American Airlines will now end boarding even earlier
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter!
And today, the carrier’s back with an interesting policy update regarding how early you need to arrive at the gate before your flight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees