Sick of being stuck in the final boarding group, only to find there's no more space for your carry-on bag? There's always the option of buying your way into early boarding, along with other perks to help hurry you through security and into your seat.
Here's a quick look at which airlines offer such extras, and what they'll cost you:
|Airline||Product||Cost||How to buy||What you get||The verdict|
|United||Premier Access||$9 and up per segment||Online or at airport kiosk||Dedicated check-in, dedicated security line and priority boarding.||One of the best deals of in the category.|
|JetBlue||Even More Speed||$10 and up per segment||Online or at airport kiosk||Access to expedited security lanes at many airports JetBlue serves. This service is also included in JetBlue's Even More Space seating package, which sometimes can be quite reasonably priced, making that the better value.||Wait and see what lines are like; you can always grab this from the kiosk at check in.|
|American||Group 1 Boarding||$10||Online or at airport kiosk||This strictly a bump up in the boarding line – unlike United, American reserves other services for its elites.||To each his own, but we'd skip it.|
|Delta||Priority Boarding||$10||Online or at airport kiosk||Same as American – just a bump up towards the front of the boarding line.||See above.|
|AirTran||Priority Boarding Option||$10||Check-in||Gets you upgraded to Zone 2, which means you get on fairly quickly.||Again – if you're concerned about your bags, this ensures your overhead space.
|US Airways||Preferred Access||$10
||Online check-in||Dedicated check-in, access to the expedited security line and early boarding (after elites). This is not available at all airports.||This mirrors United's offer – just hope everyone else hasn't signed up for it.|
|Virgin America||Main Cabin Express||$30||Online, airport kiosk||This bundled deal gets you a seat toward the front of the cabin, plus priority security lines / boarding in Group A.||Not bad at all.|
|Southwest||EarlyBird Check-In||$12.50 each way||Online||This service automatically checks you in 36 hours before the flight, before check-in opens to everyone else. It won't guarantee you a spot in the A Boarding group, but that's often what you get. Note: Southwest now sells guaranteed head-of-the-line access for $40 based on availability, 45 minutes before departure on the day of the flight. Inquire at the desk if they don't announce it.||Definitely takes some of the stress out of the boarding scrum. A good buy.|