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Travel Tip: How To Get Early Boarding On Planes

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wingWant to know how to get early boarding? It used to be that getting onto a plane early depended on your seat. But these days, even coach passengers can board early…if they pay for the privilege.

Many airlines offer early boarding upgrades at check in. But it’s only worth it if you need access to overhead space or hate standing in lines.

American Airlines lets you join Group 1 with the Choice Essential or Choice Plus packages.

Prices vary, so these add-ons range from from $50 to well over $150. They also come with perks like a free checked bag and miles.

You get early boarding on Delta if you book with a Gold, Platinum, or Reserve Skymiles Card. But those have annual fees, which only makes sense if you fly Delta often.

Southwest has no assigned seating, so everything depends on your boarding position.

Pay $12 for EarlyBird check in, which automatically checks you in 36 hours in advance and improves your chance for early boarding. Or, you can pay about $40 at the gate to be in Group A.

There’s also BusinessSelect for guaranteed early boarding. But this can be really expensive…just for a seat closer to the front, plus a free drink? Probably not worth it.

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