This past weekend I noticed the following Twitter exchange between @JohnnyJet and American Airlines:
Curiosity peaked, I emailed American’s PR team on Monday and received the following reply yesterday (bolding mine):
I just heard back from the customer contact planning group. American is indeed testing this new process at select airports whereby customers who do not have any baggage to stow in the overhead compartment are boarded in a separate group. This is a very limited test and no results have even been analyzed yet.
It’s not necessarily hush-hush, but the PR rep noted that American didn’t wish to provide additional details beyond confirming the test.
So long as elites and others with Priority Access are boarded ahead of this group, I think it’s a great idea as long as it’s enforced properly. Potential downsides: turning people away who think they qualify causing a congested boarding lane, and the possibility that gate checking bags once the overhead bins are full could lead to departure delays since all remaining passengers needing overhead bin space are at the tail end of boarding as opposed to being spaced out. That said, if everyone else is in their seats already, it might not be a big deal.
What do you think?