For a domestic passenger, the typical boarding time for an aircraft is about 30 minutes, though airlines appear to be boarding earlier and earlier to try to get those flights off on time and improve ratings.
I’m a big proponent of arriving at the gate 10 minute prior to scheduling boarding – sure, it takes ten minutes out of my day, but it prepares me for early boarding and allows me to secure prime overhead bin storage space which is really important for me. I know others would disagree with me and arrive anytime throughout the boarding process, especially if you have elite status, however having a place to store my luggage without needing to gate check it is very important to me – and I don’t want to “swim upstream” on the plane, needing to place it somewhere in the back of the aircraft because the front has run out of room.
American boards some aircraft early, and it’s interesting to know which ones, since this could effect your next flight. Your typical point A to point B domestic flights will still have a 30 minute boarding window, but some aircraft, even on a domestic route, will board slightly earlier.
American released this information to employees during the month of April, and it’s recently been updated on their website.
30 Minutes Prior to Departure
If your aircraft is an A319, A320, A321T, E190, S80, B737 and you’re flying within the 48 contiguous states, Alaska or Canada, you’ll board 30 minutes prior to departure. All American Eagle flights also board 30 minutes prior to departure. These flights have less than 165 seats onboard.
35 Minutes Prior to Departure
If your aircraft is an A321, A321S, A330, B757, B767, B787, B777 and you’re flying within the 48 contiguous states, Alaska and Canada, you’ll board 35 minutes prior to departure. These planes have 165 seats or more onboard.
45 Minute Prior to Departure
If your flight is to the Caribbean, Central America, Hawaii, Mexico or the South American cities of La Paz, BO; Santa Cruz, BO; Maracaibo, VE; Caracas, VE; Bogota, CO; Cali, CO; Medellin, CO; Guayaquil, EC; Quito, EC, you’ll board 45 minutes prior to departure.
50 Minutes Prior to Departure
If your flight is to Europe, the Middle East, Asia or the South American destinations of Asuncion, PY; Brasilia, BR; Belo Horizonte, BR; Curitiba, Br; Buenos Aires, AR; Rio de Janeiro, BR; Sao Paulo, BR; Lima, PE; Montevideo, UY; Porto Alegre, BR; Recife, BR; Salvador, BR; Santiago, CL; Sao Paulo Viracop, BR, you’ll board 50 minutes prior to departure.
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