Skip to main content

No carry-on luggage? Please board now

By Katia Hetter, CNN
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Passengers without carry-on luggage may board after first class and frequent fliers
  • American is testing the program in four airports
  • Other airlines already allow bag-free customers to board before those with carry-ons

(CNN) -- No carry-on luggage? No problem.

American Airlines may soon allow customers without carry-on luggage to board right after first class and elite status passengers -- and before other coach customers hauling luggage into the passenger cabin.

The airline has been quietly testing the program for several weeks to positive response at Dulles International Airport, Baltimore Washington International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, said an American spokeswoman.

"This boarding test is one more example of the progress we're making to provide our customers with an exceptional travel experience as we leverage innovation to evaluate and improve every step of the customer journey," said American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely, in a statement.

Huguely added that this is "a limited test."

"Should we decide to modify our regular boarding process, we will be informing our people and our customers first," she said.

The policy makes sense to travel blogger John DiScala of JohnnyJet.com, who first noticed and tweeted about the American test program during the boarding of a Chicago flight at the Fort Lauderdale airport last week.

"The plane doesn't make money when it's sitting on the ground," he said. "Having people without carry-ons board (first) makes the boarding process quicker. They're always waiting for people with bags (to stow their bags). And they're always trying to get people to check their bags (for a fee)."

Other airlines already reward passengers

American was the first airline to charge a checked bag fee in 2008. But it's not the first airline to give priority to passengers boarding bag-free.

Alaska Airlines has been offering early boarding for passengers with no carry-ons since October 2011. "We don't offer this on every flight, but do offer this on our fuller flights," said airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan, via e-mail. Those passengers get to board after travelers needing assistance or traveling with children, uniformed members of the military, first class and frequent flier passengers.

In addition to allowing its frequent fliers and purchasers of premium seats to board first, Frontier Airlines also boards customers without carry-on luggage ahead of burdened passengers.

American carriers collected $2.6 billion in baggage fees in the first three quarters of 2012, according to Department of Transportation figures.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 1:47 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:54 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT