Board Early on American Airlines Flights if You Have a Small Carry-On

Carry-on bags have joined the obesity epidemic in recent years which is why overhead bin space is at such a premium. But if you can put your hand luggage on a diet, American Airlines will give you a prize: Early boarding.

Listen as Rick Seaney explains why this is a big deal:

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Board Ahead of the Herd

FareCompare spoke with an American representative who confirmed that, as of today (May 16), all AA passengers at all airports traveling with a carry-on that fits under the seat in front of them will be allowed to cut in line to the head of general boarding. In other words, they’ll get on the plane after the elites but ahead of the herd.

Light Carry-ons Save Time, Money

For passengers, this means getting settled in seats sooner and less time spent trying to jam too big bags into too small overhead bins (and of course, using any carry-on at all usually means saving a $50 round-trip checked-bag fee). For American, it means a quicker boarding experience, and quicker saves time and money. As FareCompare reported earlier this year, a transportation study notes that every minute cut from the boarding process whittles $30 in costs off a flight and while that may seem like no big deal, it is. The savings “can add up for a carrier like American Airlines, which operates an average of 3,400 flights per day.”

Want to pack like a pro? Here’s how

How to Pack Light

For passengers, this probably means rethinking the carry-on bag itself. Forget a structured or hard-sided shell and use a bag made of squashable material (think in terms of something like a nylon-type gym bag). Experts say rolling up clothing is key to packing light, and wear your heaviest items (including your weightiest shoes). Coats or jackets also provide pocket room for packing little extras.

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Published: May 16, 2013