New Pay Fee, Board Early on American Flights

American Airlines is going to let passengers without top frequent flyer status board flights early, but for a fee. The offering is part of a new "Your Choice" services program announced by the carrier.

American says the program is designed to provide services to make the travel experience "more personalized, convenient, cost effective and flexible." But you have to pay to participate.

Travelers booking a flight on American's website can pay $9 to $19 for a Boarding and Flexibility package that puts you in Group 1 of general boarding for flights - you get to board right after frequent flyers with PriorityAAccess status.

The package also includes a $75 flight change discount (which is half off the regular price), and allows you to standby for an earlier flight at no charge, an option premium-status customers already have.

The offering is available on flights within the continental U.S. Sample fees include $9 on a flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Kansas City, $14 on a flight from Miami to Washington, D.C., and $19 for a flight from New York JFK to Los Angeles.

One advantage of paying the fee: With more people bringing on carry-on to avoid baggage fees, you get earlier access to the overhead compartments.

American is not the first to think up this sort of fee. On Southwest, which does not have pre-assigned seating, you can pay $10 to board flights early.

Photo, boeingdreamscape, flickr
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