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Travel Tip: How to Get Priority Access

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No one likes being the last one to board a plane, but depending on the airline, there are ways to get around the problem.

American Airlines started testing out priority boarding for passengers without carry-on bags. The idea is that the ones without carry-ons will board quickly and make the process a lot smoother.

Alaska Airlines offers the same service on busy flights. Frontier offers what they call Express Boarding to those who don’t need the overhead space.

If you pay with an airline-branded credit card, you usually get access to priority boarding, and even priority security screening to really expedite the process.

Just be aware that these cards usually charge a substantial annual fee, and they only make sense if you’re loyal to that airline.

With Southwest, you can pay $40 at the airport to snag one of the first 15 boarding spots, or pay $12.50 for its Early Bird check in.

And if you have small kids, most airlines still allow pre-boarding…but maybe not for long. United phased it out not long ago, and other airlines may follow suit to make way for those who pay for the privilege.

For more information, visit the Airport and Airline archives.

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