Does American Airlines Board Back To Front?

Does American Airlines Board Back To Front

Have you ever wondered how airlines board their passengers? Is it by seat number, group number, or some other system? One of the most common methods is back-to-front boarding. But does american airlines board back to front?

In this article, we will explore whether American Airlines boards back-to-front or if they have a different system in place. 

Does American Airlines Board Back To Front?

Yes, American Airlines boards customers from the back of the plane to the front. This helps avoid congestion in the aisle and ensures that everyone is able to safely board the plane quickly. However, American Airlines may make adjustments or exceptions to this process.

Passengers with special needs or who are eligible for priority boarding can board first. 

American Airlines boarding process is designed to be efficient and orderly, allowing customers to have an enjoyable travel experience. 

Passengers can queue for boarding at their designated gate, where they will be given a boarding group number. 

For example, passengers with special needs or those eligible for priority boarding are usually allowed to board first. 

Additionally, during busy times like holidays or peak travel times, American Airlines may adjust the boarding process to allow more time for passengers to board the plane.

Ultimately, American Airlines is committed to providing a safe, courteous, and efficient boarding experience for all of our customers. 

How Does American Airlines Board?

American Airlines follows a boarding process that prioritizes first class and elite status members, as well as other priority groups like military personnel and families with young children. The remaining passengers are called by zone or group number, starting with those seated in the back of the plane.

American Airlines also offers the option to purchase priority boarding for an additional fee.


Before the general boarding process begins, American Airlines allows certain passengers to pre-board. This includes passengers with disabilities, families with small children, and active-duty military personnel. 

Pre-boarding helps these passengers board before the rest of the passengers, allowing them to take their seats without waiting in long lines.

  • GROUP 1:

The first group to board is Group 1. This includes passengers who purchased a First or Business Class ticket and elite members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program. 

These passengers have access to the airline’s Priority Check-in, Priority Boarding, and Priority Baggage services.

  • GROUP 2:

The second group to the board is Group 2. These are passengers who purchased an economy ticket but do not have elite status in the AAdvantage program. 

This group also has access to Priority Check-in and Priority Boarding, but not the Priority Baggage service.

  • GROUPS 3-5:

The third, fourth, and fifth groups to the board are Groups 3-5. These are passengers who have purchased an economy ticket but have no access to priority services. This group is boarded in order from the back of the aircraft to the front.


The general boarding process begins after all pre-boarding and priority passengers have been seated.

All other economy passengers line up according to their seat numbers, which are displayed at the gate. Once all passengers have been boarded, the plane can take off.

How Are American Airlines Boarding Groups Assigned?

How Are American Airlines Boarding Groups Assigned?
Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash

American Airlines has divided its passengers into nine distinct boarding groups for the purpose of expediting the boarding process. 

Group 1 is made up of first-class and elite-status passengers, while Groups 2-4 are reserved for other elite-status passengers and those who have purchased priority boarding. 

Standard economy passengers are assigned to Groups 5-9, with Group 9 being the last to board.

For those who are not familiar with American Airlines’ boarding process, it is important to note that passengers in the higher boarding groups may board before those in the lower groups. 

For example, a passenger in Group 3 may board before someone in Group 4 even though they are both considered economy passengers.

The order of the boarding groups may vary from flight to flight, but generally, Groups 1-4 board first, followed by Groups 5-9. 

This means that if you are flying in economy class, it is important to check your boarding group before heading to the gate.

What Does Group 7 Mean For American Airlines Boarding Process?

Group 7 is the last group to board American Airlines flights. This group includes passengers who have purchased basic economy tickets, which are the cheapest but have the most restrictions. Group 7 also includes passengers who do not have status with American Airlines or are not traveling in premium cabins. 

The introduction of Group 7 has caused some controversy, as passengers in this group may struggle to find overhead bin space for their carry-on luggage if the earlier groups have already boarded. 

However, American Airlines has stated that the boarding process has been designed to ensure a smooth and efficient experience for all passengers.

What Is The American Airlines Preferred Boarding Process?

American Airlines prefers boarding frequent flyers and customers who have purchased certain ticket types to board the plane before other passengers. American Airlines has several tiers of preferred boarding. The highest tier is ConciergeKey members who receive personalized attention and assistance throughout their travel experience. 

The next tier is Executive Platinum, followed by Platinum Pro, Platinum, Gold, and then those who have purchased certain types of tickets such as Main Cabin Extra or First Class. 

Preferred boarding allows these customers to board the plane earlier, giving them more time to settle in and stow their luggage before the rest of the passengers board.

Can You Board The Plane On Earlier Boarding Group?

With Priority Boarding, you will be able to board with Group 2, regardless of your assigned boarding group. However, if you have not purchased this option and do not have any elite status or card membership, you will have to wait for your assigned boarding group to be called. 

It is important to note that airlines have different policies and procedures for boarding. 

Hence, it is always a good idea to check with your airline before your flight to understand their specific policies and procedures.

Who Gets Priority Boarding On American Airlines?

American Airlines offers priority boarding to several groups of passengers. First, passengers who have purchased First or Business class tickets are given priority boarding. Next, passengers who have elite status in American Airlines’ AAdvantage loyalty program, such as Platinum or Executive Platinum members, are also given priority boarding. 

Finally, active duty U.S. military personnel and their families, as well as passengers with disabilities, are given priority boarding before general boarding begins.

Situation Is back-to-front boarding generally a good idea?
Flights with assigned seating Yes
Flights with unassigned seating No
Flights with multiple boarding groups Yes
Flights with only one boarding group No
Flights with larger aircraft Yes
Flights with smaller aircraft No
Flights with passengers with disabilities or special needs Yes
Flights with passengers traveling with infants or young children Yes
Flights with passengers traveling with emotional support animals No

How To Get Priority Boarding On American Airlines?

How To Get Priority Boarding On American Airlines?
Photo by Pascal Müller on Unsplash

One way is to purchase a higher fare class, such as First Class or Business Class, which includes priority boarding. Another way is to have elite status in the AAdvantage loyalty program. Elite members, such as Platinum and Executive Platinum, are granted priority boarding privileges

Additionally, American Airlines offers a co-branded credit card, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®, which also includes priority boarding benefits. Finally, active-duty military personnel and their families are also granted priority boarding.

When Can You Check In For An American Airlines Flight?

You can check in for an American Airlines flight as early as 24 hours before your scheduled departure time. This can be done online via the American Airlines website or mobile app, or at a self-service kiosk at the airport. 

It is important to check in before the deadline, which is typically 45 minutes prior to domestic flights and 60 minutes prior to international flights

How Early Should You Get To The Airport For American Airlines?

The recommended time to arrive at the airport for American Airlines flights is at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure time for domestic flights and 3 hours for international flights. This allows enough time for check-in, security screening, and boarding. 

Arriving early can help reduce stress and ensure a smoother travel experience.

When Will American Airlines Board The Plane?

American Airlines typically boards the plane anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes before departure, depending on the aircraft type and size of the flight. Passengers who need assistance boarding the plane should inform an American Airlines representative at least 45 minutes before departure

At this time, passengers can also check in and secure a seat assignment prior to boarding. 

Customers are usually welcome to enter the terminal area about 1 hour and 15 minutes before their scheduled flight and proceed to the departure gate for boarding.

How Do Airlines Decide Who Boards First?

The decision is based on a variety of factors, such as the passenger’s ticket class, loyalty status, and whether they need special assistance. First-class and business-class passengers generally board first, followed by frequent flyers and passengers with disabilities. Additionally, families with young children, and passengers with priority boarding passes. 

Some airlines also offer early boarding for passengers who pay an extra fee. 

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure a smooth and efficient boarding process while prioritizing the needs of different types of passengers.


Is Back To Front Boarding Faster?

According to studies, back-to-front boarding is not faster than other boarding methods. It can even be slower because it creates congestion in the aisle and causes passengers to wait longer. Other boarding methods, such as the zone, and random boarding, have been found to be more time efficient

However, airlines still use back-to-front boarding because it is easier to manage and provides a sense of order for passengers.

Who Gets To Board First On American Airlines?

On American Airlines, the boarding order is determined by a priority system. First, pre-boarding is available for customers with disabilities, active military personnel, and families with young children. After that, priority boarding is given to elite-status members, followed by those who have purchased priority boarding

Finally, general boarding begins with those in the back of the plane boarding first and those in the front boarding last.

What Is Back To Front Boarding Strategy?

Back-to-front boarding is a strategy employed by airlines to improve the efficiency of the boarding process. It involves allowing passengers to board from the back of the plane towards the front, reducing congestion in the aisles, and minimizing the time spent waiting to board

This method is designed to expedite the boarding process and create a smoother experience for passengers.

Which Airline Has The Best Boarding Process?

In general, determining which airline has the best boarding process is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some airlines, such as Southwest and JetBlue, use a first-come, first-serve boarding process where passengers line up based on their assigned boarding group

Other airlines, such as Delta and American Airlines, use a zone boarding process where passengers are assigned a specific zone based on their seat location. 

Can Passengers Request To Board Earlier Than Their Assigned Boarding Group On American Airlines Flights?

Yes, passengers can request to board earlier than their assigned boarding group on American Airlines flights. American Airlines has introduced a points-based system where passengers can use their AAdvantage miles to purchase an EarlyBird Check-in. This service allows passengers to board up to 30 minutes earlier than their assigned group. 

This service is especially beneficial for passengers who prefer to have more time to settle into their seats or need extra time to stow their carry-on luggage. 

However, it is important to note that EarlyBird Check-in is subject to availability and not available on all flights.


In conclusion, American Airlines typically follows a back-to-front boarding process, where passengers are called to board the aircraft based on their assigned boarding group. 

As with any boarding process, it’s important for passengers to pay attention to announcements and follow instructions from airline staff to ensure a safe and efficient boarding experience.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

View all posts by Swati Jaiswal →