Is American Airlines Priority Worth It? A Detailed Look

With air travel becoming more hectic and crowded, many travelers are looking for ways to make their airport and in-flight experiences smoother. American Airlines offers priority services that provide certain conveniences and perks, but are they really worth the extra cost?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the ins and outs of American’s priority offerings to help you decide if paying more is worthwhile for your needs and preferences.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: American Airlines priority services like Priority Access and Main Cabin Extra can be worth it for frequent travelers who value shorter security lines, earlier boarding, additional legroom, and other amenities that improve the airport and in-flight experience.

However, the value depends on your travel habits, goals, and budget.

What is American Airlines Priority?

American Airlines Priority is a program that offers various benefits to its passengers, aimed at enhancing their travel experience. It provides exclusive privileges and services to those who have purchased priority access tickets or have elite status with American Airlines.

Priority Access

Priority Access is one of the perks offered by American Airlines Priority. Passengers with Priority Access enjoy expedited check-in, security screening, and boarding. This means you can skip long lines, saving you valuable time at the airport.

It’s perfect for those who are always on the go and want a seamless travel experience.

Main Cabin Extra

Main Cabin Extra is another benefit that American Airlines Priority provides. It offers passengers extra legroom and enhanced seating options in the main cabin. With Main Cabin Extra, you can stretch your legs and enjoy a more comfortable journey.

This is especially beneficial for taller individuals or those who simply prefer more space during their flights.

Preferred Seats

Preferred Seats are yet another advantage of American Airlines Priority. These seats are located in prime locations within the aircraft, such as the front rows or near the exit. By selecting a preferred seat, you get to enjoy additional legroom and a quicker exit upon arrival.

It’s an excellent option for those who want to be among the first to disembark or simply desire a more spacious seating arrangement.

For more information on American Airlines Priority, you can visit their official website www.aa.com.

Benefits of American Airlines Priority Services

Shorter Security Lines

One of the main benefits of American Airlines Priority is the shorter security lines. As a Priority member, you can skip the regular security lines and enjoy expedited screening. This means less time waiting in line and more time to relax at the airport before your flight.

According to TSA, the average wait time for TSA PreCheck members is 5 minutes or less, compared to 13 minutes for regular passengers. So, if you’re a frequent traveler or simply value your time, the shorter security lines alone can make American Airlines Priority worthwhile.

Earlier Boarding

Another advantage of American Airlines Priority is the opportunity to board the plane earlier. Priority members are given priority boarding, allowing them to enter the aircraft before the general boarding process begins.

This means you can secure overhead bin space for your carry-on luggage and settle into your seat without the stress of competing for space. Additionally, early boarding can be especially advantageous if you have a tight connection or prefer to have extra time to get situated on the plane.

More Overhead Bin Space

With American Airlines Priority, you are more likely to find available overhead bin space for your carry-on bags. Since Priority members board earlier, they have a better chance of securing a spot in the overhead compartments near their seat.

This eliminates the need to gate-check your bags or worry about finding space further down the aisle. Having easy access to your belongings during the flight can make your travel experience more convenient and efficient.

Additional Legroom

When flying with American Airlines Priority, you can enjoy the luxury of extra legroom. Priority members have access to preferred seating options, which often include seats with additional legroom. This is particularly beneficial on long-haul flights or for taller passengers who crave a more comfortable journey.

The extra legroom can make a significant difference in your overall flying experience, allowing you to stretch out and relax during your flight.

Complimentary Drinks

Lastly, American Airlines Priority offers complimentary drinks during your flight. Depending on your destination and flight duration, you may be eligible for free alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, or even hot beverages like coffee or tea.

This perk can enhance your in-flight experience and make your journey more enjoyable. So, if you appreciate a complimentary beverage while cruising at 30,000 feet, American Airlines Priority can be a great choice for you.

Cost of American Airlines Priority Services

When it comes to flying, many passengers are willing to pay a little extra for added perks and convenience. American Airlines offers a range of priority services that can enhance your travel experience.

However, before deciding if American Airlines Priority is worth it for you, it’s important to consider the cost and what you’ll be getting in return.

Individual Upgrades

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your flying experience without breaking the bank, American Airlines offers individual upgrades that can be purchased separately. These upgrades include priority boarding, which allows you to be among the first to board the plane and settle into your seat.

This can be particularly beneficial if you have carry-on luggage and want to ensure you have space in the overhead bins.

In addition to priority boarding, American Airlines also offers priority screening. This means that you’ll have access to expedited security lanes, allowing you to breeze through the screening process and save time at the airport.

For frequent travelers or those who value efficiency, this can be a great perk.

Did you know? According to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, the average wait time at airport security checkpoints is around 15 minutes. With priority screening, you can cut down on this time and spend more time enjoying your trip!

Status-Based Upgrades

If you’re a frequent flyer with American Airlines, you may have already achieved elite status. American Airlines offers different levels of elite status, including Gold, Platinum, Platinum Pro, and Executive Platinum.

Depending on your elite status level, you may be eligible for complimentary upgrades to priority services.

For example, Executive Platinum members receive complimentary access to priority boarding, priority screening, and even priority baggage handling. These added benefits can make your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable, without any additional cost.

Pro tip: If you’re a frequent flyer with American Airlines, it’s worth considering the benefits of achieving elite status. Not only will you gain access to priority services, but you’ll also enjoy other perks such as complimentary upgrades, bonus miles, and access to airport lounges.

Before making a decision about whether American Airlines Priority is worth it for you, it’s important to consider your own travel preferences and needs. If you value convenience, efficiency, and a seamless travel experience, the cost of American Airlines Priority services may be worth the investment.

For more information on American Airlines Priority services, you can visit their official website here.

Who Should Consider American Priority?

Frequent Leisure Travelers

Frequent leisure travelers who value convenience and comfort should definitely consider American Priority. With American Priority, you can enjoy a streamlined travel experience from start to finish. From priority check-in and boarding to expedited security screenings, you can save valuable time and avoid the stress of long lines at the airport.

Additionally, American Priority offers access to exclusive airport lounges where you can relax, enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages, and take advantage of free Wi-Fi.

Business Travelers

For business travelers who are constantly on the go, American Priority can be a game-changer. With priority access, you can maximize your productivity by getting through the airport quickly and efficiently. This means you can spend less time waiting and more time focusing on your work.

American Priority also provides access to dedicated priority phone lines, allowing you to receive personalized assistance and support whenever you need it. Whether you’re attending important meetings or networking events, American Priority can help ensure that you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your business obligations.

Tall Passengers

If you’re a tall passenger who often struggles with legroom on flights, American Priority can make a significant difference in your comfort level. With priority seating, you can secure seats with extra legroom, providing you with more space to stretch out during your journey.

This can be especially beneficial on long-haul flights where comfort is crucial. By choosing American Priority, you can avoid the discomfort and cramped conditions that can often accompany air travel, allowing you to arrive at your destination feeling more relaxed and less fatigued.

Downsides and Alternatives to American Priority

High Costs

While American Airlines Priority offers a range of benefits, one significant downside is the high cost associated with it. The additional fees can quickly add up, especially for frequent travelers. For budget-conscious travelers, this might not be the most cost-effective option.

It’s essential to evaluate your travel needs and preferences before deciding if the added convenience is worth the extra expense.

Limited Availability

Another consideration when it comes to American Priority is the limited availability. The perks and privileges offered under this program are subject to availability, and there might be instances where you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits due to capacity constraints.

It’s important to check if the airline offers priority services consistently on your preferred routes and destinations.

Basic Economy Fares

One thing to be cautious about when considering American Priority is that it may not be available on Basic Economy fares. Basic Economy tickets typically come with restrictions, including limited or no seat selection and carry-on restrictions.

If you frequently opt for Basic Economy fares, it’s essential to check if the benefits of American Priority are applicable to these fare types.

Strategic Booking

If the downsides of American Priority are a concern for you, there are alternatives that you can explore. One approach is strategic booking. By planning your flights and taking advantage of other airline perks such as credit card rewards, you can enhance your travel experience without paying extra fees.

Additionally, you can compare the benefits and costs of other airlines’ similar programs to make an informed decision that suits your needs.


American Airlines offers a range of priority services that provide tangible benefits for travelers who want an upgraded airport and inflight experience. While the extra amenities and perks come at a premium price, frequent flyers, business travelers, and others may find the cost worthwhile based on their specific needs and preferences.

However, there are also downsides like high fares and limited availability to weigh. By understanding the full scope of American’s priority offerings, you can determine if the additional convenience and comfort is worth the investment for your next flight.

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