How to Get Priority Boarding on Flights | Upgrade Your Air Travel Experience!


One of the most stressful parts of traveling
is boarding a plane only to find that there isn’t any overhead space. The next thing you know, you’re having to
walk down the airplane aisle in search for an overhead bin that’s away from your seat. Or even worse, you’re forced to check-in
your bag because there isn’t any space available. Hey, how’s it going, everyone? It’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In this video, we’re going to cover ways
to get ahead of the general crowd when boarding a plane, and how you can you increase the
odds of getting a coveted overhead bin space. I know many of you like to pack light and
avoid checking in your bag. Doing so means you not only save on baggage
fees for many flights, but also on the time having to wait at the baggage claim for your
luggage. There are also times when you don’t want
to risk the chance of losing your luggage on a flight, especially if you’re going
to a special event or important work meeting. Though getting an overhead bin space can be
a challenge, especially if you’re on a full flight. It also doesn’t help that many passengers
will often start putting all their bags and personal items in the overhead bins, taking
up the previous room for bags that can’t fit underneath a seat. If you’re one of those people, make sure
to wait until everyone is on-board before stuffing the bins with your personal items. So today, I want to explore how to get priority
boarding on a flight. I know some of you hate the idea of paying
extra. But since this is a common stress point during
air travel for me, I’m guessing it’s the same for you. I know that I’ve often felt that it’s
worth paying a bit extra if I can increase the odds of getting overhead bin space, and
in the case of Southwest and JetBlue, getting a better seat. Before we get started, if you’re new here,
welcome to our channel. Trip Astute is a travel channel that is focused
on sharing ways to make travel easier, affordable, and more enjoyable. Traveling can be stressful and expensive,
so we’re looking for ways to help you maximize your experience through travel tips, points
and miles, and innovative gear. If that sounds interesting to you, please
consider subscribing. The traditional way of getting into a priority
boarding group is to have airline status. In fact, when I used to travel every week
as a consultant, I earned United Gold status which I absolutely loved. Since I was spending a lot of time in planes,
being able to get on-board early and stow my baggage without any worries was great. And every once in awhile I’d get a bump
into business class, which was even better. Nowadays, I don’t travel as much for work. So getting priority boarding is more of a
challenge. So I thought we would explore the options
available with some of the major airline carriers in the US. Of course, there are a ton of different airlines
with different policies. But for the sake of the video, I thought we
would focus on American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United, and Southwest. So, let’s jump into each airlines priority
boarding options. For American Airlines, you’ll notice when
selecting your seat that American Airlines tries to steer you toward premium seats with
the promise that you can board earlier and get better access to overhead bins. However, you don’t have to get an expensive
premium seat. You can purchase a priority boarding pass
when booking your ticket or even after your booking is complete. The prices vary but start at $9 per way. Buying Priority Boarding gets you into Group
4, which is two groups ahead of the main boarding group. There are still a lot of boarding groups ahead
of you, but I think you’re still likely to find an overhead bin if you’re in any
of the groups prior to group 7. For Delta, you can purchase Priority Boarding
for $15. This allows you to board during the Main Cabin
1 group. The Priority Boarding covers a flight, so
you would need to purchase it for multiple legs if you don’t have a non-stop flight. The Main Cabin 1 Group is where some of the
lower-tier status members are boarding, so it’s very likely that you’ll get an overhead
bin space. Sadly, anyone seated in Basic Economy folks
is almost guaranteed to struggle to find any bin space. And the option to get Priority Boarding is
not an option if you’re in Basic Economy. For JetBlue, they offer a service called Even
More Space. You’re essentially getting a larger seat,
priority boarding, and access to special security lines. It costs around $30 to $90, depending on your
flight. The Even More Space boarding group is fairly
high on the list, so your odds of getting an overhead bin space is high. For Southwest, it’s a bit complicated. Southwest assigns your boarding position based
on the time that you check-in to your flight. Basically, they allow you to check-in 24 hours
before your flight. Though if you’re not quick to check-in,
you can often end up in a later boarding group. Southwest passengers with A-List status automatically
get into the A boarding group. However, Southwest does sell an Early-bird
check-in service for flights. For $15 to $25 dollars per flight, you can
be automatically checked in, which usually means that you’re in the A group. There’s no guarantee, but you’re definitely
going to be ahead of the general boarding group that manually checks in. For United, they offer a few options for priority
boarding starting at $15. This gets you into Boarding Group 2, which
is just ahead of the general boarding groups. They also have a Premier Access service that
lets you use special security lines. However, like Delta, the caveat is that you
can’t get either of these services if you’re flying on a Basic Economy ticket. So, you might be asking, aren’t there other
ways to get priority boarding? The answer is yes. For those of you that watch this channel,
you know that I have the United Explorer card which not only gives me free check-in bags
and additional award seat availability but also priority boarding. In fact, many of the airline cards offer some
kind of priority boarding service. I guess you could call it the poor man’s
airline status, but hey, it works. For example, for American Airlines, the Citi
AAdvantage Executive card gives you priority boarding. The personal and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum
Select cards give you preferred boarding as part of your card membership. As I mentioned earlier, Priority boarding
puts you in group 4, and preferred boarding puts you in group 5. The general boarding starts at group 6, so
it should help alleviate the issue of finding overhead bin space. For Delta, the American Express Delta Reserve,
Platinum Delta SkyMiles, and Gold Delta SkyMiles cards all offer Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding. Unfortunately for JetBlue, neither of the
JetBlue cards from Barclaycard offer any sort of priority boarding perk or benefit. For Southwest, the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards
Priority Card and the new Performance Business card offers four upgraded boardings per year. And for United, both the Chase United Explorer
and United Explorer Business provide Priority Boarding, which is Group 2. The Chase United Club card offers Premier
Access. And finally, there are several other cards
that offer some kind of travel credit or flight incidental credit. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers
a $300 travel credit which can be applied to pretty much anything related to travel. Both the American Express Platinum and Gold
card have an airline fee credit which you can only use on incidentals, like baggage
fees, lounge passes, or even priority boarding upgrades. While buying airline gift cards used to work
to trigger this credit, it no longer does. So, consider getting a priority boarding pass
if you need to use your airline fee credit on your Gold or Platinum card. Lastly, I have a few tips I want to share
if you’re interested in priority boarding. 1. Priority boarding passes are usually non-refundable:
I know this to be the case since I have changed my Southwest flights way too many times and
have lost the early-bird check-in that I purchased. These services are usually not transferable
either, so if you switch your flight, you usually have to re-purchase the priority boarding
if you want it. It’s very annoying, but it’s just the
way it is. 2. Consider getting Global Entry or TSA PreCheck:
Some of these priority or preferred boarding services allow you to skip into an expedited
security line. However, it’s sometimes the same line as
TSA PreCheck, or one that is similar. I personally think that Global Entry and TSA
PreCheck are valuable services to get, especially if you have a credit card that will reimburse
you for the enrollment fee. For more information on Global Entry, which
includes TSA PreCheck, check out our video on it. Having these services really helps to reduce
the stress of air travel by making it easier and faster to get through security. And if you happen to have multiple cards with
the Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement benefit, consider applying it toward a family
member or friend who travels. 3. Consider an award status match: If you happen
to be a frequent flier on a specific airline, but are traveling on another airline without
any status, consider requesting a status match. We did a whole video on the process, so check
it for more information. 4. Pack a collapsible bag: Despite your best
effort to travel without checking in your bag, there is always the possibility that
you’ll have to do it. If you don’t have another personal item
or bag, I recommend packing a collapsible bag. This will allow you to quickly transfer some
items from your main bag in the event that you’re forced to check-in your carry-on
luggage. This happened to me when I used to travel
for work. There was one week where I flew to a smaller
airport to visit a data center in Texas, and the plane had smaller overhead compartments
which did not fit my bag. So always assume that you might have to check-in
your bag, even if you don’t want to. Have any of you paid for a priority or preferred
boarding upgrade? Or do you just use a credit card benefit to
board early? I’m curious how you all handle this stressful
and annoying aspect of air travel. If you’re interested in applying for a credit
card, we would love it if you used our link in the video description or on our website. It’s an easy way to support our channel,
especially if you’ve found our content to be valuable and helpful. Also, if you need any help with picking the
right credit card or developing a card strategy, sign-up for our free card consultation service. You basically fill out a questionnaire and
schedule a 15-minute video or audio call with me to review your recommendation. As always, we hope you enjoyed the video and
found it useful. If so, please give us a thumbs up and consider
sharing the video with others. It really helps us with growing our channel
and community. Until next time, travel safe and travel smart.

21 Replies to “How to Get Priority Boarding on Flights | Upgrade Your Air Travel Experience!”

  1. Do you all find the hunt for overhead bin space to be stressful as well? How do you ensure that you get a space for your carry-on bag? 😎

  2. We are lucky because our daughter is only two so we priority boarding!! But good info!! Thanks

  3. Like the point that you made regarding people stuffing everything into the overhead bin. The one thing that bugs me is when things aren't orderly in the overhead bin; bags sideways, 4 inches from another bag, etc.

  4. Wow, i've never ever had an issue with overhead bin space so I always thought Priority boarding was simply to get on & off first. I guess I'll have to start taking this into consideration when getting my ticket.

  5. New sub to the channel!!! Please please can you upload the exact trip Astute iPhone wallpaper you use for remembering which card to use for which rotating category… I think its a great idea and could help many of us who have multiple cards with rotating categories and it's free advertising for you too!! :))

  6. Just wanted to add that Barclays AA credit card also has preferred boarding. Most people forget that Barclays is a viable alternative to the Citi AA credit cards.

  7. I waited an hour and a half one time to get my bag back that I checked onto an American Airlines flight after landing. After that annoying experience I got the Citi Aadvantage credit card so that I could at least check a bag for free. As a really tall dude, I need more space to pack. Airlines in general are annoying enough to charge hefty fees for extra legroom for the privileged of being comfortable.

  8. Barclays aviator mastercard (personal and business) also gets you preferred boarding. (for you and up to 4 others)

  9. Nice video. I prefer to spend the maximum time in the lounges instead of priority boarding. Rather board last than standing in queues like school kids.

  10. Thanks a lot for the video. I have the United Explorer card as well as the Southwest Priority card and I got approved for Global Entry this year so I've got those bases covered. I need to look into something for American Airlines and that will cover the airlines that fly out of my closest airport.

  11. Since I'm based out of Chicago, I'm pretty UA loyal and have the Explorer card. I find the free checked back and priority boarding incredibly valuable. There was a year where we were doing a lot of travel with UA and opted by purchase the Economy Plus subscription. We ended up saving money, getting more space, and priority boarding. I'd suggest folks look into that as it may be a viable option. We always buy Economy Plus so it made sense for us. I've also flown that more space option with Jet Blue and it was delightful.

  12. Hi,, the for the tips, the priority boarding with the brand cards, is buying the ticket or just showing at the counter…

  13. The plane is alright but the plane got some got some issues you can't stretch your legs out you can't stretch out the seats is too cluttered the seats are too close together I'm sorry but they need to redo the planes the seats need to be renewed it need more space for people to move their legs and stretch out and the seats are too close together that's what I don't like about planes they need to renew the plains need some new planes if we can get new cars we can get new planes and that's what they need to work on the plains need to be a little bit more bigger and wider for the people to walk move the seat should not be close together the seat should be stretched out to a bed and seat every plane should have and people will enjoy their trip we need new planes we need new buses the buses need to be renew to and need two bathrooms for each plane buses to this is what they need to work on to have a good trip

  14. We traveled on Delta this past week from Atlanta to Sacramento and Active Duty Military and their spouse (us) received priority boarding above diamond status members. Welcome surprise. Also, Atlanta was a 45 min layover hub transferring from a smaller plain. Was glad I checked my pilot bag otherwise we might have missed our connecting flight waiting in line immediately after landing.

  15. Even when you get Main Cabin 1 on Delta, sometimes you have to be at the front of the group just to be safe. It's crazy how many people board in Main1. Looking forward to finally getting Gold status with them later this year and getting ahead of the Main1 chaos.

    Also, since United's general boarding groups go Window (3), Middle (4), Aisle (5) then basic, aim for a window seat if you're on a regular economy ticket!

  16. Do you know of any good sites or blogs where it breaks down how many points you need for economy/first class flights ? What airlines have the best redemptions to the city you want to travel

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