American Airlines finds another fee - for early boarding

Should you pay an additional fee to board a flight early, even when you hold an assigned seat?

American Airlines is betting that enough passengers are fed up with jockeying for increasingly scanty space in the overhead bins to pony up to $38 round trip for the privilege of getting on early.

The new fees don't mean that you will get on first, but that you will be lumped into "Group 1 of General Boarding," which will include members of American's frequent flier program, as well as business travelers and others who purchased unrestricted fares.

American billed its new program, dubbed "Your Choice," as a way for travelers to ease headaches now commonplace to flying -- by paying additional fees to avoid even higher charges if they choose to stand by for an earlier flight, or decide to change their itinerary.

"We're excited to offer customers options to tailor each travel experience to their preferences," said Dan Garton, America's executive vice president of marketing. "Our customers appreciate value and convenience."

"Your Choice" allows passengers to pay an "introductory price" of $9 to $19 each way, depending on the length of the flight, for a package of services including early boarding, standing by for an earlier flight on the day of departure for no extra charge, and half off the airlines' $150 service charge to change an itinerary.