest group for which they qualify. For example, basic economy passengers are typically assigned to Group 9. However, if a passenger with AAdvantage Gold elite status books a basic economy ticket, they will get upgraded to Group 4.

What is the process of boarding a flight? ›

  • Check-in for your flight.
  • Hand over any luggage that would need to go into the aircraft hold, if you are travelling with luggage.
  • Pass through the airport security gates to the departures hall.
  • Find your boarding gate.
  • Board the plane and fly to your destination.
Nov 20, 2020

What is standard boarding on American Airlines? ›

Most flights start boarding 30 - 50 minutes before scheduled departure, but the exact time depends on your destination and plane. Boarding ends 15 minutes before departure. If you're not on board, we may reassign your seat to another passenger. You will not be allowed to board once the doors close.

How does the boarding process work? ›

How does the boarding process work? You will be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and position (1-60+) upon check in. Your unique group and position combination (for example: A35) will be displayed on your boarding pass and represents a reserved spot in the boarding group at the gate.

At what point do you get your boarding pass? ›

Once you've checked-in for a flight the airline will provide you with your boarding pass. You can use the link in your confirmation email to check-in online.

What four pieces of information will appear on a boarding pass? ›

Here, we dig in to help you decipher what it all means.
  • Bar code. One of the most recognizable items on your boarding pass is the bar code. ...
  • Your unique identifier. ...
  • Flight code and number. ...
  • A floating letter. ...
  • Other airlines. ...
  • Security codes. ...
  • Stopover.
Mar 15, 2022

What are passenger boarding steps? ›

Aircraft Passenger Stairs are very important for aircraft travel, to allow for a safe and easy passage entry and exit of the aircraft. Boarding stairs may also be called air stairs, aircraft steps, or boarding stairs. Air passenger stairs and provide a mobile means to traverse between aircraft doors and the ground.

What to expect when boarding a plane for the first time? ›

Best advice for first-time flyers
  1. Check the airline's luggage requirements. It's easy to overpack — but if you do, it could cost you. ...
  2. Pack essentials in your carry-on. ...
  3. Arrive at the airport two hours early. ...
  4. Keep your ID handy. ...
  5. Wear easy-to-remove shoes. ...
  6. Respect other passengers' space. ...
  7. Have a backup plan ready.
May 9, 2022

Do I need to print my boarding pass? ›

Depending on the requirements of airport authorities, you will need to present a mobile boarding pass, a paper boarding pass printed out by you or a paper boarding pass picked up from the check-in desk.

What determines what boarding group you are? ›

For one thing, most airlines determine boarding groups based on ticketing class (first, business, economy or basic economy). Most airlines also base boarding class on passengers with disabilities, families with children under a certain age, active military members or other similar situations.

How are boarding zones determined? ›

Get on board with zone boarding

Customers are placed in one of five predetermined zones and are invited to board the plane only when their zone number is called. Boarding zones are determined by travel class, status and fare/ product type.

What is boarding group 7 on American Airlines? ›

Who is in group 7 on American? Boarding group 7 on American Airlines includes general boarding for passengers who do not hold any elite status with AAdvantage or Oneworld and do not carry any of the eligible co-branded American Airlines credit cards.

How does American Airlines seat selection work? ›

Go to “My trips/check-in” from the homepage and enter your name and record. From there, you can choose seats. If seats are unavailable, check back later or you can change seats when you check in. If you're unable to choose seats when you book, check back closer to departure or we'll assign you a seat when you check in.


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