American Airlines is adding new fee options for non-elite passengers that are similar to some of the complimentary benefits given to elite travelers. As part of the new “Your Choice” services, American is offering a “Boarding and Flexibility Package” starting at $9 each way. The price will vary according to the flight route. Passengers who pay for this package will be charged $75 for a flight change if you need to change your itinerary (a 50 percent discount off the regular price of $150), Group 1 boarding and the ability to standby for an earlier flight at no charge.
The Boarding and Flexibility Package is only available on American Airlines and American Eagle flights within the 48 contiguous United States. The Boarding and Flexibility package must be purchased for the entire itinerary and for all travelers in the reservation. Passengers traveling on award tickets are not eligible to purchase the Boarding and Flexibility package but they will be able to purchase Group 1 boarding when it is offered as a standalone option at airport check-in kiosks later this summer. The initial price to board the plane with Group 1 will be $10 each way on all flights.
Bottom line: This new option does not impact elite AAdvantage member benefits. Elite members board with PriorityAAccess customers, before Group 1 boarding, and when you standby for a flight, elite members receive a higher priority than non-elite passengers who purchase a Boarding and Flexibility package. The only benefit offered through the Boarding and Flexibility package that elite members don’t receive is a $75 discount on itinerary changes. American reports that more “Your Choice” services will be offered in the future.