Airlines that sell priority boarding privileges if you're willing to pay

July 26, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    For an extra fee, some airlines will let you get on the plane earlier than other passengers, giving you a better chance of finding space in the overhead bin among other benefits.

     Airline

    What it's called

    How much

    What you get

    Browser says

     AirTran

    Priority Boarding

    $10

    You'll board in Zone 2 – behind the Business Class passengers.

    This is something you buy at the airport; and probably only worth it if the flight is super full. Rather unexciting.

     Allegiant

    Priority Boarding

    $9.99

    You'll be the first to board.

    You can buy this in advance; on an airline like this with mostly slow moving leisure travelers, $9.99 isn't bad to hurtle ahead of all of them.

     American

    Your Choice

    $9

    Group 1 Boarding – be among the first to board, for a small fee. (The security line jump is still only just for special people, sorry.)

    Congratulations to AA on another smooth revenue generating move – getting rid of back-to-front boarding means they may sell more of this option.

     JetBlue

    Even More Speed

    $25 and up

    Breeze through security, be the first to board. Sold as part of the Even More Space option for now; the airline says it may go a la carte later on.

    Basically, the Even More Space seats are even more valuable now. Check, though. Not all airports offer the security line jump. 

     Southwest

    Early Bird Check In

    $10

    Assigns a boarding position that allows you to be one of the first people on the plane.

    Don't get excited -- they don't guarantee A Group. It can happen, but may not, if lots of people bought Business Select fares.

     United

    Premier Line

    $9 and up

    Gets you through check-in, security and boarding faster. Also offered in bundles with other services, such as guaranteed Economy Plus Seating, for a higher price. 

    Loves it! Particularly at places like ORD, where we've avoided missing flights by buying this service at the kiosk before rushing to security.  

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