Travel tip of the week- jumping airline queues

Maybe we shouldn’t tout jumping airline queues on here as this is certainly not one our most noble pieces of advice (but there are far worse things in this world). And because most US airlines charge to check baggage and don’t restrict carry on baggage so much, the overhead compartments are usually full, so if you’re randomly in the last zone, you could be separated from your baggage if you don’t know better.

Sunset in the sky, jumping airline queues


Airlines always load business class and loyalty customers first, followed by families with small children (no do not pretend that you have a child if you don’t, they will notice this). On an additional side note, we are frequently shocked by families that do not take advantage of this early boarding option for them. Perhaps their children have beaten their daily life forces out and they are simply incapable of paying attention to announcements.

Following these groups come the zones for economy class, usually listed 1-4. Airlines want to load the back of the plane first, as this allows for a more efficient boarding process. So zone 1 is essentially the back of the plane and zone 4 is the front of the plane.  People hover around the queue waiting for their zone to be called. Thing is, most airline personnel do not actually care what zone you are sitting in when making the announcements. They only pretend to. Bell does not like doing this, but because of the carry on baggage issue, I have few qualms about jumping the line. While they may say they are only boarding zone 1, you can board with a different zone and they will still smile, scan your ticket and tell you to enjoy your flight. We’ve never had a problem jumping the gun, but worst case just play stupid and say you misheard.

And because we skip some spots, we insure that our bags aren’t randomly placed elsewhere on the plane aside from in the overhead compartment above our heads. If you’re one of the last passengers “allowed” to board, and the overhead compartments are full, airlines in the USA will check your baggage free of charge. Problem is, maybe that’s where your entertainment or medication are, and at this point airline staff are in a hurry to get everyone seated so the plane can taxi from the gate for an on time departure. Now you’re separated from your important belongings for hours. On a full flight, a few people get screwed, but why should it be you?

5 thoughts on “Travel tip of the week- jumping airline queues

  1. I hate it if there is no room in the overhead compartment left. Interesting that you could jump queues with American airlines (although my hubby would never do it as he is so frightfully British and they all love their queuing. 🙂 ) In Europe the cheap airlines are always very strict on boarding priority (especially Easyjet). If you are in group B for example and go into lane A they will send you back to the end of queue B. Doh! 🙂

  2. Good to know that American Airlines are less strict than Europeans when it comes to pushing in. Easyjet in particular would send someone who pushed in from boarding group B to A right to the back of the queue of group B again. Doh! 🙂 My hubby would never allow me to push in anyway though as he is so frightfully British (who all love queuing). 🙂

    1. Ohh yes, the “carry on” suitcases some people take in the States is a joke, Ryan Air would seriously fall over laughing, and most European carriers also wouldn’t consider these as carry on!! But that is why there is often no overhead space even for a laptop bag, drives both of us nuts! But we think it has a lot to do with nearly all airlines in the US charging for a checked bag now. Whereas over here in Europe, if you fly discount it’s up to you how discount that ticket really is, but if you fly KLM and pay their price you get your bag.

    1. You should, it’s worth it and no problem. We’ve never tried skipping more than 1 zone though (Bell won’t let me ;))

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