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American Airlines will now end boarding even earlier

April 27, 2020
3 min read
American Airlines will now end boarding even earlier
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American Airlines has been busy making changes throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Two weeks ago, we saw the airline extend elite status across the board. It also introduced two new creative and generous promotions, including the ability to earn Million Miler status through credit card spend. Additionally, AA's update to the award change and redeposit fee structure wasn’t necessarily good news, depending on how you redeem your miles

Last week, it added detailed upgrade and standby lists to the mobile application and also introduced automatic award reinstatement to select tickets.

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And today, the carrier's back with an interesting policy update regarding how early you need to arrive at the gate before your flight.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-7j5avBrdZ/

Previously, you needed to be at the gate 15 minutes before departure for domestic flights, and 30 minutes for international ones. As of today, the carrier has added an additional 15 minutes to those requirements, bumping it to 30 minutes for domestic and 45 minutes for international, according to an update on its website.

Related: American Airlines joins Delta and United in extending elite status and more

As part of this update to its conditions of carriage, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier is also changing when boarding ends. Previously, it ended 10 minutes before departure; now, that'll be 15.

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These updates come at a time when airlines are beginning to implement social distancing on flights. We've seen Delta already adopt a formal policy on social distancing.

But American says this update isn't actually related to the coronavirus.

Related: Preboarding screenings and new cleaning procedures: How US airlines are working to keep flyers healthy

Instead, an AA spokesperson explains that "to process standby customers, our final boarding will be at 15 minutes to allow the agent time to unseat misconnects, no-shows, etc., and accommodate standby customers."

Clearly, these updates seem designed to help the carrier with its mission to hit D0 — or departing exactly on time. By padding the boarding times, the airline will help its gate agents hit the D0 metric. However, this is certainly bad news for those with tight connections, who'll now need to sprint to their next gate.

Though the spokesperson states that the "door still closes 10 minutes before departure," the change may create pressure for gate agents to close flights earlier. Either way, confirmed passengers won't be allowed to board within 15 minutes of departure, if agents follow the new policy to the letter.

As such, if you're traveling anytime soon, be sure to pay attention to these new requirements. Otherwise, you'll forfeit your seat and need to get on a later flight.

All photos by the author.

Featured image by Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more