Is American Airlines Priority Worth It?

With crowded flights and seemingly endless airport lines, priority boarding and privileges can help make travel less stressful. But American Airlines offers various priority options at different price points, leaving travelers unsure if it’s actually worthwhile.

We’ll break down exactly what benefits you get with American’s priority designations, including Main Cabin Extra, Group 6 boarding, and premium seats, so you can decide if paying more is the right choice for you given your travel habits and priorities.

Understanding American Airlines’ Boarding Process

When it comes to flying with American Airlines, understanding the boarding process can greatly enhance your travel experience. Knowing how the boarding process works will allow you to plan accordingly and make the most of your time at the airport.

In this article, we will delve into the standard boarding order and how priority status can affect your boarding position.

Standard Boarding Order

American Airlines follows a zone-based boarding process, which allows for an organized and efficient boarding experience. The standard boarding order is as follows:

  • Pre-boarding: This is reserved for passengers who require extra time or assistance, such as those with disabilities, families traveling with young children, or individuals needing extra time to stow their carry-on luggage.
  • Group 1: This includes First Class passengers and active U.S. military personnel.
  • Group 2: This includes Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Platinum members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program.
  • Group 3: This includes Gold members of the American Airlines AAdvantage program, as well as Oneworld Sapphire members.
  • Group 4: This includes Oneworld Ruby members, as well as passengers who have purchased priority boarding or preferred seats.
  • Groups 5 and 6: This includes passengers in the main cabin, with Group 5 boarding before Group 6.

It’s important to note that Group 7 is not used for standard boarding and is typically reserved for passengers who have purchased Basic Economy tickets.

How Priority Changes Your Boarding Order

If you have priority status with American Airlines, such as being an elite member of the AAdvantage program or purchasing priority boarding, your boarding order will be upgraded. This means you will have the opportunity to board earlier than those in the standard boarding groups.

For example, if you are a Gold member of the AAdvantage program or an Oneworld Sapphire member, you will be able to board in Group 3 instead of Group 4. This can give you a head start in finding overhead bin space and settling into your seat comfortably.

Additionally, purchasing priority boarding or preferred seats can also improve your boarding position. By doing so, you will be assigned to Group 4, allowing you to board ahead of the main cabin passengers in Groups 5 and 6.

It’s important to weigh the benefits of priority boarding against the additional cost. If you value the convenience of early boarding and securing overhead bin space, it might be worth it for you. However, if you prefer to save on costs and don’t mind boarding later, it may not be necessary.

For more information on American Airlines’ boarding process, you can visit their official website

Main Cabin Extra

When flying with American Airlines, you may have come across the option of upgrading to Main Cabin Extra. But what exactly is Main Cabin Extra and is it worth the cost? Let’s take a closer look at this seating option.

What is Main Cabin Extra?

Main Cabin Extra is a premium economy class offered by American Airlines. It provides passengers with additional legroom and enhanced comfort compared to the standard economy class seats. This upgrade allows you to enjoy a more spacious seating arrangement, making your journey more comfortable and enjoyable.

With Main Cabin Extra, you’ll have extra legroom, which can make a significant difference, especially on long-haul flights. The additional space allows you to stretch your legs and move around more freely, reducing the discomfort that can often come with being confined to a small space for an extended period.

Main Cabin Extra Perks

In addition to the extra legroom, Main Cabin Extra offers a few additional perks that can enhance your flying experience. These perks include:

  • Prioritised boarding: Main Cabin Extra passengers are typically allowed to board the plane before other economy class passengers, giving them more time to settle in and find space for their carry-on luggage.
  • Complimentary alcoholic beverages: As a Main Cabin Extra passenger, you’ll receive complimentary alcoholic beverages during your flight, allowing you to relax and enjoy your journey a little more.
  • Enhanced meal options: Depending on the duration of your flight, Main Cabin Extra passengers may have access to a wider selection of meals and snacks, providing you with a more satisfying dining experience.

Is Main Cabin Extra Worth the Cost?

Whether or not Main Cabin Extra is worth the cost depends on your personal preferences and travel needs. If you value comfort and are willing to pay a little extra for additional legroom, then it can be a great option.

However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t mind the standard economy class seating, it may not be necessary.

It’s also worth considering the length of your flight. If you’re embarking on a long-haul journey, the extra legroom provided by Main Cabin Extra can make a significant difference in terms of comfort. On shorter flights, the benefits may not be as noticeable.

Ultimately, the decision to upgrade to Main Cabin Extra is subjective. If you prioritize comfort and are willing to pay for the additional perks, it can be a worthwhile investment. However, if you’re looking to save money or are content with standard economy class seating, you may not find it necessary.

For more information on Main Cabin Extra and other seating options, you can visit the American Airlines official website.

Group 6 Priority Boarding

Group 6 priority boarding is a service offered by American Airlines that allows passengers to board the plane before the general boarding process. It is designed to provide convenience and a smoother travel experience for those who choose to purchase this option.

What is Group 6 Priority Boarding?

Group 6 priority boarding is part of American Airlines’ boarding group system. Passengers in this group are typically those who have purchased certain fare classes, such as Basic Economy or Main Cabin, or those who hold elite status with the airline’s frequent flyer program.

By being in Group 6, passengers have the advantage of boarding earlier than those in the general boarding group, giving them more time to settle into their seats and stow their carry-on baggage. This can be especially beneficial for travelers who prefer to have overhead bin space near their seats or have specific seating preferences.

Group 6 vs Main Cabin Extra

Main Cabin Extra is another option offered by American Airlines that provides additional legroom and other perks such as complimentary alcoholic beverages. While both options offer certain benefits, they cater to different needs and preferences.

Group 6 priority boarding primarily focuses on providing an early boarding opportunity, allowing passengers to secure their preferred seats and have ample time to settle in. On the other hand, Main Cabin Extra focuses on providing a more comfortable in-flight experience through enhanced seating arrangements.

It’s important to note that Group 6 priority boarding does not include any additional legroom or other in-flight amenities. It solely focuses on the boarding process.

When Group 6 Can Make Sense

Group 6 priority boarding can be a worthwhile option for certain travelers, depending on their specific needs and preferences. Here are a few scenarios where Group 6 can make sense:

  • Travelers who have a preference for specific seating arrangements and want to ensure they have access to overhead bin space near their seats.
  • Passengers who want to board early to settle in and get organized before the flight takes off.
  • Individuals who are traveling with larger carry-on bags and want to secure space in the overhead bins.

Ultimately, the decision to opt for Group 6 priority boarding depends on the individual traveler’s priorities. It’s essential to consider factors such as seating preferences, carry-on baggage needs, and overall comfort during the boarding process before making a decision.

For more information on American Airlines’ priority boarding options, you can visit their official website:

First Class and Business Class Upgrades

When it comes to flying in style, first class and business class upgrades can make a world of difference. These premium cabins offer enhanced comfort, personalized service, and a host of other benefits that can greatly enhance your travel experience.

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or someone looking to splurge on a special occasion, understanding the options available to you is key to making an informed decision.

Understanding Premium Cabins

First class and business class are the two main premium cabins offered by American Airlines. First class offers the ultimate luxury experience, with spacious seats that can recline into a fully flat bed, gourmet dining options, and exclusive access to airport lounges.

Business class, on the other hand, provides a comfortable and productive environment for work and relaxation, with ample legroom, lie-flat seats, and upgraded dining options. Both options offer priority boarding, increased baggage allowance, and access to priority check-in and security lanes.

Using Miles to Upgrade

One way to secure a first class or business class upgrade without breaking the bank is by using your frequent flyer miles. American Airlines offers a mileage upgrade program that allows you to use your miles to upgrade your seat.

The number of miles required for an upgrade will vary depending on the route and availability, so it’s important to check the airline’s website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information.

Keep in mind that upgrade availability may be limited, especially during peak travel periods.

Purchasing Upgrades

If you don’t have enough miles for an upgrade or prefer not to use them, you can also purchase upgrades directly from American Airlines. These paid upgrades are typically available closer to the departure date and can be purchased either during the booking process or at the airport check-in counter.

The cost of the upgrade will depend on various factors, including the route, cabin availability, and demand. It’s worth noting that purchasing an upgrade does not guarantee a specific seat or cabin, as it is subject to availability.

Comparing the Upgrade Options

When considering whether an upgrade is worth it, it’s important to compare the benefits and costs of the different options. First class upgrades generally come with a higher price tag but offer a more luxurious experience, while business class upgrades provide a good balance between comfort and affordability.

Take into account factors such as the duration of the flight, the amenities offered in each cabin, and your personal preferences to determine which option suits you best. Additionally, consider the potential value of the upgrade in terms of increased comfort, productivity, and overall travel experience.

Weighing the Value for Your Needs

Ultimately, the decision of whether an American Airlines first class or business class upgrade is worth it will depend on your individual needs and priorities. If you value luxury, privacy, and personalized service, a first class upgrade may be worth the investment.

On the other hand, if you’re more concerned with comfort and value for money, a business class upgrade might be a better fit. Consider your budget, travel habits, and preferences to make an informed decision that aligns with your priorities.


With crowded planes becoming the norm, paying extra for priority can ease some of the headaches of traveling. But the value depends greatly on your personal needs and preferences. Frequent and leisure travelers will view the cost-benefit analysis quite differently.

Weigh your options carefully as you decide if priority makes sense for your next American Airlines flight.

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