Buying an Extra Seat on Delta Air Lines: What You Need to Know About the Process

Are you thinking about purchasing an extra seat on Delta Air Lines because you are a plus-sized passenger or just because you want some extra comfort?

If so, then it will be helpful for you to know how the booking process works along with some other helpful information like how to make sure you don’t lose your extra seat!

Below, I’ve broken down everything you need to know about purchasing an additional seat for your flight and hopefully will answer most or all of your questions!

How to book an extra seat on Delta Air Lines

A Delta representative confirmed that in order to book an extra seat, you need to call customer service.

This is in contrast to some other airlines like United that allow you to book an extra seat online, even if the process is a little bit strange.

When you purchase an extra seat, Delta will create an additional booking that essentially acts like a second passenger is traveling with you.

However, on the name for the second passenger you might see your first name replaced with “EXST.” The gender and date of birth should be the same as your own.

Your extra seat should be linked to your main ticket which means that if you encountered irregular operations, such as a flight change caused by Delta, your extra seat should “follow” you to your new flight.

Sometimes this may not happen and you may have to work out the situation with Delta but that should be rare according to the rep I spoke with.

For some other airlines, the second boarding pass gets printed out and scanned during the boarding process so you might need to print out that second boarding pass when flying with Delta and scan it.

The reason is that if you don’t scan the second boarding pass it could trigger a “no-show” which could mean that an additional passenger is assigned to your flight and that could cause issues for your extra seat.

Delta’s system may not work that way but you may want to confirm that.

If you want to use your SkyMiles to purchase the extra seat, that should be allowed as long as there are open awards.

Just be aware that you cannot purchase a basic economy ticket as an extra seat. That’s because a seat assignment is required and those basic economy fares do not allow for advanced seat selection.

Delta airline seats

A seat just for comfort?

Unlike Southwest Airlines that does not allow you to purchase an extra seat solely for comfort, Delta is among the airlines that allows you to purchase an extra seat even if you don’t need it for size reasons.

It’s also possible for you to purchase more than one extra seat if you would like.

For example, if you were on crutches and wanted to keep your foot elevated during the flight, you could purchase two additional seats and occupy an entire row.

(Of course, during takeoff and landing you need to comply with safety requirements.)

Will you be required to purchase an extra seat?

If you are a customer of size, often a major question is will you be required to purchase an extra seat?

This always depends on the circumstances but Delta seems to be one of the more plus-size friendly airlines as I will explain below.

If you need a seatbelt extender…

If you need a seatbelt extender, you are NOT required to purchase an extra seat. One reason for this is that people are just built very differently.

Some people carry their extra weight in different parts of the body so just because you need a seatbelt extender, that does not mean that you will be intruding on the passenger next to you.

The armrest does not have to come down

One of the big reasons why Delta is friendly to plus-size passengers is the armrest policy.

They state:

Delta does not require a passenger who needs a seatbelt extender or is unable to lower the armrest to purchase an additional seat

So just because the armrest cannot go down, that does not mean that you have to purchase an extra seat.

Often, whether or not the armrest can come down (and remain down) while a plus-sized passenger is seated is sort of a test of whether or not the passenger will be able to fly without buying an extra seat.

If the armrest can’t come down, the passenger is required to purchase an extra seat. But that is not the case with Delta.

While this is good news for many, to ensure that you don’t need to purchase an extra seat you still have to make sure that you are not “impeding on” another passenger….

If you impede on another passenger

Delta states that if you impede on another passenger, that’s when things become problematic.

Now what exactly “impede” means is the million dollar question.

Typically, this means if you are body is occupying space in the next seat (with the armrest acting as the official divider).

But it gets a little bit tricky when you talk about elbows, shoulders, etc.

In the end, this likely is a case-by-case determination that could largely depend on the passenger next to you.

Some people are just much more tolerant than others when it comes to rubbing arms or bodies with others.

If the crew determines that you are impeding on another passenger then there are a few different scenarios that could play out.

You could be asked to move to another seat.

For example, maybe there is an empty seat somewhere else on the plane or even just a smaller passenger that you can sit next to.

(Sometimes the passenger next to you may volunteer to swap with someone else or move to a different seat.)

If the flight is full then you could be asked to take a later flight that will have available seating.

To ensure that you will have space, you may want to purchase an additional seat for that later flight but that will not be required because the next available flight may not be full.

But obviously if that flight did become full — perhaps with standby passengers — you could find yourself right back in the same situation so it’s usually a good idea to purchase the extra seat to avoid these situations.

If the next flight is more expensive, Delta reps told me that you would not be responsible for paying the fare difference.

I should point out that some airlines will also cover a hotel and meals if you are refused the ability to fly until the next day. I did not get confirmation that Delta does this but since other major airlines do, it’s worth asking about.

Delta Air Lines planes

Can you use preboarding?

Preboarding is available to a lot of different passengers and it is required under the law to provide it to people who need extra time or assistance to get settled in their seat.

If you are a customer of size, you could easily make an argument that you may need extra time to get into your seat so I think preboarding should be on the table. After all, it is something that you self identify for.

If you are interested in preboarding then simply speak with a gate agent and they should be able to get you situated for it.

How an extra seat affects your luggage

If you were hoping to get an extra carry-on when purchasing an extra seat, that is not going to happen.

Instead, your carry-on allowance is strictly tied to the passenger flying — not the seat. (I believe this is a safety issue and not strictly an airline issue.)

However, the good news is that you will be entitled to extra checked baggage based on the number of seats that you purchase. Read about Delta baggage fees here.

What seats can you select?

If you are a customer of size then you want to avoid the emergency exit row.

That’s because seatbelt extenders are not allowed in those seats and the arm rests cannot be pushed up which means you will be dealing with limited seat width.

If the aircraft has rows with only two seats, that would be the ideal seat selection. However, if you are traveling with a companion then a row with three seats also works just fine.

Delta Air Lines seat

Protecting your extra seat

One of the drawbacks of purchasing an extra seat is that sometimes you have to keep people away from trying to poach your seat.

Also, there are reports of flight attendants trying to put people into the extra seats in order to accommodate other passengers or even to accommodate standby passengers.

Because of this, it’s a good practice to notify a flight attendant that you have paid for an extra seat as soon as you get settled in.

That should let them know that the seat is off-limits to others and they should help you “guard” the seat.

If for some reason your extra seat is occupied by a passenger then be sure to follow up with Delta to request some type of compensation.

Can you earn extra miles?

It appears that you can earn extra award miles at least for one extra seat. However, if you were trying to earn MQDs, MQMs, MQS, and Medallion bonus miles that might be a different story. Speak with a Delta agent about those requests.

What happens when you try to upgrade?

If you are I’m a Medallion member trying to be waitlisted for a complimentary Medallion upgrade then you should probably contact Delta reservations customer service.

It’s worth being aware that Delta says that if the complimentary upgrade clears, there are no refunds for the extra seat if it was a nonrefundable fare.

Final word

If you want an extra seat because you need more space or because you want to be more comfortable, you need to call Delta in order to book.

If you suspect that you will be impeding on another passenger then you might need to purchase an extra seat so that you don’t get put on a different flight.

Airplane Emergency Exit Rows Guide: (Rules, Pros & Cons) [2023]

If you have never sat in an emergency exit row seat you might be wondering why someone would ever choose to sit in those rows.

Doesn’t it just seem like one more thing to worry about on a flight?

Well, it turns out that there actually are quite a few perks for snagging those seats.

In this article, we will cover both the pros and cons of sitting in the emergency exit rows and give you some insight into where these rows are located on different aircraft.

We will also hit on the federal rules and restrictions regarding who is allowed to sit in the emergency exit row, so you’ll know if you are eligible or not.

What is the emergency exit row?

The emergency exit row is a section of an airplane containing seats near an over-wing exit or full-sized exit door.

Sitting here is a slightly different experience from your standard economy seat. For example, the emergency exit row seats may offer more legroom but also may come with restrictions that other seats don’t have.

Keep reading below to find out more about these restrictions and everything that you need to know!

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

emergency exit row
An example of two over-wing exit windows.

Benefits of sitting in the emergency exit row

Let’s start off with talking about the different benefits of sitting in the emergency exit row.

Extra legroom

Typically, one of the main reasons people like to sit in the emergency exit row is because they will have more legroom.

This is because you will generally find more “pitch” (the distance between seats) in the emergency exit rows.

How much extra legroom?

It depends on the aircraft but often you will have at least a couple of extra inches and in some aircraft you may have several more.

For someone who is above average in height, these extra few inches could make a huge difference especially when the flight is several hours.

Fewer seats in the row

Some rows in the emergency exit rows may only have two seats versus the three seats you would typically experience.

So if you are traveling as a couple you can have a little bit more privacy which is one reason why couples like the emergency exit rows.

And if you are seated behind one of these two seat rows, that means you have all the legroom in the world!

Cooler temps

If you are seated by an emergency exit door, you might find that the space nearby the door is a little bit colder.

That’s no surprise considering it could be about -59 F outside at 35,000 feet.

You won’t be getting frostbite but some people might need an extra sweater or blanket when sitting in this row.

Depending on your temperature preference, you might love or hate this.

Not sitting by kids/pets

The truth is a lot of passengers don’t want to sit next to kids, oversized passengers, or pets.

Because kids, some oversized passengers, and people with pets are not allowed in the emergency exit row, if you would like to optimize your comfort, the emergency exit row can be a good place for you to go.

Reduced turbulence

Not many (healthy and stable) people enjoy turbulence.

And for some people, it’s one of the worst things about traveling.

The center of the plane near the wings is known for being one of the best places to sit if you are worried about turbulence.

And often, this is where you can find the emergency exit rows.

Related: Using Turbulence Maps Ultimate Guide

Far enough from the lavatories

Sitting in the back of the plane can be one of the worst places because you may have limited recline and lots of foot traffic going in and out of the bathroom.

You also may have to deal with odors….

On the other hand, if you are seated in front of the economy section you may be prevented from using the first class lavatory and have to walk all the way to the back of the plane to use the bathroom.

But if you are seated in the emergency exit row in the middle of the plane, you are not so far from the bathroom but also not too close.

Did you know? It is basically impossible for the emergency exit doors to open during flight due to cabin pressure.

Downside of sitting in the emergency exit row

More expensive

Some airlines will require passengers to pay more money when choosing a seat in the emergency exit rows.

Sometimes they will consider the emergency exit row seats to be part of the “economy plus” section which is usually slightly more expensive.

For example, when I was looking to book a flight between Tucson and San Francisco, United allowed me to select my seats in the emergency exit row but notified me that I would have to pay $45 to $59 for the seat selection.

Often if you select seats like this you can get extra perks like priority boarding and sometimes even free alcohol.

United may charge you $50+ for the emergency exit row

More difficult to book

Some airlines make booking the emergency exit rows more difficult.

They might reserve them for elite members or not allow you to book them until the last minute.

In other cases they might be classified in such a way that you even have to call in to select your seat. So in some situations you may have to jump through a couple of hoops to get your seat.

Lack of recline

Some of the seats in exit rows will not allow you to recline.

This is typically the case if there are multiple rows of exit row seats for one exit and the seats don’t recline because it would clutter up the space for a clean exit.

Reclining on shorter domestic flights is overrated anyway so I don’t consider this a major con.

Related: 9 Tips to Politely Recline Your Airplane Seat

Different tray tables

Seats in the emergency exit row may have different types of armrests and tray tables than other economy seats.

A standard economy seat may have a tray that drops down from the seatback in front of it but some seats in the emergency exit row may have a tray table that pops out of the armrest.

This means that you will not be able to put the armrest up or down which could be more restrictive for some passengers.

Engine noise

If your exit row is located on or near a wing you may be subjected to louder engine noise. (The front of the plane is always going to be the quietest because you are in front of the engines.)

Some emergency exit rows are in front of the engines so this is not always a drawback.

Obstructed views

Once again if your exit row is on a wing your view out of the window may be largely obstructed from the wing.

If there is an empty seat next to the window, you also might have to stretch out to even catch a window view.

emergency exit row view
Emergency exit row view on Southwest.

Under seat luggage

Depending on the aircraft and airline, you may have issues trying to store your belongings underneath the seat in front of you when sitting in the emergency exit row. Some airlines seem to allow it while others may prevent you from putting anything under the seat.

This means you will have to store all of your carry-on and personal items in the overhead storage bin similar to if you were sitting in the bulkhead.

Outside of takeoff and landing, you may be able to store your belongings under the seat as long as they do not protrude.

Longer wait to get off the plane

Since you will be seated in the middle of the plane you will not be one of the first people to exit the aircraft.

In fact, you could be among the last to get off the plane.

We once arrived in a Caribbean destination when seated in the emergency exit row and the plane deplaned from both the front and the back.

This forced us to be among the very last passengers off the plane which was not very fun because there was a soul-crushing long line for immigration when we finally exited the aircraft.

Extra instructions

This is not the biggest deal to a lot of people but if you are in an emergency exit row you might have to listen to extra instructions about what to do in the event of an emergency.

One thing that I have seen happen (on several occasions) is someone jamming out with their headphones on and getting called out by the flight attendant who is trying to brief the passengers on what they might have to do.

Extra (legal) responsibility

While you might have more room to spread out your legs, by sitting in the emergency exit row you are forced to assume extra duties that could be vitally important.

In a worst-case scenario, your actions could mean the difference between someone living or dying and so your decision to sit in the emergency exit row should not be taken lightly.

There also might be legal implications to your decision to sit in those seats — you could be sued for negligence, for example. So once again you should think through your choice thoroughly.

emergency exit sign

Where is the emergency exit row?

There are two types of emergency exits: over-wing exits and full-sized exit doors.

The over-wing exit rows are going to be located in the middle of the plane (where the wing is attached) and will usually be a smaller window exit. Meanwhile, the full-sized exit door rows will typically be found towards the front or back of the plane (but sometimes can be near the middle).

Because of the different aircraft and multiple exits, there is no way to predict if you will be in an emergency exit row based solely on your row number.

Instead, you will have to check the seat map for your specific aircraft. You can do this with a website called SeatGuru but you can also often view the emergency exit rows whenever you are selecting your seat with the airline.

Below are four different examples with the different aircraft. You’ll see a 787 Dreamliner from United, A321 from JetBlue, 737 from Southwest, and an A350 from Delta. Notice how on the Southwest 737 the exit rows are over the wing but they are not like that with the other aircraft.

Emergency exit row locations
Seat maps via

Rules for the emergency exit row

Not everyone can sit in the emergency exit row.

A good rule of thumb is that if you are preboarding you will not be allowed to sit in the exit rows (there are some exceptions).

But there are also specific instances outlined by the FAA that spell out exactly who is not allowed.

Based on 14 CFR § 121.585(b), there are situations where individuals may not be allowed to sit in the emergency exit row.

The reason is that they may not have the ability to successfully complete the duties talked about below.

The situations where you may not be allowed in the exit row include the following.

Mobility issues

If “[t]he person lacks sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands, and both legs” they may not be allowed because they may have issues performing the emergency exit duties.

The lack of mobility provision could apply to people who are severely overweight and struggle to move around quickly or in tight spaces.

Note: If you need a seatbelt extender some flight attendants may ask you to choose a different seat from the exit row.

Under the age of 15

If the individual is “less than 15 years of age or lacks the capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions [ . . . ] without the assistance of an adult companion, parent, or other relative” they may not be seated in the emergency exit row.

This is a major reason why unaccompanied minors are not allowed in these seats.

Reading comprehension

If “[t]he person lacks the ability to read and understand instructions… in printed or graphic form or the ability to understand oral crew commands” they may be unable to be seated.

A lot of airlines will want to make sure that passengers in the emergency exit row can read and understand the native language of the home country of the airline.

I am assuming that if someone is illiterate this could also disqualify them.

Visual issues

There is also a restriction for sight.

If a passenger “lacks sufficient visual capacity to perform one or more of the applicable functions… without the assistance of visual aids beyond contact lenses or eyeglasses” they aren’t allowed in the emergency exit row.

In other words, if you have a visual impairment, you’re not allowed to sit in the emergency exit row.

Hearing issues

Also, if you have hearing issues, that can be significant enough to keep you out of the exit row as the statute states the passenger cannot lack “sufficient aural capacity to hear and understand instructions shouted by flight attendants, without assistance beyond a hearing aid.”

Communication skills

And finally you won’t be able to stay in the emergency exit row if you lack “the ability adequately to impart information orally to other passengers.”

I take this to mean that if you have severe cognitive deficiencies, you may not be able to be seated in the exit row.

Note that some airlines have their own requirements that they publish. They usually follow along with federal law but may have additional requirements. You can check out the Southwest rules here.

Emergency exit door

What are the emergency exit row duties?

So assuming that you are qualified to sit in the emergency exit row, what could you be expected to do in the event of something going wrong?

Well, you’re not exactly expected to be Captain America but the statute lists 10 different duties you could expect.

These include being called upon to:

  • Locate the emergency exit;
  • Recognize the emergency exit opening mechanism;
  • Comprehend the instructions for operating the emergency exit;
  • Operate the emergency exit;
  • Assess whether opening the emergency exit will increase the hazards to which passengers may be exposed;
  • Follow oral directions and hand signals given by a crewmember;
  • Stow or secure the emergency exit door so that it will not impede use of the exit;
  • Assess the condition of an escape slide, activate the slide, and stabilize the slide after deployment to assist others in getting off the slide;
  • Pass expeditiously through the emergency exit; and
  • Assess, select, and follow a safe path away from the emergency exit.

It’s really important to consider what these duties would entail in practice.

It’s not just about pulling a lever to open the door but there are actual needs for judgment calls to be made.

Are you someone who does okay that type of pressure or would you fold like a lawn chair?

Some passengers might feel safer sitting by the emergency exit because they could presumably be the first people out of the plane in the event of something like a fire.

But if you were to exit that quickly you might be forced to neglect some of the duties you would be called upon to do like stowing the emergency exit door.

Again, you could be sued for negligence.

If you are wondering what it would be like when an emergency exit door is being opened, check out the videos below and they will give you a pretty good picture of what it will look like.

Here’s a video of a window exit being opened:

Here’s a video of an emergency slide being deployed:

Final word

Personally, I am a major fan of the emergency exit rows. I have flown in them many times especially when flying Southwest. For certain people that value legroom and extra privacy it can be well worth it to pay a little bit extra for them but in the back of your head you should always think about what you might be called upon to do in the event of an emergency.

American Airlines Boarding Groups Guide (Get The Best Seats!) [2023]

The boarding process for American Airlines is very similar to most other major airlines, such as United Airlines boarding. Below, I’ll show you how the American Airlines boarding groups work, including things like the boarding order and how to make sure you have room for your carry-on bags. 

I’ll then tell you everything you need to know about things like check-in and checked baggage so you’ll know when you can get to the airport and check your bags before your plane closes for boarding.

How do American Airlines boarding groups work?

American Airlines has a total of nine boarding groups and at the time of boarding each group should be called up individually. Note that it’s possible that each group might not get called up individually.

For example, sometimes agents might lump several groups together. So it’s a good idea to always monitor when you think you should be boarding.

Below are all of the different American Airlines boarding groups and the different types of passengers who will board.


If you are a passenger requiring assistance, such as an unaccompanied minor you’ll be able to board with American Airlines pre-boarding. (If you need to make special travel arrangements, you can make them online or call 800-433-7300.)

Pre-boarding is also where those with ConciergeKey members (the highest elite level) are allowed to board along with Five Star customers. However, those who need assistance getting in their seat should be called before elite members.

Boarding Group 1

First class or two cabin international Business class passengers will board in Group 1. Two cabin business class planes are those aircraft without a “true” first class (i.e, the highest class on the aircraft is business class).

Also, after a recent change, AAdvantage Executive Platinum members will board in this group.

Other passengers who can board with Group 1 are those active duty U.S. military members with military I.D.

Boarding Group 2

Group 2 allows those to board with Platinum Pro or those who have oneworld Emerald elite status. This is also where those business class passengers can board in those three cabin aircraft that do have first class.

Boarding Group 3

Group 3 allows those to board with Platinum or those who have oneworld Sapphire elite status.

Boarding Group 4

Group 4 allows those to board with American Airlines Gold and oneworld Ruby status. It also offer boarding to those with Air Pass and passengers flying Premium Economy.

If you hold the premium Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard you can also board with Group 4. This is the premium AA credit card issued by Citi that comes with Admiral’s Club access and additional AA perks like priority check-in, priority airport screening (where available), in-flight savings, and free checked baggage.

This card also offers a pretty decent sign-up bonus at times so it can be one of the best ways to rack up a lot of AA miles in a hurry.  

If you purchased Priority Boarding, you can also board with Group 4. The cost for Priority boarding can be from $9 to $74. Unless you’re flying on a Basic Economy fare, you can buy Priority for your trip on American marketed and operated flights during the following times:

  • Check-in on
  • Check-in at an airport kiosk
  • Through Reservations before departure.

Boarding Group 5

Group 5 is known as “Preferred Boarding.”

If you are flying Main Cabin Extra, you can board with this group and if you are an eligible corporate traveler you can also board with Group 5. (Main Cabin Extra is essentially economy with extra legroom and perks like complimentary alcohol on board.)

Finally, if you have an eligible AAdvantage credit card like the Aviator Red or the Citi Platinum Select, you’ll get preferred boarding. Cards like the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select also offer you complimentary checked baggage for domestic flights for you and several companions. If you do a lot of flying on American that can save you a lot of money.

In case you’re wondering, here are all of the eligible cards that will get you preferred boarding:

  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select American Express Card
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select Visa Signature
  • AAdvantage Aviator Silver Mastercard
  • AAdvantage Aviator Red Mastercard
  • AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard

Group 5 is great because you shouldn’t have issues with overhead storage space. On a couple of recent flights I took, I had Group 5 boarding, and we had plenty of space in the overhead storage bins — it wasn’t an issue at all.

Boarding Groups 6 through 8

Group 6 consists of Coach Groups and then also Basic Economy on longhaul transoceanic flights. Basic Economy is the class that doesn’t allow you many perks like selecting a seat.

Group 6 boarding is when things start to get a little tricky with overhead storage space. It all depends on certain factors like how many elite travelers there are on your flight. You will often be able to find overhead storage space in Group 6 and even Group 7 but it might not always be right where you’re sitting.

Once you get higher up into Group 8, finding overhead storage space becomes much more difficult and you might have to gate check your bag in some cases.

Related: Airline Overhead Storage Bin Etiquette Guide

Boarding Group 9

Group 9 consists of Basic Economy within the U.S., Canada, Mexico & Caribbean. You will be the last to board the plane so as you can probably expect, finding overhead storage space can be very difficult to impossible.

H/T: Flyertalk

American Airlines plane on the tarmac

Missing your boarding group

If you are a higher boarding group and you arrive when a later boarding group is boarding you should be able to enter through your lane and bypass their line. For example, let’s say you’re a business class passenger who can board in Group 2.

Now let’s say that you were hanging out in the lounge and lost track of time and now they are calling for Group 5 when you arrive. You should be able to bypass any other groups and simply make your way to the gate agent in that case.

A polite way to do this is to head to the front of your boarding group line and then try to signal to the gate agent that you have a higher boarding group pass. This will allow you to cut the line without potentially causing an unwanted confrontation with other passengers.

Some people argue that you should just join the current line instead of cutting but that is a matter that is open for debate.

Boarding with other groups

If there are other members in your party that you’d like to board with this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you are moving “down.”

For example, if someone with a Group 3 boarding pass wants to board with Group 5 that should be okay. However, if someone with a Group 5 wants to board with Group 3 that would not be allowed.

American Airlines boarding group sign
American Airlines boarding groups.

How early should I get to the airport for American Airlines?

American Airlines states that you should arrive two hours before your flight for a domestic flight and three hours before your flight for an international flight.

That’s usually a pretty good rule of thumb, but I would also recommend to consider whether or not you have to check bags or not. If you’re not checking in bags you can often shave off 15 to 30 minutes for your arrival time.

Also, if you can rely on things like TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR you can shave some more time off your arrival.

Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport?

When can I check in for an American Airlines flight?

If you’re like me and you enjoy getting to the airport early, you’ll probably want to know how early you can check-in for your flight.

You can check-in online or from the app starting 24 hours before and up to 45 minutes before departure (90 minutes for international).

When can I check my bags for American Airlines?

When checking your bags at the airport there are two deadlines you need to know about.

The first is the latest that you can check your bags and the second is the earliest that you can check your bags. By the way, if you are looking for information about American Airlines baggage fees click here.

The latest you can check your bags

To check bags at the airport, you must be there a certain amount of time before scheduled departure.

If you are flying within the United States, you’ll need to check your bags at least 45 minutes prior to departure. If you’re flying to or from destinations outside the U.S., you’ll need to check your bags at least 60 minutes prior to departure. 

But note that some airports require you to check your bags even sooner before departure. Check out the rules from the airports below (supplied by American Airlines).

Airport locationAirport codeCheck-in before scheduled departure
ArubaAUA75 minutes
Barcelona, SpainBCN75 minutes
Buenos Aires, ArgentinaEZE75 minutes
Dublin, IrelandDUB75 minutes
Georgetown, GuyanaGEO90 minutes
Madrid, SpainMAD75 minutes
Paris, FranceCDG75 minutes
San Juan, Puerto RicoSJU60 minutes
St. Croix, U.S. Virgin IslandsSTX90 minutes
St. Kitts and NevisSKB90 minutes
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin IslandsSTT90 minutes
Tampa, Florida
Applies only to the Consolidated Rental Car Center
TPA90 minutes
Tel Aviv, IsraelTLV75 minutes

The earliest you can check your bags

The earliest you can check your bags in will depend on the airport.

Generally, I try to check my bags in no earlier than four hours — this is a common deadline for many airlines and some might even impose a three hour deadline.

If an airline allows you to check bags earlier than 4 hours before departure consider that you are increasing the odds of your baggage getting lost by handing them over way before the airline typically has a standard procedure for them (just something to think about).

You can’t check bags more than 4 hours before departure when flying from the following airports:

  • Charleston (CHS)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • Kahului (OGG)
  • Kansas City (MCI)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Portland, Oregon (PDX)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • Seattle (SEA)
Honolulu (HNL) is one of several locations where you can’t check your bags earlier than four hours prior to your flight time.

When will American Airlines board the plane?

The time for boarding an American Airlines plane depends on what type of aircraft that you’re flying on.

For the most part, flights will start boarding 30 to 50 minutes before the scheduled departure. Generally, the larger the aircraft or the farther the destination, the sooner the boarding will begin.

Here are some estimated boarding times based on destination via Flyertalk. Keep in mind that these could differ based on your actual flight and boarding could occur earlier.

50 minutes prior to departure

From/To the United States and:

  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Asia
  • South American destinations: Asuncion, PY; Brasilia, BR; Belo Horizonte, BR; Curitiba, Br; Buenos Aires, AR; Rio de Janeiro, BR; Sao Paulo, BR; Lima, PE; Montevideo, UY; Porto Alegre, BR; Recife, BR; Salvador, BR; Santiago, CL; Sao Paulo Viracop, BR

45 minutes prior to departure

From/To the United States and:

  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • Hawaii
  • Mexico
  • South American destinations: La Paz, BO; Santa Cruz, BO; Maracaibo, VE; Caracas, VE; Bogota, CO; Cali, CO; Medellin, CO; Guayaquil, EC; Quito, EC

35 minutes prior to departure

Domestic on these aircraft types: A321, A321S, A330, B757, B767, B787, B777

  • Within the 48 contiguous states
  • Alaska
  • Canada

30 minutes prior to departure

Domestic on these aircraft types: A319, A320, A321T, E190, S80, B737

  • Within the 48 contiguous states
  • Alaska
  • Canada
Boarding gate area for American Airlines
Boarding group for American Airlines.

After you check your bags and get through security you will need to wait until the plane begins the boarding process. You can 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 monitors.

When to arrive at the gate

You need to make sure you arrive at the gate 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure for flights departing from points within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands.

For flights departing from points outside the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, i.e., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Central/South America, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, make sure you arrive 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure.

If you are not at the gate at that time, it’s possible that they will give your seat to someone else. The doors close 10 minutes before departure and you will not be allowed to board once the doors close.

Note: In the event you are coming from a connecting flight that was late, keep in mind the flight attendants will hold the door open for you — at least for a short while.

Coronavirus changes

If you are boarding a flight during the pandemic, don’t be surprised if you are asked to maintain 6 feet apart from other passengers while awaiting boarding. In addition, you will likely be required to wear a mask while waiting in the boarding area.

Related: American Airlines Lost and Found Guide

American Airlines Boarding FAQ

How can I get priority boarding on American Airlines?

You can get priority boarding by having elite status or flying in certain cabins such as business class.

You can also get priority boarding with Group 4 if you have the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.

When do Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select members board?

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select cardmembers get to board with Group 5 which is known as “preferred boarding.”

When does business class board?

If you are flying internationally on a two cabin business class aircraft you will be able to board with group one.

How many boarding groups does American Airlines have?

There are a total of 10 boarding groups if you include pre-boarding.

Can I board with other groups?

You can board with other groups as long as you are boarding with a group that is lower than your initial boarding group.

For example, if you are in Group 5 you can board with Group 6 but not Group 4.

When does basic economy board?

Basic economy will be the very last to board and they will board with Group 9.

What happens if I miss my boarding group?

If you miss your boarding group, you should still be able to board as soon as you arrive to the boarding area (assuming that you arrive while the gate is still open).

When does boarding start?

Boarding will usually begin about 30 to 50 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time.

Final word 

The boarding process with American Airlines is pretty straight forward. There are many ways to get Preferred Boarding (Group 5) and those should allow you to have overhead storage bin space without much issue so I would generally try to get into that group.

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

Have you recently lost or misplaced an item while traveling on Alaska Airlines? Well then you are in luck, our comprehensive guide to help you locate your item is exactly what you need. It can be very stressful to lose an item during your travels and unless the right steps are taken and taken quickly, the chances of recovering your item diminish considerably.

The important thing is to remain calm and take the necessary steps outlined in our comprehensive guide below to ensure that you have the best possible chance of being united with your lost item.

Alaska Airlines’ lost and found policy

People lose items while traveling on Alaska Airlines frequently so they have proper protocols and staff in place to look into helping their passengers recover their belongings.

The immediate step

Did you leave your belonging in the aircraft cabin itself? If you have and you are still in the aircraft, do not leave the aircraft. Due to increased security protocols in place these days, once you leave the aircraft you cannot go back in. Patiently make your way back to your seat and search it as thoroughly as possible. 

If you’re reading this article, however, chances are you have already left the aircraft.

In the event that you have left the aircraft but are still near the arrival gate, immediately make your way back to the gate area and get hold of an Alaska Airline official. Usually, these people have access to the aircraft or know someone who does have access.

Give this person all the information on what your item looks like and give them your seat number. If they send someone back immediately and find your item you might be able to get it back right then and there.

In other situations, if they find it later the staff will follow the lost and found protocols and may forward the item to the airline or airport’s lost and found counter.

The reason why I am constantly urging you to do things immediately is that there is a short window of opportunity before it becomes more and more unlikely that you will find your lost belongings. Anyone from the crew, cleaners to the other passengers may pocket your item.

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

You have left the aircraft but not the airport

If you are still in the airport premises but can’t make your way back to the aircraft arrival gate then your most prudent line of action is to immediately find an Alaska Airline counter and get hold of the staff there. The Alaska staff is trained to help you with starting the lost and found recovery process.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You may want to get hold of the general airport staff instead of the Alaska Airline staff but it will be most likely counterproductive. In most cases, they will simply go through their own protocols and have you end up with the Alaska Airlines staff because that is the aircraft you arrived on. Needless to say that the only thing this will have achieved is to have wasted precious time.

You may be asking why time is of so much importance here. Well, since the Covid-19 pandemic, aircraft are thoroughly sanitized by larger cleaning staff. The longer it takes for officials to be alerted about your missing item the more people go through your seat.

Now, these people are usually very professional and if they find any unusual items on or around a seat they report it immediately. Having said that, in real life, not everyone is as honest.

Related: Airlines & Airports Lost & Found Tips (Ultimate Guide)

Alaska Airlines baggage services counters

The next plan of action is to locate the Alaska Baggage Services counter. You can find them easily by going to any information desk usually spread throughout airports.

While Alaska Airlines baggage services counters primarily deal with things like lost luggage, the staff at these counters may help you even when you have lost something on a plane.

Usually, they will ask you to fill out either this form or a printed version of it. This is also the form you can fill out if you have already left at the airport.

You must enter as much detail as possible in this form regarding both your travel and the item itself.

On your travel details mention your flight number, arrival/departure time, boarding airport final destination (if you are in transit), seat number, etc.

It is also important to give as much information as you have on hand like: make, model, color, serial number, etc. Any distinguishing marks such as scratches or customization marks on the body can quickly help confirm to the authorities that the item indeed belongs to you.

Note: If the staff has not been able to find your item while you are at the airport, make sure you are very clear on the next steps before you leave the airport. Ask the staff about the next procedural steps, local contact details (phone, email, etc), when you should follow up, policies on lost and found, etc.

You can visit this page to find the phone number(s) of every Alaska Airlines local agent for all US airports and if you are unable to reach them for any reason you can call the system-wide baggage support office for general assistance at 1-877-815-8253. The working hours are daily between 6:00 am – 10:00 pm (PT).

Items left at the TSA Security Checkpoint

In the event that you feel you have misplaced your items in the above-mentioned areas instead of the aircraft then you have to make your way to the TSA security staff as these specific areas come under the jurisdiction of the 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.

TSA has officially partnered with Rejjee to help you find lost items misplaced in TSA’s jurisdiction. The service is absolutely free and easy to use and you can file an online report to start the process.

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

For items lost in and about the airport facility

In the event that you have not misplaced the item on a flight or any of the TSA designated areas mentioned above then your lost item will probably find its way to the airport’s Lost and Found Counter… yes each airport authority also has its own lost and found department it may be associated with the airport police department.

The general staff at the airport will be able to assist you to find this counter. In any case, even if you have registered a complaint with the airline or the TSA, it is a good idea to make your way to the airport Lost and Found and search for your item here as well. In some cases, lost items in other areas have been known to turn up here.

If you are registering for a complaint here, again make sure you give as much detail as possible for these people to help locate your item. Remember that these people have their own dedicated contact numbers and emails so make sure you get a local person’s number and non-generic email before you leave the airport.

Responses on generic emails are usually slower versus those from a specific person who is aware of your case.

There is also a chance that you might have left your belongings at a local business at the airport such as a rental service or a restaurant. In this case, your best bet is to contact them directly as they will hold on to the item for a while in the event the owner shows up before they pass it on to the airport authorities.

What if you have left the airport?

Luckily, even if you have left the airport Alaska Airlines has the lost item form available online here. Filling it out and submitting it will automatically initiate the search procedure. But remember that you must do this within 14 days of having lost the item otherwise it is very unlikely that you will be seeing your belongings again.

Also if you happen to discover more details about your lost item like a serial number, after you have left the airport you can use this form to update the relevant information.

Traveling first or business class?

Traveling on first or business class has its own perks and one of them is the extra attention you get from the airline staff. 

Because airlines make extra effort to please passengers using their premium services or those passengers who are part of their frequent flyers clubs, it is a good idea to mention if you are using any of them.

Third-party services

There are also independent third-party Lost and Found services out there like Crowdfind but I normally don’t recommend you go to them… unless of course, they are officially working with your airline. If, however, your item is really valuable or very important to you these options are available.

How long will Alaska Airlines keep looking for your item?

Alaska will look for your item for a period of 30 days from the filing of the report. After that, they will send you an email informing you that the search was unsuccessful.

Final word

The odds of finding a lost item at airports are generally better than in other places due to the extra security in place these days. Also, if you act quickly and follow the right steps that we have outlined in the guide above your chances of finding your lost item increase greatly.

I wish you the best of luck in recovering whatever it is that you have lost.

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

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

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.

Mendenhall Glacier Ultimate Guide: Tips for Exploring

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!

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

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. 

Tip: Use WalletFlo to help you maximize your credit card spend on purchases like Southwest flights!

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.

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

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.

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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

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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.

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