Alaska Airlines Club 49: (Deals & Baggage Fee Benefits) [2023]

Some airlines like to provide special perks to residents who reside within their home states and countries in order to make life traveling a little easier and less costly. Alaska Airlines is one of these generous airlines and they have something called the Alaska Airlines Club 49.

The Alaska Airlines Club 49 can help certain residents save money and capture savings with different discounts on things like baggage fees and even shipping.

In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about the Alaska Airlines Club 49 deals and benefits and other things like eligibility and how to sign-up. 

What is the Alaska Airlines Club 49?

The Alaska Airlines Club 49 is a special program that offers special discounts and deals to Alaskan residents who are also Alaska Mileage Plan members. Due to the geography of Alaska, there are unique travel needs for its residents and this program works to address those needs in practical ways.

Related: 20 Best uses of Alaska Airline Mileage Plan Miles

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What are the Alaska Airlines Club benefits?

By joining Club 49, you will be able to receive the following benefits:

  • Two free checked bags on select routes
  • Travel discounts
  • Shipping discounts

Unfortunately, you do not get Alaska Lounge access or put in a priority boarding group but these three benefits can still be valuable. I will talk about each of these benefits in more detail below.

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Two free checked bags

Club 49 members and passengers on the same reservation can check two bags for free when traveling to or from Alaska on Alaska Airlines. With Alaska Airlines, your first checked bag will cost $30 and your second checked bag will cost $40, so this could save you lots of cash over time (read more about the baggage fees here).

There are a few things to note about this perk.

Applies to your entire itinerary

This will apply to all passengers on the same itinerary (up to seven passengers). However, the benefit does not extend to all travelers in a group reservation. Only Club 49 members receive the free-checked-baggage benefit on group reservations.

Eligible airlines

This benefit can also be used on other airlines including: Horizon Air, PenAir (between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor), and SkyWest Airlines (Flight Series 3440–3499).

Eligible flights

You just need to remember that the flights must be traveling to or from Alaska.

Also, the member’s Mileage Plan number must be on the reservation before bags are checked.

The free checked bags are not available when connecting to another carrier for international travel or checking in with a codeshare or airline partner. Alaska has a lot of great partners but unfortunately if you are flying with one of them you will not get this benefit if flying internationally. If flying domestically and connecting you will be able to get the discount. 

Keep in mind that you can also get a free checked bag if you have the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card.

Travel Now discounts (30% off)

As a Club 49 member, you will receive two Travel Now discounts per year, good for 30% off one-way travel in a Refundable Coach (YAS) fare to, from or within Alaska on Alaska Airlines, booked within four days of departure.

These will be issued upon enrollment and then every following year when your membership is verified. Here are some key considerations:

Refundable Coach (YAS) fare

Refundable economy fares are going to be some of the most expensive fares. So even with the discount you still might be paying more than you normally would for an economy fare that cannot be cancelled. So be sure to compare prices before going for that discount.

Related: Alaska Airlines Saver Fare vs Main Cabin: What Benefits Do You Lose?

Eligible airlines

You can use these discounts on flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, PenAir (between Anchorage and Dutch Harbor), and SkyWest Airlines (Flight Series 3440–3499).

Eligible flights & four day limitation

In order to get this discount, travel must include one Alaskan city and take place within four days of ticket purchase. Being forced to use this discount for essentially last minute tickets makes it a little bit harder to take advantage of, so these discounts are not for everyone.

Unlike the free baggage benefit, only one discount may be used per reservation. If more than one Club 49 member is traveling, a separate reservation must be made for each discount used.

Travel Now discounts are displayed in the discount code section of the member’s My account profile.

Weekly deals

You can also view the Deals page to see some good deals.

Each Tuesday they update the page with deals only available to Club 49 members. If you don’t want to miss out on these deals you can sign up for emails to get notified about them.

Head to your My account profile and sign in, then navigate to the My info and subscriptions tab and check the “Insider newsletter” box to subscribe.

Freight for Less

The Freight for Less discount will allow you to ship up to 100 lbs within the state of Alaska for $49* (plus tax) using cargo shipping. You’ll be able to use up to two 35-gallon totes or sturdy shipping containers that do not exceed 20”x30”x15” each.

This benefit can be very valuable to those who live in certain remote areas in Alaska where air shipping is needed/required.

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Club 49 Eligibility

If you want to join Club 49, and you will need to meet the following eligibility requirements.

First, you must be a resident of Alaska or military personnel permanently stationed in Alaska.

Residency is validated at at the time of registration using Alaska state public records and requires customer’s consent for validation. (P.O. box numbers are acceptable.)

You must also have an active Mileage Plan account and My account profile.

Eligibility will be revalidated annually on the anniversary date of original enrollment. If Alaska Airlines is able to revalidate eligibility automatically, members will automatically be reenrolled for the following year. If Alaska Airlines is unable to revalidate residency automatically, members are required to reenroll.

If you would like to join Club 49 you can click here

Note: Children under age of 13 cannot be enrolled online,  but you can call 1-800-252-7522 (TTY: Dial 711 for relay services) between 5 a.m. and midnight (PT), seven days a week.

Constituent fares

The constituent fare offers Club 49 members affordable access to Alaska state legislators and government agencies during the annual legislative session. The constituent fare rates offer a 30% discount off the 7-day & 3-day advance purchase fares.

The discount codes are sent out via the Club 49 Insider email each year at the start of the legislative session (mid-January) to Club 49 members who live outside of the Juneau area.

Once you have received your codes, select the “Redeem” button in the email to automatically load the discount code in your My account profile.

Final word

Alaska Airlines Club 49 is a great way for Alaskan residents to save a little bit of money on flights to and from Alaska.

It also can be a great way to cut down on your expenses if you are needing to ship some freight.

Since it is so easy to sign up for I would recommend checking it out and considering signing up if you meet the eligibility requirements, since you never know when it could come in use.

Southwest Airlines Family Boarding Policy Explained [2023]

Traveling with a family can be stressful not to mention expensive.

Luckily, Southwest Airlines offers a number of special perks to families that can help them to both save money and time.

In this article, I will break down all of the benefits that you can expect to receive as a family traveling on Southwest.

I’ll cover things like family boarding age limits, child fares, and policies for infants. I’ll also talk about how to complete the all important age verifications and what to do if you’re flying while pregnant.

What is the Southwest family boarding policy?

When traveling as a family with kids aged six or under you can get special boarding privileges and you might be able to take advantage of the other perks like special savings depending on the ages of your kids. Keep reading below for more details!

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Southwest family boarding group

If you are traveling with a child six or under (younger than seven years old) you can choose to board with the family boarding group. This allows you to board the plane between Groups A and B.

If you are not familiar with the Southwest boarding policy this is how it works:

First, you will need to check in to your flight beginning at 24 hours prior to departure.

You can do this by going to the Southwest website or by using the Southwest app and just waiting for exactly 24 hours prior to take off.

Once you check in you will be issued a boarding position. This position will consist of a group number and a number within that group.

There are three different boarding groups with Southwest: Group A, Group B, and Group C. Within each group you will be assigned a number that will be between one and 60.

So if you have A50, you’ll line up when you see the “A” sign or monitor and then you’ll locate the section that might have something like “50 to 55” marked.

This means that if you are ever traveling with a child six or under and are assigned Group B or C, you should definitely consider taking advantage of family boarding so that you can board directly after Group A.

At the same time, if you have a Group A boarding pass then you don’t need to use family boarding.  

Something interesting about Southwest is that they allow some people that would qualify for pre-boarding to board just before Family Boarding.

They state that if “a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding, between the “A” and “B” groups.”

So be sure to be aware of these passengers whenever you lined up for boarding.

Note: Sometimes family boarding may not be offered/available. 

Also note: Military members (usually in uniform but not always) can board between Group A and Group B. If you’re not traveling in your uniform, consider showing your military ID to a gate agent and inquiring about priority boarding.

Related: Comprehensive Military Airline Benefits and Discount Guide

Can both parents board with family boarding? 

The language that Southwest uses to describe their family boarding policy it’s a little bit tricky.

For example, it states the following:

An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding.

The reason that this language is tricky is that it specifies “an adult” and “a child” which are singular.

This almost seems to suggest that you can only board as a family with one adult per one child six years for younger.

However, in practice Southwest allows all kids to board with an adult.

If there are two adults, they will often get to board together with the kids too but sometimes there could be exceptions (such as when a lot of families are doing family boarding). 

If you have any questions or concerns about this then I would suggest you talk to the agent at the gate to clarify if your entire family can board together.

Other family members such as grandparents can board with family boarding but they have to be the only adults. So for example you could not have both parents and a set of grandparents boarding in the family boarding group. Instead, Southwest would likely limit you to only two parents (along with the kids).

Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport?

Southwest EarlyBird

If you’re traveling as a family you might be tempted to go for Southwest EarlyBird.

This will allow you to be checked in beginning 36 hours prior to departure for a fee of $15 to $25.

This means that you will usually get a good boarding position often in Group A but sometimes also in the B boarding group.

Since you can board after Group A with family boarding, then it is really not necessary for you to get EarlyBird. Thus, I would typically not to go for that if I was traveling as a family. 

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Saving seats for families 

There’s an ongoing debate on whether or not you should be able to save seats on Southwest.

Since there’s an open boarding policy, every seat is open to just about any passenger.

So when it comes to saving seats for the family, you’ll want to head towards the back of the plane to save your seat. People are usually much more open to saved seats in the rear of the cabin.

However, if you try to save seats for your family in the front of the plane or on the seats with extra legroom then the risk of confrontation goes up.

Southwest child fares

Accompanied children ages two through 11 may purchase the applicable Child Fare for the flight.

Child fares are discounted Anytime fares. Anytime fares offer you flexibility so that you can make cancellations and still get a refund.

This means that they probably won’t be as cheap as Wanna Get Away fares, which are the cheapest fares for Southwest that don’t offer as much flexibility.

Contact Southwest via phone at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) to confirm if a child fare is available for a specific flight. Note that proof of age will be required at the time of travel.

Related: Southwest Airlines Unaccompanied Minor Policy

Checking in 

If your child is traveling on an Infant or Child Fare and is age verified, you may request his/her boarding pass on

If your child is traveling on an Infant or Child Fare and is not age verified, you must provide valid proof of age at the airport when exchanging the confirmation number for a boarding pass.

How to verify age 

There are a couple of different ways that you can get your child’s age verified and I will discuss both of these below.

The first thing is that you need to do is to create a Rapid Rewards or Southwest account for your child. You can easily do this online and it will only take a couple of minutes. 

After you create an account, you can go to different routes to verify the age.

The first thing you can do is to present a valid Government-issued I.D. providing age (child) or a birth certificate (infant) to the Customer Service Agent at the airport when you check in for your flight.

At that time, the date of birth listed in your child’s account will be updated to indicate that age has been verified.

You can also mail in copies of your documents.

You may mail a copy of the child’s valid Government-issued I.D. proving age (for children) or the birth certificate (infants) to:

  • Southwest Airlines Customer Relations
  • PO Box 36662
  • Dallas, TX 75235.

Be sure to include your child’s Rapid Rewards or Southwest account number with your request and submit it at least two weeks prior to your child’s flight.

The date of birth field in your child’s account will be updated to reflect that he/she is age-verified. Allow two weeks for processing. If you submit your request in writing, you will receive a confirmation letter in the mail once the date of birth has been verified.

Once the date of birth has been verified, you may check in online and request a boarding pass as long as your child’s account number is present in the reservation for which you are checking in.

Southwest Baggage fees

If you have a lot of different people in your tribe then traveling can get really expensive when it comes to baggage fees. You could easily spend a few hundred dollars with a family of five for a simple round-trip ticket.

Luckily, Southwest Airlines allows you to travel with two free checked bags. This is one of the more valuable perks of flying with Southwest and it’s great for families. 

Tip: Get all the tips and pointers you need for your checked bags in our ultimate guide to checked luggage!

Traveling with infants

One child over 14 days and under two years of age, not occupying a seat, may be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years of age or older).

Although a boarding pass is not required for the infant, you will need a Boarding Verification Document.

  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate is required to validate the age of all infants under two.

If you don’t want to bring your infant on as a lap-child, affordable Infant fares are also available allowing a customer to reserve a seat for an infant and use his/her FAA-approved car seat/Child Restraint System.

Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly recommend securing infants and small children in a CRS that is government approved for use onboard.

Here are some things to know about using CSRs on a plane: 

  • Once onboard the aircraft, the CRS should be secured in a middle or window seat.
  • If placed in a middle seat, the CRS may not impede the exit path of a Passenger in the window seat.
  • CRSs may not be placed in an exit seat or in a row directly forward or aft of an exit row of seats.  
  • The FAA prohibits the use of certain types of restraint devices, such as backless booster seats, safety belt extensions (commonly referred to as “belly belts”), and vests or harness devices that attach to an adult.

Online checkin is available if the infant is traveling on an Infant fare and is age verified.

To book Infant fares for international flights, contact Southwest to book via phone at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). After booking, you can view or cancel existing international itineraries for any of these fare types online at

A medical release for travel is required for any infant under 14 days old.

Traveling while pregnant 

Here’s what Southwest has to say about traveling while pregnant.

While air travel does not usually cause problems during pregnancy unless delivery is expected within 14 days or less, in some cases, traveling by air has been known to cause complications or premature labor. Female Customers at any stage of pregnancy should consult with their physicians prior to air travel. Southwest Airlines recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy. Depending on their physical condition, strength, and agility, pregnant women may, in some cases, be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.

Southwest Group travel

If you are traveling as a family in a large group of 10 or more passengers, then you might consider utilizing the southwest Group travel policy.

This allows you the following benefits: 

  • Flexible Payments: No upfront payment required to create a Group reservation.
  • No Extra Fees: No booking, ticketing, or change fees.
  • Unlimited Name Changes: Unlimited name changes up to 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Earn Roundtrip Tickets: Earn one roundtrip ticket to be used on your Group’s itinerary for every 30th passenger booked (taxes and fees will apply).

In some situations it might just be cheaper to book the fares individually but in other cases this can actually be a great way to go. 

One of the biggest drawbacks is that it can take a long time to get through to customer service when dealing with the Southwest group travel so you want to keep that in mind. If you want to read more about how to travel as a group then you can click here.

TSA Pre-Check 

If you are traveling as a family you might be able to take advantage of TSA Pre-Check. TSA Pre-Check is a program that provides you with access to an expedited security lane.

When you go through this lane you won’t be inconvenienced as much as the standard lane because you can keep your electronics and liquids in your bags, among other things. 

If you are traveling with the children 12 and under those children do not need to have their own TSA Pre-Check Membership in order to accompany you through the line.

However if they are 13 years or older they will need to have their own TSA Pre-Check account. You can read more about TSA Pre-Check here.

Final word

Southwest has a number of benefits that they offer to those families traveling. These benefits can save you time and money so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of the possible perks. 

Cover photo by BriYYZ via Flickr.

American Airlines Lost and Found Guide (What to Expect) [2023]

Losing an item when flying can be an incredibly stressful and frustrating experience. But there are many people who lose items on planes or in airports every day that get reunited with their valuables — even expensive items like laptops and tablets!

So if you recently lost an item on an American Airlines flight there is still hope for you. In this article, I will break down what to expect with the American Airlines lost and found process.

American Airlines Lost and Found

Items left on American Airlines aircraft are returned to their rightful owners all the time so if you have left something on the plane don’t lose hope and just follow these guidelines.

If you are exiting or have just exited the plane and realize you left an item on the plane you should contact the nearest gate agent immediately. However, if you have already left the airport then you will need to file a claim online.

NOTE: This is a different process than losing your luggage. If your luggage has been lost or it’s not showing up at the baggage claim there is a separate process for reclaiming your baggage.

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Still at the airport

If you are just exiting the plane or have already exited the plane and are still located in the airport then your best course of action is to contact an American Airlines agent.

I would advise you to head over to the gate that you arrived at and try to speak to an agent at the desk right there. Even better, if you can locate a crew member or even a pilot from your flight they might be willing and capable of going back on the plane and retrieving your item.

If they are searching for a small item such as a wedding ring and they cannot locate it American Airlines planes are deep cleaned every night. This means that the cleaning crew might be able to find it later so you still have hope but the process to recovering the item will be a little different (you’ll likely have to rely on the online process discussed below).

If you have already made your way through the airport and you were not able to make your way back to the gates without going through TSA airport security then you may want to contact an American Airlines agent at an information desk.

Provide them with all of your details like your flight number and a detailed description of the item and they might be able to take action right there on the spot. There are reports of people getting their items delivered to them while they are waiting at baggage claim services so there is a possibility you can get your item back before even leaving the airport.

If they can’t help you then be sure to get clarification on the next step. They may ask you to file a claim online yourself or they may be able to take some initiative for you. Either way, just make sure that you are very clear on what your next step is to retrieve your items before you leave the airport.

Boarding gate for American Airlines
Contact an agent at the gate as soon as possible to improve your odds of recovering your item.


If you suspect that you may have lost your item at or near a TSA security checkpoint chances are that your item may have been placed in the TSA lost and found. TSA has its own lost and found department for different airports. You can find the contact information for the relevant airport you need here.

Related: What Happens if Your Item Is Not Allowed Through TSA Security? Can You Get It Back?

Around the airport

If you think that your item may just be sitting around the terminal somewhere then you likely want to contact the lost and found for the airport. Typically, an airport will have a phone number for its lost and found and a dedicated email address that you can get in touch with.

Below are some of the main airports that American Airlines serves. You should be able to find the contact information for the airport pretty easily.

If you think you may have left the item within a bar or restaurant at the airport then try to contact that individual business. Sometimes contacting a specific business within an airport can be difficult to do so one method is to contact a business nearby and ask one of their employees to walk over to the business you were trying to contact and inquire about your item.

I actually had to do this one time when I left my wallet in the rental car and the Avis rental car desk was not answering the phone. I got into contact with one of the neighboring rental car services and they walked over and got somebody at Avis on the phone for me.

As soon as you get in touch with someone your goal is to quickly get a point of contact via email. This will help you keep everything in writing and allow you to confirm details such as the location that the item should be delivered and how shipping will work out.

Try to insist on getting a (non-generic) email contact as soon as possible and don’t rely on someone to just “get back with you.”

If the entity locates your item they may choose to hand it over to the airport lost and found so that they do not have to deal with it but you can also work out a situation where they mail the item to you directly (that’s what I have done in the past).

The situation can sometimes take a long time to get worked out so my advice to you would be to be as patient as possible while these things are processed. Try to keep in touch on a weekly basis until you receive your item because if you do not hear anything there is a chance that your “claim” could be closed without you getting notified.

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If you’ve already left the airport

If you have already left the airport or you are not able to contact an agent while you are still there then you should file a claim online.

American Airlines uses a third-party service to process their lost and found claims. It is a different service used from other airlines like JetBlue but you will be going through the website:

The online form will ask you to fill out the following information:

  • Category — you will need to choose the type of category your lost item belongs to. Once you select the item type such as an iPhone you will then need to input more description details (this is where you can enter your serial number)
  • Flight information — provide your airline and flight number
  • Date you lost the item
  • Airport that you lost item at
  • Unique description — if there is anything that makes your item stand out this is the place to and put those details
  • If you were item has a tracking device like an AirTag you can list that here
  • Contact information — input all of your basic contact information

Once you finish inputting all of your details you will be issued a tracker number. If your item is discovered then you should be hearing back from American Airlines via email. In the event they track down your item you can then arrange for your item to be shipped to you and you will have to cover the cost.

American Airlines states that they will search for your item for up to 30 days.

American Airlines lost and found form
The American Airlines lost and found form is simple to fill out.

Admirals Club

If you think that you left an item in the Admirals Club then once again my advice would be to first try to persuade an American Airlines agent to check the lounge for you. If you were not able to get someone to check the lounge for you then you likely will need to file the claim online as shown above.

When you are not sure

If you simply have no idea where your lost item might be then my advice would be to contact all of the departments above.

Third-party claim providers

If you are searching for solutions to your lost and found issues you may come across businesses that require you to pay to handle your lost and found claims. I would generally try to avoid these services.

Unless they have an amazing reputation for their services, there is not a need to pay someone to file a lost and found claim for you. Also, some of the lost and found providers for the airlines explicitly ban these type of services. So my advice would be to work directly with the airline, airport, or TSA to retrieve your item.

Final word

If you lose an item when flying American Airlines your first step is to check with agents at the airport to see if they can immediately retrieve your item. If that is not practical then you can file a claim online and American Airlines will search for your item for 30 days. In the event that they locate the item you can pay to have it shipped to you.

Delta Airlines Lost & Found Guide [2023]

Losing an item on a plane or in an airport can be a nightmare. I know this from personal experience.

But thankfully, airlines and airports have pretty sophisticated lost and found services. Many people are reunited with the lost items every day so if you lost something when flying Delta Airlines, don’t lose hope.

Below, I’ll outline all of the steps you can take to recover something lost on Delta Airlines including how to timely file a claim and how to optimize your chances of getting your item recovered.

The immediate step: get to the Delta Airlines gate

If the de-planing has started and you realize that you have a lost item while you are still on a Delta Airlines plane, then just try to be calm and search around your seat while everyone exits.

Eventually, as the passengers exit, a flight attendant will probably approach you to see what’s going on and you can let them know that you have a lost item.

They might be able to help search for you right there but depending on the flight schedule, you might also be ushered out quickly.

If you have already entered the airport from your arrival, and you realize that you have a lost item then you should try to go directly to the Delta arrival gate.

If there is a line for the gate agent, feel free to jump (politely) to the front of the line and just let the agent know that you have something urgent.

Let them know about your lost item and where you were seated and they might be able to get some crew members to help.

If nobody is attending at the desk then you might be able to catch crew members entering the terminal from the jet bridge.

Unless they have somewhere to promptly be, you’ll be surprised how helpful crew members can be in these type of situations.

Past the sterile area

Every airport has a sterile area.

This is the part of the airport that is past security and it means that everyone wandering through those corridors has undergone some type of security screening.

Once you leave the sterile area, you cannot re-enter the sterile area unless you go back through security to make sure that you are in compliance with the TSA rules.

You should always see a sign marking the sterile area as you head towards the baggage claim section of the airport. (it might look like something from the image below.)

If you have already exited the sterile area then you’re not going to be able to get back to the gates unless somehow you were able to get through security which is unlikely as well.

Therefore, your best bet will be to locate a Delta Airlines help desk. Some airports, especially Delta hubs, may have a few Delta help desk’s located in different parts of the airport.

But most likely if you have already exited the sterile area, your best option will be to go to a Delta Airlines desk at baggage claim.

Typically these agents deal with lost luggage but on occasion they can also help you out for your personal lost items.

In one scenario, I recall a passenger even got an agent working the baggage claim desk to radio to agents sweeping the plane.

They were soon reunited with their lost item at baggage claim which is one reason why I always recommend for people to give this method a try.

Related: Delta Air Lines Boarding Policy Guide

airport sterile area

Items left at the TSA Security Checkpoint

If you think that you may have left your items at the TSA security checkpoint then your priority should be to get in contact with the Lost and Found for TSA.

TSA has its own Lost and Found department at all US airports and you can find the contact details for the relevant one here.

This is a separate lost and found department that is distinct from Delta Airlines and from the airport.

If they don’t have any record of your item, then it’s possible that item could’ve been referred to the airport’s lost and found so don’t lose out all hope until you check with them.

Related: What Happens if Your Item Is Not Allowed Through TSA Security? Can You Get It Back?

For items lost in and around the airport facility

What about if you suspect that you left your item sitting around the airport terminal?

For example, maybe you were at ATL and you left your phone sitting on a bench somewhere in the airport? Or perhaps, you suspect that you may have left your last item in a bathroom at SLC or MSP.

If you think that you may have left your item somewhere in the airport then you want to check with the specific lost and found department at that airport.

Head to an information desk and ask them where the airport’s lost and found counter is and that will be the easiest way to find them.

Sometimes the lost and found works in partnership with the airport police so you might also find a desk where you’ll find the police.

Airports also will have a dedicated webpage for their lost and found.

You might be able to submit a claim or simply find an email or phone number that could be helpful. I always prefer to handle these things via email so that you have a paper trail of what went on in your discussion.

If you left something in a Delta Sky Club airport lounge then try to contact Delta ASAP. You could also contact the airport and see if they can transfer you to the lounge.

See if they can get you in touch with someone at the lounge and give them all the details you can such as what time you were in the lounge and where you were seated.

Related: Delta Airlines Baggage Fees Guide

What if you have left the airport?

Okay, now let’s say that you have already left the airport. Maybe you were taking an Uber back to your hotel or you are already back home when you realize that you have a lost item.

If this happens to you then you can immediately call the airport or Delta and see if anything can be done.

But there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to just file your claim online in order to proceed with recovering your lost item.

How to file a Delta lost and found claim online

Like other airlines such as JetBlue, Delta Airlines utilizes nettracer to process lost and found claims.

To file a lost and found claim for Delta Airlines click here.

Make sure that you select you are looking for an item that was NOT lost in your checked baggage to begin your claim.

Filing the claim is a very simple three step process but you don’t want to rush through the steps because detail is as important as ever when resolving these claims.

Also, keep in mind that you really want to file a report within seven days of your item being lost to increase your odds of it getting recovered.

The first section is going to ask you to describe your item. You’ll select an appropriate category and provide details like the item color, case color, brand, model, and item size.

If you have the serial number on hand or some other type of unique ID number you definitely want to input it here.

Finally, there will be a box you can fill in that asks you to describe what makes your item unique.

Once again, think of anything that you can that could possibly allow your lost item to stand out such as any scratches, stickers, screen cracks, etc.

The more detail that you supply, the more your claim will catch the eye of someone working on your file which will likely increase the odds of it being found.

After you input all of your item information, you then need to input some contact details and also details related to your itineraries.

After you file your claim, you should receive a confirmation email about your claim. If for some reason it does not appear then be sure to check your spam box.

If they find an item that matches the description of your lost item, you will receive an email notification or a phone call with further instructions on what to do.

For example, they may ask you further questions to confirm that you are the true owner of the lost item.

In some cases, they might ask you to call your phone which is why it’s recommended to leave your call service activated on your phone for at least one week after you file your claim. (You may want to deactivate any associated data plans.)

If you can verify ownership then they will arrange for shipping the item to you and you will be responsible for paying for the shipping costs which can be paid with a credit card.

The search efforts will take place for approximately 30 days after they receive your lost item report.

If no item is ever recovered that matches your description then you should receive an email stating that they were unsuccessful and that the search is over for your item.

Items that are never recovered may be destroyed, sold, or donated. However, certain items like military IDs or passports get sent to places like the US Department of State.

Final word

Delta Airlines relies on one of the same Lost and Found services that other major airlines rely on. It’s a service that has helped thousands of people find their lost items.

While those services are helpful you can increase your odds of recovering your item by timely filing your report and providing the highest level of detail possible.

In many cases, you might also have to rely on a little bit of luck but if you follow the steps above you should maximize your recovery odds with Delta Airlines.

Alaska Airlines Boarding Groups Guide: Don’t Get Left Behind! [2023 Updates!]

In 2018, Alaska Airlines decided to change its boarding policy in favor of something more simplistic. The new policy changed the labels for boarding groups and made a few other tweaks. Then, in 2023 Alaska Airlines made more changes to the boarding policy allowing credit card holders to get priority boarding!

In this article, I will tell you everything that you need to know about Alaska Airlines boarding groups and exactly what to expect with the current boarding policy.

Full list of Alaska Airlines boarding groups

The Alaska Airlines boarding groups include:

  • Pre-boarding (Military, disabilities, unaccompanied minors, etc.)
  • Priority Boarding (First Class, MVP Gold 100K)
  • Group A (Million Milers, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K)
  • Group B (MVP members and guests in Premium Class seats)
  • Group C (Alaska credit card holders)
  • Group D (Main cabin in the back)
  • Group E (Main cabin in the front)
  • Group F (Saver)

I will go into more detail about each of these groups below.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Alaska Airlines economy cabin

How does Alaska Airlines boarding work?

The boarding process for Alaska Airlines is very similar to most other airlines, and I will break it all down below.

First, let’s start with choosing your seat.

After you input your personal details and making a booking, you should be prompted to select your seat. (In some cases the seat map may not be available.) The seat that you choose to select could end up affecting your boarding group and I will talk more about that below.

The next step is checking in at the airport.

Generally, for domestic flights, you want to arrive at least an hour before your flight’s boarding time if you’re not checking in bags and at least 90 minutes prior to your flight’s boarding time if you are checking bags (for inexperienced travelers, arriving two hours before departure is the standard). 

If you are an experienced traveler or are familiar with the airport and wait times of course you can arrive even later than the recommended times especially if you have TSA Pre-Check and/or CLEAR.  

Personally, I like to arrive at the airport extra early to give me the least stressful experiences as possible. It also makes it easier to enjoy airport lounges such as Alaska Lounges.

After you check in, you will have a paper boarding pass or you may have pulled up your boarding pass on the Alaska Airlines mobile app.

Personally, I like to have both a paper and a digital boarding pass. That way, if I lose the paper pass I have a digital copy of it and if my phone malfunctions or freezes up, I have a paper pass I can pull out.

If you have an issue with your boarding pass at the time of boarding, you will have to be pulled aside and you could lose your overhead storage bin space so it’s a good idea to have a back up plan.

Here’s what the boarding pass will look like compared to how the old boarding passes looked.

New Alaska boarding pass compared to old
Comparison of new boarding pass with old.

Alaska Airlines states that they want you to arrive at the gate 40 minutes prior to departure so that should be your goal at a minimum.

If you want to know your estimated boarding time, you should be able to find this on your boarding pass as shown above.

Just be aware that the departure time is subject to change, so make sure that you always verify the departure time with what is displayed on the flight monitors.

Boarding times may change depending on the route and aircraft and other factors at play but generally you can expect the boarding process to be announced around 30 to 40 minutes prior to departure.

This is not officially when boarding begins but this would be a good time to get ready to head over to the gate if you were not already there. As Alaska states, “This is your cue to gather your things and be ready, but you don’t need to move to line up.”

At about 30 minutes prior to departure, that’s when you can expect the pre-boarding to begin. And then, each group will be called up successively, possibly in five minute increments although it depends on how quickly or slowly passengers are processed.

Once you arrive at the gate and it is time for boarding, simply pay attention to the signs and they will guide you through the boarding process.

First, make sure that the sign contains your exact flight information such as your flight number and route.

Then just take a look at the left side of the screen. This will tell you the group that is now boarding. On the right side of that, you will see checkmarks for other groups that have boarded and that are currently boarding. If you belong to one of those groups that have already boarded, you should be allowed to board at that time.

Some signs may not show the now boarding group on the left and in those cases just look for the green checkmarks to see what groups are currently boarding or that have boarded.

Alaska airlines boarding screen
Alaska Airlines boarding sign.

Boarding groups explained

Alaska Airlines has a reputation for not strictly enforcing boarding groups. This has allowed people to board ahead of their designated boarding groups which sounds great except that it can lead to a disorderly process.

Therefore, I would advise our passengers to try to follow the published boarding group guidelines as much as you can simply to avoid confusion.


Unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors are children who are 5 to12 years old and traveling without a parent, legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years old. There are special rules regarding traveling as an unaccompanied minor and you can read more about those here. 

Related: Ultimate Preboarding Guide: Who Qualifies & What the Law States

Customers with disabilities

If you have a visible disability (such as being in a wheel chair, on crutches, etc.), you will be able to board without questions. However, if your disability is not readily apparent it may be a good idea to notify the gate agent that you want pre-boarding.

Remember, you are able to self-identify that you need preboarding.

Related: Guide to Visiting Airports & Flying with Vision Impairments.

Active members of the military

Alaska Airlines will allow active members of the military to board during pre-boarding.

On occasion priority boarding has also been offered to retired military members although that is a special scenario that may be tied to special occasions such as Veterans Day.

Related: Check out all of the benefits military members can take advantage of when flying.  

Alaska Airlines boarding area

Priority Boarding

If you are flying first class on Alaska Airlines then you can expect to be the first to board right after pre-boarding.

Don’t forget, first class passengers get other perks like free checked baggage.

Also, if you hold elite status as an MVP Gold 100K member you can board with Priority Boarding.

If an aircraft does not have a first class cabin then group boarding for those flights will just begin with Group A.

Alaska airlines first class cabin

Group A (Million Milers, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K, 100K)

Group A will consist of the two top levels of elite status which include Million Milers, MVP Gold 75K, and MVP Gold.

If you are wondering about the requirements for obtaining elite status with Alaska Airlines here are the requirements:

Elite LevelMiles FlownSegments
Alaska MVP20,000 miles30
MVP Gold40,000 miles60
MVP Gold 75K75,000 miles90
MVP Gold 100K100,000 miles140
Alaska elite status level requirements.

If you are boarding with a partner or spouse who does not have elite status and therefore has a lower boarding group, many times they can board with you.

It’s not an official policy but there are many reports of elite members pulling their partners along to board with them even when their partners have a lower boarding group.

Just try to do this within reason.

If you have an entire group of people with you then you are much more likely to cause an issue. This is even true if everybody is on the same itinerary.

By the way if you’ve earned a lot of Alaska miles and need some ideas on how to best redeem them be sure to check out our best uses of Alaska Airline miles.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Group B (MVP members and guests in Premium Class seats)

If you are on the lowest level of elite status known as MVP, you will board with Group B.

Also, those individuals in Premium Class seats get to board with Group B.

Group C

Group C is where you will board if you hold an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card (personal or business). Just remember, you need to use your Alaska credit card to purchase your ticket!

Group D (Main cabin in the back)

If you are flying economy and your seat is towards the back of the plane then you will board in Group D.

Where exactly the “cut off” is for seats in the back depends on the type of aircraft you are flying on since some aircraft will have many more rows of seats.

But if you are trying to get into Group D, I would recommend choosing a seat beyond the emergency exit rows, beginning around row 20. If you really want to be on the safe side, you could go even further with a seat around row 25.

Group E (Main cabin in the front)

If you are flying economy and your seat is towards the front of the plane then you will board in Group E.

Don’t despair if you find yourself in this group because you still have a chance to secure overhead storage bin space.

We recently had Group E boarding and were pretty worried about having space for our luggage but it turns out we were perfectly fine.

With that said, I would try to get ahead of the line because by the time they got to Group D, Groups E&F were practically merging together and boarding so it helps if you can try to get ahead of that.

Otherwise, you may get left behind!

Group F (Saver)

The final passengers to board the plane will always be those who have purchased saver fares. These are the cheapest type of tickets available on Alaska Airlines.

Keep in mind that if you purchase a saver fare, you may not be able to select your seat. So if you are flying with other individuals and you want to sit together, this is not a great ticket good.

When boarding groups don’t matter

Your Alaska Airlines boarding group may not matter at small airports which can be common in places like Southeast Alaska.

For example, we flew first class out of Gustavus airport which is a tiny little single building terminal.

They did not have the room for a traditional boarding process and so it was more of a first come, first serve boarding process. So don’t expect to take advantage of your boarding perks at smaller airports.

Related: How to Get to Gustavus, Alaska (Glacier Bay)

Alaska Airlines boarding groups FAQ

What is the order of boarding groups for Alaska Airlines?

Alaska Airlines will board in the following order:

Pre-boarding (Military, disabilities, unaccompanied minors, etc.)
Priority Boarding (First Class, MVP Gold 100K)
Group A (Million Milers, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K)
Group B (MVP members and guests in Premium Class seats)
Group C (Alaska credit card holders)
Group D (Main cabin in the back)
Group E (Main cabin in the front)
Group F (Saver)

How many boarding groups are there?

There are a total of eight boarding groups if you include preboarding and priority boarding.

Where can I find my boarding group?

You can easily locate your boarding group on your boarding pass. See the image above for details.

Who qualifies for pre-boarding?

Different groups may qualify for pre-boarding including active military members, those with disabilities, and unaccompanied minors.

What if I don’t get the right boarding group?

There have been reports of apparent glitches in the boarding group issuance process. If you are given a boarding group that does not correspond to your elite level status simply call Alaska Airlines or meet with an agent at one of the counters to fix the issue.

What is the Alaska Airlines boarding music?

Alaska Airlines will play music during the boarding process but the tunes are always changing. You can find their latest playlists here.

Does the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card offer priority boarding?

Yes, the Alaska Airlines Visa Credit Card allows you to board with Group C if you use the card to pay for your flight.

Does Alaska board from both doors?

If you are flying on regional flights (such as with Horizon Air) then your flight may be boarded from doors located at the front and back of the plane. This typically will not be used for 737s.

Do Portland Timbers fans get priority boarding?

Portland Timbers fans can still get priority boarding but only at Portland International Airport (PDX) when wearing Timbers jerseys or gear. Some have even commented that a simple scarf can work. Read more here.

How does Alaska Airlines coronavirus boarding work?

Alaska Airlines states: “To better allow for personal distancing, boarding procedures have been updated so guests board by row numbers in smaller groups from the back to the front.”

Since Alaska already boarded from the back this is not a huge change but they will be segmenting groups into smaller groups now.

If you have priority boarding and would like to board first, speak with an agent about doing so since some agents may not call priority boarding first.

Final word

As you can tell, the boarding policy is very simple and straightforward for Alaska Airlines. It seems like Alaska is pretty lax when it comes to allowing others to board with you when you have a higher boarding pass so that is something to keep in mind. And while gate agents me be lax on the order of the boarding groups, it’s a good idea to follow the boarding procedures as closely as possible.

Delta Air Lines Boarding Policy Guide: Another Switch to Group Ordering [2023]

Delta Air Lines has one of the more confusing boarding group orders since elite members are broken up more than others.

Still, it is relatively simple to follow given the different branded terms used to describe the boarding groups and the color schemes that go along with them.

What’s harder to keep up with are the different changes that they make like the one recently made to Diamond Medallion Members and First Class.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Delta Air Lines boarding groups and policies.

Full list of Delta Air Lines boarding groups

  • Preboarding
  • Delta One
  • Delta Premium Select or First Class
  • Diamond Medallion Members
  • Delta Comfort+
  • Sky Priority
  • Main cabin one
  • Main cabin two
  • Main cabin three
  • Basic Economy

If the Delta Air Lines boarding groups above do not look familiar to you it might be because Delta Air Lines used to have boarding groups one through six.

The first two boarding groups were for Premium and Sky Priority members while the remaining four groups were for boarding zones one through four.

But Delta Air Lines recently changed the boarding group classification to reflect the type of ticket fare purchased. As you can see in the chart below, there were eight different groups labeled according to fare.

But then in 2022 they did another reshuffling and added a specific boarding group for Diamond Medallion Members.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Old boarding group chart
Delta boarding sign

Delta Air Lines boarding groups explained

  • Preboarding
  • Delta One or First Class
  • Diamond Medallion Members
  • Delta Premium Select
  • Delta Comfort+
  • Sky Priority
  • Main Cabin one
  • Main Cabin two
  • Main Cabin three
  • Basic Economy


Unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors are children who are 5-14 years old and traveling without a parent, legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years old. There are special rules regarding traveling as an unaccompanied minor and you can read more about those here.

Customers with disabilities

If you have a visible disability (such as being in a wheel chair, on crutches, etc.), you will be able to board without questions.

However, if your disability is not readily apparent it may be a good idea to verify with the gate agent that you can still get pre-boarding. This is something you self-identify with so you should not get much pushback.

 Related: Guide to Visiting Airports & Flying with Vision Impairments.

Active members of the military

Delta Air Lines will allow active members of the military to board during pre-boarding.

Related: Check out all of the benefits military members can take advantage of when flying.  

Delta One or First Class

The Delta One product is the premium product offered by Delta Airlines. This product consists of fully lie flat seats and other amenities and you typically find it on long-haul international flights although it can also be flown on some domestic routes.

It now looks like first class passengers fall into this group who are flying on shorter flights such as on domestic flights across the country.

Related: 15 Best Ways to Redeem Delta SkyMiles

Delta Diamond Medallion Members

Delta Diamond Medallion Members are the top level of elites with Delta Air Lines and now they have their own boarding group right after Delta One.

Delta Premium Select

The groups consist of Delta Premium Select customers.

Delta Premium Select is basically just a premium economy product which is an upgraded class between economy and business class that is typically found on long-haul flights.

You’ll get a wider seat, additional recline, and an adjustable footrest and leg rest on Delta Premium Select.

It’s also possible that Delta will offer early boarding for customers traveling with carseats and strollers at this point. This is known as “early access.”

These groups used to be a part of the pre-boarding group but got pushed back after the changes in 2019.

Delta Comfort+

Delta Comfort+ is the upgraded economy class product.

It’s similar to Main Cabin Extra on American Airlines as it allows a little bit of extra legroom and comes with some additional perks.

The extra legroom might only be up to 3 inches more but for people of certain heights, those 3 inches can go a long way.

You can read more about it here.

Delta first class

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Sky Priority

Delta Platinum Medallion members and Gold Medallion members will board in this group.

A lot of people were not happy that Platinum and Gold members were forced to board after Delta Comfort Plus passengers but that is how the recent changes played out.

Members who have not boarded with another group will board here as well.

These include elite members belonging to the following groups:

  • Flying Blue Platinum and Gold members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members
  • GOL Smiles Diamond members
  • SkyTeam Elite Plus members
  • LATAM Pass Black Signature, Black and Platinum Elite
  • WestJet Rewards Platinum and Gold Elite

Main cabin one

If you hold the lowest level of elite status with Delta, known as Silver Medallion, you will board with the first group of economy passengers.

Note: Silver Medallion Members will not have a dedicated Priority Boarding zone on Delta flights departing AMS and CDG due to Air France-KLM boarding policies.

Other passengers who board with the first economy group are Delta SkyMiles Gold, Platinum, and Reserve Card Members. These are the co-branded Delta Airlines credit cards issued by American Express.

These cards also come with additional perks such as free baggage and in some cases a companion certificate.

Other members who will board in this group include the following:

  • Delta Corporate Travelers
  • Priority Boarding Trip Extra customers
  • Flying Blue Silver members
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver members
  • Sky Team Elite
  • SkyMiles Select Members
  • LATAM Pass Gold+ Elite
  • WestJet Rewards Silver Elite

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

Main cabin two

This group will consist of additional main cabin passengers who do not fall into the Main cabin three group based on the type of fare bucket they purchased.

Main cabin three

Main Cabin customers booked in T, X and V fares will be the last economy passengers to board before basic economy. You can see the available fare class displayed at the time of purchase when searching for flights.

For example, here is a look at a main cabin ticket displaying the “T” fare. If you booked that ticket, you would be boarding in Main Cabin three.

Search results showing economy fare.

Basic economy

Basic economy tickets are the cheapest type of airfare you can purchase. These tickets do not come with certain perks such as not allowing you to select your seat so as you can imagine you will be the last group to board.

While basic economy will not charge you for a carry-on item, you may not have space to store it on many aircraft. Therefore, you may have to check your bag which you can do for free.

Getting to the boarding area

On the day of your flight, you want to arrive at the airport around two hours prior to departure for a domestic flight. You must arrive at least 30 minutes prior to check in and you must arrive at the gate at least 15 minutes prior to departure.

These are just general guidelines and the actual time needed may be different based on the airport, your route, and whether or not you are checking bags. For example, if you are traveling with checked bags through ATL, you need to check in at least 45 minutes prior to departure.

If you would like to see a breakdown of the minimum check-in times for various airports click here.

If you are an experienced traveler or are familiar with the airport and wait times of course you can arrive even later than the recommended arrival times especially if you have TSA Pre-Check and/or CLEAR.  

Personally, I like to arrive at the airport extra early to give me the least stressful experiences as possible. Arriving extra early also means that you will be able to spend time hanging out at the Delta Sky Club if you have access.

In the past, you might hear an announcement or see a screen indicating a specific boarding group zone number but now you will see the branded term for your ticket fare when it is time to board.

For example, if it is time for Delta One/Diamond members to board you will see the purple signage along with the fare class posted on the screen.

You can find your estimated boarding time on your boarding pass (on the paper version or on the mobile version).

Related: Why You Should (And Shouldn’t) Check in Online for Flights

Delta sky club at LAX
Delta Sky Club.

Delta Air Lines boarding FAQ

What are the Delta Air Lines boarding groups?

Delta One or First Class
Diamond Medallion Members
Delta Premium Select
Delta Comfort+
Sky Priority
Main Cabin one
Main Cabin two
Main Cabin three
Basic Economy

When do American Express cardmembers board?

American Express cardholders of Delta co-branded credit cards are allowed to board with main cabin group one.

What are the Delta Air Lines boarding coronavirus changes?

Due to the coronavirus, delta made some temporary changes to its booking including allowing passengers to begin boarding at the back of the plane first. Find out about other changes here.

What is the latest I can check-in?

Assuming you were not checking in any bags, you must check-in at least 30 minutes prior to departure but you must arrive at the gate at least 15 minutes prior to departure.

Do military members get priority boarding?

Yes, active military members can board during pre-boarding.

When do Diamond Medallion Members board?

Diamond Medallion Members now board directly after Delta One or First Class.

How many Delta boarding groups are there?

Counting pre-boarding, there are now 10 boarding groups.

Final word

The boarding order for Delta Air Lines is a little bit different from other airlines that prioritize elite members more. However, it’s still pretty easy to follow with the different color schemes and branding terms used for the different ticket fares.

Frontier Airlines Boarding Policy Guide [2023]

Frontier Airlines has a pretty straightforward boarding process for the most part. What’s great is that there are a few opportunities that allow you to get priority boarding even if you do not have elite status and I will talk about some of those below.

In this article, I will break down everything you need to know about the Frontier Airlines boarding policy.

Frontier Airlines boarding groups order

  • Special Services
  • Zone 1 (Priority Boarding)
  • Courtesy Boarding
  • Zone 2
  • Zone 3
  • Zone 4

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Special Services

The very first group to board is “special services” which includes individuals in need of boarding assistance. This includes passengers who need a wheelchair or other similar type of equipment.

Remember, that when it comes to pre-boarding, you self identify as someone who needs assistance. You should not have to explain your full medical issue(s) to the gate agent and instead can just tell them that you identify as someone who needs extra time to board. By law, they are required to allow this.

Frontier Airlines does not make a special announcement for special needs boarding. So be sure to tell the gate agent that you need preboarding and then ask them what you need to do to ensure that you will be able to take advantage of that boarding.

This is also the time when unaccompanied minors were allowed to board but effective November 1, 2018, Frontier Airlines no longer accepts children traveling alone under the age of 15 years of age.

 Related: Guide to Visiting Airports & Flying with Vision Impairments

Zone 1 Boarding (Priority Boarding)

If you purchase a carry-on bag you can get priority boarding. Remember, Frontier Airlines is a low-cost carrier which means that you have to pay for things like carry-on items.

Assuming you pay your baggage fees online during booking, a carry-on will be about $39 and your first checked bag will be about $34. To view the latest baggage fees read more here.

Passengers who purchased the Works or Perks can also take advantage of priority boarding. For those of you who don’t know, the Works is a special package that offers:

  • Carry on bag
  • Checked bag
  • Seat selection
  • Priority boarding
  • Flight flexibility
  • 100% refund ability

Meanwhile, the Perks offers:

  • Carry on bag
  • Checked bag
  • Seat selection
  • Priority boarding

You can read more about these packages here.

If you have elite status with myFRONTIER Miles, you can also get priority boarding.

There are three different levels of elite status with Frontier Airlines:

  • Elite 20k: Earn 20,000 Qualifying Miles or 25 Segments
  • Elite 50k: Earn 50,000 Qualifying Miles or 50 Segments
  • Elite 100k: Earn 100,000 Qualifying Miles or 100 Segments

Unlike other airlines where it is common to have many elite members on virtually every flight, on Frontier Airlines, you may not see as many elite members which means you can board even quicker if you are elite.

Courtesy boarding

Courtesy boarding is available to families traveling with small children. On the main website it says children under three years old but on the Barclays website for the Frontier Airlines MasterCard it mentions children under the age of five. So you may need to clear this up with an agent at the gate.

This boarding group is also designated for passengers requiring additional time or assistance.

Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport?

General Boarding (Zone 2 to Zone 4)

General boarding will be the last to board the plane. Within general boarding there may be smaller groups which will typically board from the back of the plane to the front.

You can get Zone 2 priority boarding by holding the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard.

Just make sure that if you have the card you are logged in when booking your flight or that you have your membership account added to your reservation.

Keep in mind that you can spend your way to elite status with the Frontier Airlines MasterCard.

The terms from the Frontier Airlines MasterCard state:

Cardmembers will receive boarding priority and “ZONE 2” will be displayed on the member’s boarding pass so long as they are logged into their Program Membership Account when booking their flight, or had their Membership Account number added to their reservation. All “ZONE 2” passengers board after military passengers, elite status members, “Meet and Assist”, passengers with disabilities, or passengers with children under the age of 5, who need extra time down the jet way and ZONE 1 passengers. Only the primary cardmember is eligible for this benefit.

A lot of people dread being in general boarding because they are the last to board and therefore often don’t have space in the overhead storage bin.

This can happen to you when flying Frontier Airlines but because there are fees for carry-ons and checked bags are cheaper, you often see that there is more space available in the overhead storage compartments on Frontier Airlines flights.

Discount Den?

The Discount Den does not offer you priority boarding but it does provide you with some other valuable perks which include:

  • Special access to cheaper fares
  • Cheaper fares available to up to six people on the reservation
  • On valid Kids Fly Free flights, one kid under 15 can fly for free for every adult Discount Den fare purchased
  • Be the first to hear about news 

Related: Frontier Airlines Discount Den Review

Stretch seats

Stretch seats provide you with more legroom and are essentially the “economy plus” of Frontier Airlines. You can find the seats on different aircraft including: A319, A320, and A321 and they can be located in the front of the plane and also in the exit rows.

Sometimes you can receive a free upgrade to the seats but other times you will have to purchase them and the price can range pretty dramatically. I’ve seen prices range anywhere from $16 to $56.

It all depends on your route and when you purchase. If you purchase the seats during the booking process online you will likely get the cheapest price. However, if you wait until you arrive at the airport then you might see the price shoot way up.

Don’t get the stretch seat confused with the “big front seat.” The big front seats are essentially the business/first class of Frontier. The seats are a good deal wider than the stretch seats and also only sit in rows of two much like a traditional domestic first class.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Priority security

You can also get priority access in the form of priority security if you fall into one of the groups below:

  • You have additional needs
  • You are traveling as an Elite member of myFRONTIER Miles
  • You have purchased a carry-on bag
  • You have purchased the WORKS℠

In my experience, I prefer to just use TSA Pre-Check to gain access to an expedited security line. TSA Pre-Check is extremely convenient and also comes with the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

Showing up for boarding

Knowing what your boarding zone is, is just one part of getting to your destination. The other component is making sure that you arrive at the boarding gate in time for your flight.

Here are the guidelines that Frontier supplies for domestic boarding:

  • 45 minutes prior to your departure, check in for your flight and for your bags will be closed.
  • 30 minutes prior to departure the boarding process will begin.
  • 20 minutes prior to departure, there will be a call for final boarding.
  • 15 minutes prior to departure, the doors will officially close.

Note: The timing will be a little bit different for international flights. For example, you will need to be checked in with your luggage no later than 60 minutes prior to departure for an international flight.

You will be able to find your departure time and boarding time on your boarding pass.

Just be aware that these times can change after you check in so always keep an eye out for the latest times on the display panels found throughout the airport terminals.

Frontier Airlines World Mastercard

Card art of the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard.

I mentioned the Frontier Airlines World Mastercard earlier and here is a look at more of the benefits.

  • Welcome bonus (ranges)
  • 5X on Frontier purchases
  • 3X on restaurants
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • Earn toward Elite Status
  • Earn a $100 Flight Voucher
  • Unlock Family Pooling
  • Priority boarding
  • Award redemption fee waiver
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $79 annual fee (not waived)

Frontier Airlines boarding FAQ

Where can I see my boarding group?

Your boarding group should be visible on your boarding pass. Check the bottom right corner although it could appear in different areas.

How to get a window seat on Frontier?

The best way to guarantee a window seat on Frontier Airlines is to select your seat at the time of booking.

Do you have assigned seating on Frontier?

Frontier Airlines will allow you to select your seat at the time of booking. However, if you do not select a seat you will be randomly assigned a seat from whatever seats remain at check-in.

Does my group or family get to sit together?

Frontier Airlines will try to keep your party together but the only way to guarantee it is by selecting your seats at the time of booking.

How much does it cost to select my seat on Frontier?

The price to choose your seat for standard seating may range from $17 to $55.

When does boarding begin for Frontier Airlines?

Boarding begins 30 minutes prior to departure on domestic flights.

Final word

As you can tell, the boarding process for Frontier Airlines is pretty straightforward. If you truly care about where you sit, my advice would be to select your seat beforehand, especially if you want to stay together as a group.

United Airlines Boarding Groups Guide: (Avoid Group 4 & 5!) [2023]

Figuring out the boarding process for airlines is not always the easiest task because there are so many different types of boarding groups (and sub-groups).

Between pre-boarding and all the elite level passengers, it can be tough to keep tabs on when you need to line up at the gate.

But we’ve got you covered.  

In this article, I will break down all of the United Airlines boarding groups and explain to you exactly how the boarding process works including how to avoid getting stuck in the dreaded Group 4 or Group 5 boarding groups.

I will also show you what to expect in terms of things like leg room with the different types of aircraft you might be flying in.

How many boarding groups does United have?

United Airlines has a total of five official boarding groups (plus pre-boarding): 

  • Pre-boarding (Top tier elites, Military, Disabilities, etc.)
  • Group 1 (Business class and first class, upper elite levels)
  • Group 2 (Lower elite levels, United credit card holders)
  • Group 3 (Economy passengers)
  • Group 4 (Economy passengers)
  • Group 5 (Basic Economy)

Keep reading below to find out who exactly qualifies for each of these boarding groups.

How soon to arrive before boarding a United flight?

The general rule of thumb is to arrive two hours before departure on a domestic flight and three hours before departure on an international flight.

If you are an experienced traveler or are familiar with the airport and wait times of course you can arrive even sooner than that, especially if you have TSA Pre-Check and/or CLEAR

Once you get to the airport, the first thing you want to do is confirm the boarding time and gate.

You can usually find the estimated boarding time on your boarding pass. Just note that this time is subject to change depending on the status of delays.

In addition, it’s always possible that your gate could change as well so always keep your eye on the flight monitors located throughout the airport and lounges. 

For a lot of flights, you can utilize the United Airlines app and set up push notifications for when boarding begins. Of course, it would still be wise to keep an eye on the time yourself just in case you don’t receive the push notification.

The planes usually start to board about 35 to 50 minutes prior to departure depending on the size of the aircraft. For example, a 737 may begin to board 35 minutes before departure but a 757 will be closer to 50 minutes. 

I like to arrive at the gate about 15 minutes prior to the estimated boarding time.

However, if you are flying on a large aircraft and you want to get close to the front of the line you might have to arrive even sooner than 15 minutes before boarding.

Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport?

United airlines plane on tarmac

How does United Airlines boarding process work?

Once you arrive at the gate to board you should see signs telling you where you need to lineup.

Groups 1 and 2 will be able to line up but United may ask for groups three through five to have a seat until those groups are called at a later time.

Group 1 will board through the blue lane and Group 2 will board through the green lane (as you can see in the photo below).

The remaining Groups 3 to 5 will then board through the green lane when called.

If you are in Group 1 or 2 and show up late, you can always enter through the blue lane and bypass the line of other passengers. 

A good practice is to simply walk up to the front of the blue lane and then wait for the agent to motion for you to come forward.

This can avoid situations where other passengers feel like you have rudely cut them off.

Related: What Happens if You Miss Your United Airlines Flight?

United Airlines boarding group area
United Airlines boarding group signs.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

What order does United board its planes?

I will go into detail about each boarding group below but once again here is a summary of the order of United boarding groups per United’s website.

  • Pre-boarding (Top tier elites, Military, Disabilities, etc.)
  • Group 1 (Business class and first class, mid elite levels)
  • Group 2 (Lower elite levels, United credit card holders)
  • Groups 3 – 5 (Economy passengers)


Unaccompanied minors

Unaccompanied minors are children who are 5 to 14 years old and traveling without a parent, legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years old. There are special rules regarding traveling as an unaccompanied minor and you can read more about those here

Customers with disabilities

If you have a visible disability (such as being in a wheel chair, on crutches, etc.), you will be able to board without questions.

But if your disability is not as apparent, you should speak to a gate agent about getting priority boarding.

Remember that preboarding is something you self identify for so a gate agent should be very careful about pushing back on your reasoning for needing preboarding.

Typically, the gate agent should make an announcement about boarding with a disability but they may not. However, those with disabilities should be called before elite members, members of the military, passengers with small children, etc.

Related: Guide to Visiting Airports & Flying with Vision Impairments.

Active members of the military

United Airlines does not require active members of the military to be in their military uniform.

Related: check out all of the benefits military members can take advantage of when flying.  

United Global Services members

United Global Services is the top elite status for United Airlines.

It is somewhat mysterious in that you have to get invited to join this status. The requirements have a lot to do with the amount of money that you spend and the types of airfare that you book. You can read more about United Global Services and the requirements for it here

Families traveling with children age 2 and younger

If you are traveling with children two years or younger, you can also get pre-boarding. 

Premier 1K members

Premier 1K is the second highest elite membership level. This elite level is not an invite only status and can be earned by meeting the following requirements:

Premier levelPQF and PQP Requirement
Premier Silver12 PQF and 4,000 PQP or 5,000 PQP
Premier Gold24 PQF and 8,000 PQP or 10,000 PQP
Premier Platinum36 PQF and 12,000 PQP or 15,000 PQP
Premier 1K54 PQF and 18,000 PQP or 24,000 PQP
United Airlines preboarding sign

Group 1

Group 1 caters to the mid-level elite members and also to anybody flying first class, business class, or Polaris. 

Premier Platinum members

Platinum is the elite level just under 1K. 

Premier Gold members

Premier Gold is the level just under Platinum. 

Star Alliance Gold members

Star Alliance Gold status is the higher level of Star Alliance status and you will receive this if you are a United Premier Gold member. This status is useful because it comes with lounge perks.

Customers seated in premium cabins: United Polaris, United First and United Business

If you are flying in the front of the plane (United Polaris, United First, and United Business) then you will be able to board with Group One.

If you are flying on a large aircraft like the Dreamliner the line in Group 1 can get quite long so you may want to arrive extra early to the gate if you want to be the first to board. To find out more about the United first class experience click here

United Airlines business class seats

Group 2

Group Two is for the lower-elite members and also for certain customers who have co-branded cards or who have purchased priority boarding perks. This line can be pretty long sometimes, too. 

Premier Silver members

United Premier Silver is the lowest level of the status with United Airlines. This status can easily be achieved and you can even get it with Marriott status. Click here to read more about United Silver status.

Star Alliance Silver members

Star Alliance Silver status is the lowest level of Star Alliance status and you will receive this if you are a United Premier Silver member.

Customers who have purchased Premier Access or Priority Boarding

Even if you don’t have elite status and you are not flying business class or first class you can still get upgraded to priority boarding by purchasing it or by purchasing Premier Access.

Priority boarding prices start at $15 and whether or not it’s worth it just depends on how much you value getting on board earlier. 

If you choose to purchase Premier Access, in addition to Priority Boarding, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of dedicated airport check-in lines and exclusive security lanes, where available. Read more about purchasing Premier Access.

United Airlines check-in area
United Premier check-in area.

United Explorer, Club, Presidential Plus and Awards Cardmembers

If you are a United cobranded cardholder for the Explorer Card, United Club Card, or Presidential Plus Card you can also get priority boarding.

I am a big fan of the Explorer card because it offers some great benefits like free checked baggage (even on international flights), priority boarding, increased award inventory, and you also get two free day passes to United Club lounges each year. And on top of that the Explorer card often comes with a great welcome bonus. 

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

Groups 3, 4, and 5

Groups 3 through 5 don’t line up until the others have begin boarding and it consists of pretty much everybody in economy class. The secret to getting a Group 3 vs Group 4 or Group 5 boarding group is to pick the right type of seat. 

Economy passengers who choose a window seat should get Group 3, passengers who pick a middle or aisle seat should get Group 4, and passengers who choose Basic Economy will get Group 5.

This order is optimized so that passengers don’t have to trample over each other and I confirmed with a United representative that they were still utilizing this order as of late 2022. 

Economy Plus

Economy Plus will get Group 3 although the United rep I spoke with said it’s possible for them to also get Group 4.

Economy plus is the slightly more expensive version of economy that allows you to have more leg room.

The prices for upgrading to economy plus will vary depending on the location of the seat and the duration of the route.

If you have United elite status you will often get bumped up from economy to economy plus. (This is the case even with the lowest level of status.)

United Economy

Traditional economy tickets will board before basic economy. 

Basic Economy

If you purchased a basic economy ticket you will be the last to board.

Basic economy tickets are the cheapest type of tickets and they do not come with privileges such as bringing on a free carry on or being able to select a seat.

These are not very ideal for families traveling who would like to stick together on the plane but if you are just trying to find the cheapest way to get from point A to point B this could be a good option.

There is an exception to note here. Premier members, Chase Cardmembers of qualifying cards and Star Alliance Gold members, will still receive their priority boarding.

Related: United Airlines Basic Economy vs Economy (Key Differences)

United plane cabin

Bringing on a carry-on 

If you are in the first few groups, you shouldn’t have any issues bringing on a carry-on to the aircraft but if you are boarding at the end, such as in Group 4 or Group 5 it’s possible that you might not have enough room for your carry-on in the over head bins.

In that case, you’ll need to gate check your bag. (Read here for more about what type of luggage you can bring on to the plane).

Related: Airline Overhead Storage Bin Etiquette Guide

Choosing a seat on United Airlines

The seats are assigned on United airlines. So unlike the Southwest boarding process, you’ll have a seat dedicated to you. You can choose your seat whenever you purchase your ticket or at the time of check-in. 

United seating details (seating chart)

Below is what you can expect in terms of leg room and seats with different United aircraft.

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

  • Business: 6’6″ pitch; 20.6″ width
  • Economy Plus: 35″ pitch; 17.3″ width
  • Economy: 30″ pitch; 16.3″ to 17.3″

Boeing 777-200 (777)

  • Business: 6’4″ to 6’6″ pitch; 18.8″ to 22″ width
  • Economy Plus: 34″ pitch; 18.1″ width
  • Economy: 31″ pitch; 17.2″ to 18.1″ width

Boeing 777-300ER (77W)

  • Business/Polaris: 6’6″ pitch; 18.8″ to 22″ width
  • United Premium Plus: 38″ pitch; 18.5″ width
  • Economy Plus: 34″ pitch; 17.05″ width
  • Economy: 31″ pitch; 17.05″ width

Boeing 737-700

  • Business: 38″ pitch;
  • Economy Plus: 34″ to 38″ pitch; 
  • Economy: 30″ pitch;   

Boeing 737-800 (738)

  • Business: 37″ pitch; 20.5″ width
  • Economy Plus: 34″ pitch; 16.3″ to 17.3″ width
  • Economy: 30″ pitch; 16.3″ to 17.3″ width

Airbus 320 (320)

  • Business: 39″ pitch; 19″ width
  • Economy Plus: 35″ pitch; 17″ width
  • Economy: 30″ pitch; 17″ width

There are several other different types of aircraft and also different versions of those planes. So if you want to check out a complete list of all of those click here

United boarding FAQ

What order does United board its planes?

Pre-boarding (Top tier elites, Military, Disabilities, etc.)
Group 1 (Business class in first class, upper elite levels)
Group 2 (Lower elite levels, United credit card holders)
Group 3 (Economy window passengers)
Group 4 (Economy aisle/middle passengers)
Group 5 (Basic Economy)

How can I get priority boarding?

You can get priority boarding by having elite status with United or by holding certain credit cards such as the Chase United Explorer card. You can also get priority boarding by flying in a premium cabin such as business class.

How do I know what time to board?

Your boarding time should be printed on your boarding pass. You can also use the United app.

Just be aware that boarding times are subject to change so always verify the boarding time by looking at the flight monitors at the airport.

When do military members get to board?

Active military members can board during pre-boarding. They are not required to be in uniform.

Do families get priority boarding?

Families traveling with children ages two or younger can board during pre-boarding.

When do United Silver members board?

Silver members will board with Group 2.

When do Chase United Explorer cardmembers get to board?

Chase United Explorer cardmembers will get to board with group two.

Final word 

It’s very easy to get priority boarding with United so that you board within the first two groups. In fact, it’s so easy that many times you’ll find that these lines are very long. If you’re not able to get a boarding position in the first two groups, consider choosing a window seat so that you can board the plane in Group 3 and stay away from the basic economy tickets that will have you boarding last. 

Bringing Sunscreen on a Plane: Don’t Get Burned by TSA’s Rules!

There’s nothing worse than turning into a lobster while on vacation. So naturally, many travelers take sunscreen with them through airport security every year, hoping to get protection from the unrelenting Sun.

But bringing sunscreen on a plane presents a few specific issues that you want to be aware of before you head to the airport.

In this article, we will break down all of the TSA rules and other FAA restrictions you need to think about when taking sunscreen through airport security.

Can you bring sunscreen on a plane?

Yes, you can bring sunscreen on a plane as a carry-on item as long as you comply with the TSA liquids 3.4 ounce rule. You can also bring sunscreen in your checked baggage but you need to be mindful of FAA restrictions on the quantity and size of bottles you can bring.

Be careful applying sunscreen before your flight because you could trigger the alarm if you get swabbed by a TSA agent. Also, be aware that certain states and countries banned certain types of sunscreens that contain chemicals that could be harmful to coral reefs.

If you want to know more about traveling with sunscreen through TSA, keep reading below!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Sunscreen bottle in sand

Important: Getting through airport security with sunscreen

If you were recently having fun in the sun and applying sunscreen before heading through airport security, be aware that some sunscreen or SPF products may contain glycerin.

That’s important because glycerin is one of the chemicals that can trigger the alarm whenever getting swabbed.

What does it mean to get swabbed?

One way that TSA agents try to keep passengers safe is by detecting whether or not passengers have come into contact with explosive materials. And one of the ways that they do this is by taking samples from the hands of passengers as well as their luggage contents.

If that sample contains traces of explosives, then the passenger will likely be subject to questioning and perhaps even a much more invasive search. That invasive search could involve a pat down and more swabbing which could take an extra 20 minutes or longer.

When going through airport security, you don’t always get swabbed but if you applied sunscreen containing glycerin on the day of your travels, there is a chance you would test positive if you got swabbed!

You can read more about what it’s like to get swabbed at the airport here.

Security officer swabbing

Bringing sunscreen as a carry-on (TSA liquids rule)

TSA allows you to bring liquids like sunscreen on board as long as they are contained within a container no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces or (100 mL) and all of those containers can fit comfortably inside of one clear quart sized bag (this is known as the TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule).

You will need to remove this liquids bag from your carry-on bag when going through the security checkpoint unless you have TSA Pre-Check.

Keep in mind that this will focus is on the size of your liquid container and not the amount of liquids on the inside.

For example, if you had a five ounce container of sunscreen but only 3 ounces of sunscreen on the inside, that would not be permitted. The actual container needs to have 3.4 ounces of volume or less.

Also, this 3.4 ounce limitation also applies to sunscreen spray or aerosol bottles. (If you plan on bringing a spray bottle of sunscreen make sure that you bring it with the cap attached).

It’s really easy to find travel bottles of sunscreen under 3.4 ounces so it shouldn’t be a problem to get a container of sunscreen lotion that can go with you.

If you have a larger bottle of sunscreen that you really like, it is possible for you to pour this into your own 3.4 ounce travel container. You could always write “sunscreen” on the bottle for a reminder and perhaps to give TSA a hint of what is in the bottle (although it is not necessary).

Sunscreen  bottles

I thought I could bring bigger bottles of sunscreen through TSA?

If you are a bit confused about the size limitation for sunscreen, it’s completely understandable.

At one point, TSA announced that they were going to allow sunscreen bottles larger than 3.4 ounces to be taken through security. This was apparently going to be done to help reduce the threat of skin cancer and UV damage to travelers.

In other words, sunscreen was going to be treated as a medically necessary liquid which would place it under the medical exception that allows for larger liquids bottles.

But as soon as this announcement was leaked it was rescinded and TSA clarified that sunscreen is still subject to the liquids 3.4 ounce rule.

“Our website incorrectly reported that sunscreen containers larger than 3.4 oz. were allowed in carry-on bags if medically necessary. That error has been corrected. Sunscreen in carry-on bags must be 3.4 oz. or less. Larger quantities should be placed in checked baggage.”

TSA security line

Flying with sunscreen in the cabin (applying it mid-flight)

Lots of people apply lotion during a flight because it helps them reduce uncomfortable dry skin but applying sunscreen during a flight would just be stupid, right?

Well, maybe not.

Marc Glashofer, M.D., a dermatologist and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, told CN Traveler that it is possible to get sunburned on a plane.

But worse than that, the windows on a plane can be penetrated by UVA rays, which penetrate your skin to a deeper level and are often the culprit for causing skin cancer.

A lot of the risk pertains to pilots who are constantly in the air and exposed to UV rays via much larger windows than what a typical passenger is exposed to.

For example, one study in JAMA Dermatology found that a single hour flying at 30,000 feet could expose pilots to an equivalent amount of UV radiation that someone would get spending just 20 minutes in a tanning bed.

However, some reputable sources claim that plane windows block out a lot of the harmful UV rays including both UVA and UVB.

So the risk of skin cancer or UV damage is probably low for passengers.

But for skin conscious travelers, you may feel better about your seat selection if you have sunscreen on hand just in case that Sun starts to hit your face a little bit too much.

Of course, if you select the window seat it’s your choice to put down the window shade so you could always reduce that risk by just shutting the shade.

If you do decide to apply sunscreen in the cabin, just be careful about pulling out any type of bottles because your bottle could explode in the plane and create a big mess for everyone nearby.

A good way to avoid this is to squeeze out the air from the bottle whenever you are on the ground so that the air has room to expand at altitude.

Also, try to cover the nozzle with a bag (perhaps your liquids bag) whenever you open it so that if it does burst, it won’t get everywhere.

And finally, consider selecting sunscreen that does not contain a scent because it’s not very considerate to unleash a strong scent throughout the cabin.

Related: What Can I Bring In My Purse on a Plane?

Window view from plane

Bringing sunscreen in your checked baggage

When you travel with sunscreen in your checked baggage, you have to keep in mind the FAA restrictions on the total quantity and size of your medicinal and toiletry articles.

For checked baggage, the FAA states the capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces). It should not be difficult to find sunscreen bottles smaller than 17 fluid ounces so you don’t have a lot to worry about in most cases.

The aggregate total of all of your toiletry items in your checked baggage cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces).

Once again, if you have aerosol bottles make sure that you have them covered with the cap to prevent accidental release.

You also have to be mindful about the sunscreen bottle exploding in your luggage.

The best way to prevent something from happening is to try to squeeze out any air that you can before you place it in your checked baggage.

In addition to that, double bag the sunscreen and perhaps consider storing it in a separate compartment so that you can minimize the damage from a spill.

Luggage with bottle inside

Buying sunscreen at your destination

Sunscreen is one of the easiest items to find at any type of tourist destination or tropical vacation spot.

The problem is sunscreen at these places, especially in shops at all-inclusive resorts, can be extremely expensive. We’re talking $25 plus per bottle.

Talk about getting squeezed!

Moreover, they may not sell small bottles so you could be forced to buy a larger, more expensive bottle that you may only use a small portion of on your trip.

For this reason, I usually try to purchase a couple of small sunscreen bottles or spray canisters that I bring with us when we travel to tropical destinations.

(If I’m using checked baggage, I’ll just purchase a big bottle and bring that along.)

You can also look into packages that come with sunscreen. For example, if you were renting a car through Turo or other types of rental companies, sometimes you can get free sunscreen with your rental or just add it on.

Woman applying sunscreen at beach

Bringing sunscreen to different countries or states

Some sunscreens may not be allowed in certain countries or even certain states such as Hawaii.

There has been a growing trend of banning certain sunscreen ingredients because of the harm that they could do to reef systems. For example, Aruba banned sunscreens containing Oxybenzone.

In 2021, Hawaii banned sunscreens containing both oxybenzone and octinoxate as did the US Virgin Islands and Key West.

I’m sure many more will follow.

So if you are heading to a tropical destination where you might find coral reef or where scuba diving or snorkeling are popular, be sure to double check that your sunscreen is allowed.

Look for sunscreens that are labeled as “reef safe” or “biodegradable.” I personally use Coppertone Sport 50 SPF 4-in-1 that is free of many of the prohibited active ingredients.

In addition, you can consider purchasing diving shirts that block out UV rays so that you don’t have to worry about applying a lot of extra sunscreen.

Aruba beach

Final word

When traveling with sunscreen, you need to be mindful about the liquids rule and also be careful about applying sunscreen before you head to the airport because you could trigger the alarm if you get swabbed by TSA. If you put the bottles or spray canisters in your checked baggage make sure you comply with the FAA rules mentioned above.

And finally, try to bring your own sunscreen so that you can avoid getting burned by the hotel, and be mindful about the local laws that could prohibit certain types of sunscreen.

Also, watch this video:

What Do Airlines Really Mean When They Say a Flight Is “Full?”

If you’ve done enough flying then you have probably found yourself in the following situation.

You hear flight attendants announce over the PA system that “the flight is full” and then you hear the same thing as you begin to board the plane and find your seat.

But then as you get situated in your seat you notice around the time of takeoff that there are some open seats throughout the cabin.

So what exactly did these flight attendants mean when they said the flight was “full?” Were they misinformed or are they actively lying to passengers about the occupancy rates of flights?

In this article, we will take a look.

What do airlines mean when they say a flight is full?

When a flight attendant or gate agent announces that a flight is full, they do not always mean that every seat will be occupied. Instead, it could just mean that the flight is nearly full and they could be making the “flight is full” announcement to help expedite the boarding process or because of various other reasons.

I’ll explain why that is the case below.

Boarding area
First class and ANA Diamond elite boarding line.

Why do airlines announce a flight is full if it really is not full?

There are a few reasons why a gate agent or crew member would announce that a flight is full when it really is not.


It’s possible that your flight was actually sold out or even oversold but that some people were simply no-shows for the flight.

Some airlines allow passengers to cancel flights as soon as 10 minutes before the flight and so they will not always be able to predict who will not show up. If they don’t have other people making last minute changes or on standby then those seats could remain empty for the flight.

So sometimes these announcements are made in good faith and are accurate at the time of the announcement but things just change.

Missed connections

A flight crew will often hold the door open for people who are trying to connect from a late connecting flight but they can only hold up operations for so long.

If that flight is very late then lots of connecting passengers may miss the flight and that might be why your flight is not as full as the flight attendants made it out to be.

Related: Are Airlines Responsible for Missing Connecting Flights?

Baggage concerns

Sometimes a crew knows that the flight is not going to be 100% full but it will still have a high occupancy rate.

In these cases, they may announce the flight is full because they may want to avoid having people check their baggage during the boarding process. When passengers have to check their baggage during boarding, it usually slows things down a lot because there is a lot of confusion and movement in the (likely crowed) aisle — it can quickly turn into a mess.

For that reason, the crew will announce over the speaker system that the flight is full along with making a request for some people to check their bags.

Often, the airline will focus on people in the later boarding groups because those will be the most at risk for not having overhead storage bin space. And sometimes they may even make a specific request like we need “five passengers to check their bags.”

Related: How Many Flight Attendants Are on Each Flight?

Overhead storage bin space

They don’t want you getting adventurous

Lots of times the crew will tell you that the flight is full because they don’t want people lollygagging or getting too adventurous with trying out different seats.

This is especially true on Southwest where you can choose your own seat. Lots of passengers want to avoid sitting next to other people so they will hunt out rows with multiple open seats.

This can slow down the boarding process but if these people think everything will be full they won’t spend time hunting down those seats.

And even if the flight does allow you to reserve your seat, they may still make this announcement because they don’t want people trying to swap out their seat with a seat that they think is empty.

In other words, putting pressure on passengers (by telling them that the flight is full) usually makes passengers less “adventurous” and more focused on getting to their seat which is a good thing if you want to streamline boarding.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Airline Boarding Policies

People buy extra seats

Lots of airlines allow passengers to buy an extra seat that remains empty.

This is often done for “passengers of size” who need extra space so that they don’t create an issue for adjacent passengers.

But some people also just purchase an extra seat so that they can have a more comfortable flight. This is why if you are ever trying to hop into a different seat, you should not assume that it is available to you.

How can you tell if your flight is really full?

One thing to listen for when crewmembers make the “flight is full” announcement is do they say something like this flight is “completely full” or just that “we have a full flight.”

Sometimes when they put that emphasis on completely you are dealing with 100% occupancy.

Ultimately, if you want to know how full the flight is you can just ask a gate agent or flight attendant. They should generally provide you with an accurate answer but they may not even have the latest data all the time.

There are also other ways to check (or at least get information to guess) on how full the flight will be. We’ve written on this topic before and you should definitely check out that article if you are curious about how to tell if your flight is full.

Basically, there are a few things you can do but most of them only provide you with an estimate.

These include:

  • Asking the check-in or gate agent
  • Calling the airline
  • Checking upgrade and standby lists
  • Attempting a large booking
  • Checking the fare buckets
  • Checking the seat map
  • Talking to flight attendants
  • Checking the news

Final word

It’s not uncommon for crewmembers to announce that a flight is full when every seat is not actually occupied. But they are not doing this because they enjoy lying to passengers. It’s usually because they don’t have the most up-to-date data regarding no-shows or because they want passengers to board and store their luggage as efficiently as possible.

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