American Airlines’ New Boarding Policy Opens Checked-Bag Fee Loophole

Today American Airlines announced that it is instituting a new boarding procedure wherein any passenger who is carrying on only a bag that can fit under the seat — a purse or a backpack, for instance — will be able to board earlier than the wretches daring to drag on their rolling suitcases. The carrier is hoping to speed up its passenger load times.

But what’s this? An added bonus for those whose only reason in declining to check their small suitcase is to avoid the checked-bag fee:

With the new boarding process, customers who wish to board early before Group 2 can gate-check their carry-on bag at no charge.

You’ll have to pick it up at baggage claim after the flight, but you’ll also get to board early. And just think how pleased you’ll be with yourself, knowing you’re $25 richer.


  • ColinZ

    This ‘loophole’ is not new.

  • SybilsBeaver

    Ive always asked to gate check my carry-on especially on full flights. they love to do it, but now, not only do I save $25 bucks and get my bag first (usually) I get to board early! Finally the airline gives back

    • ColinZ

      But why would you want to? What is the benefit of getting on the plane early if you don’t have a bag going in the overhead bin?

  • Jason Heid

    Agreed. No reason.

    Except maybe everyone knows that the earlier you board, the more important a human being you are?

  • PFF

    Now the people that I have observed many times putting their small under seat bag in the bins (with or without a roller bag) will board early and still put their small under seat bag in the bins –

    • JSSS

      Exactly! And the flight attendants — who love to tell passengers that they are only there to ensure our safety — will stand there and do nothing.

  • SybilsBeaver

    well if you are group 5 with a roller bag, on a full flight, your bag is getting checked anyways and you were last on and Ive noticed those that volunteer to to gate check often get their bags at the baggage claim first