New: American Airlines App Boarding Push Notifications

Filed Under: American

Update: This functionality has now been fully implemented.

Historically American’s mobile app has lagged the Delta and United apps in a countless number of ways. While that’s still the case, American has just made a significant improvement to their app which I’m excited about.

As noted by @TheForwardCabin, American’s app now sends push notifications when your flight actually starts boarding (the push notification also states when boarding ends, but that’s less useful here). This is something that both the Delta and United apps have done for a long time, and it’s something that I find to be incredibly valuable.

The push notification is tied to when the first boarding pass is scanned, so if there’s a delay in boarding this shouldn’t go off, which is great news.

As of now this is just being tested, though it’s my understanding that this should be expanded shortly.

Last October I wrote a post that perfectly highlights why this is such a great improvement. For example, if you have a rolling delay (either due to maintenance, crew, or weather), it can be risky to wait in American’s Admirals Clubs or Flagship Lounges.

They don’t always announce delays in the lounges, and as I wrote about at the time, American has a nasty habit of only delaying flights in very short increments, meaning you’re constantly on edge if not at the gate.

With this change you’ll immediately know if the flight starts boarding, which should at a minimum ensure that you don’t miss your flight.

This is also useful in those instances where a gate agent decides to start the boarding process early, so that you can know it makes sense to head to the gate.

American obviously has a lot more areas in which they need to improve, but this has been a pain point for me for quite a while, and I’m happy to see that they’ve implemented this.

Are you as excited about American’s new boarding push notifications as I am?

  1. The Pointer Sisters are so excited and they just can’t hide it.

    I on the other hand — YAWN

    Sorry couldn’t resist

  2. Been waiting for this. American is always in catch up mode, rarely innovative. Sitting in Tampa now let’s see if it happens for my flight.

  3. Had a BAD Experience @ DFW when AA switched gates on a continuation flight…I was unpleasantly SURPRISED when I arrived BACK to an Empty Gate..Won’t make me any Happier…just make me Less Angry…

  4. Delta’s app actually didn’t do this for me in ATL a few days ago and I missed my flight due to this. So albeit they have it implemented, it’s not updated when its important. I would call it lackluster.

  5. I just don’t understand how it can take some of these airlines SO LONG to implement features their competitors have laid out for them for months or years. For example, United had the “where is my aircraft coming from” feature for a couple years now and it was something AA took forever to add.
    These things aren’t rocket science.

    While not the final decision maker when I choose to fly or not fly American, it is one of many reasons why United is my preferred carrier in Chicago and not American.

  6. I never trust the AAgents in the lounge since they seem to regularly screw up the gate or boarding time. This is a good improvement.

  7. I noticed today that the AA app asked me if I would be willing to take a later flight because the DFW-ORD flight was oversold. It then gave me four options to choose a value of an AA voucher ($100-$325). I checked yes and the highest value but wasn’t asked to move to a later flight.
    Thought it was kinda cool.

  8. Robert Crim – Looks like it requires the latest version of the app on your phone. Might check to see if using latest app.

  9. United’s notifications are not consistently generated. And when they are generated, I get them late (already on the plane when I got the boarding started message)

  10. I wish I had this on Thursday night when I missed my connecting flight in Philadelphia to New York’s LaGuardia when my inbound flight got significantly delayed.

    They said they would hold the plane and keep it open but when I got to the gate, I found out they just closed the gate. Like, literally one minute before I came. Apparently no one called them. And that was the last flight of the day. Instead I was forced to drive since I had business commitments the next day. Totally not fun for an extremely tired business traveler who had 2 long haul flights the day after! I wish I could call AA quits, but my employer has a contract with them 🙁

  11. As someone who missed a flight on American because of early boarding. Im glad to see this.

  12. “UA long time” = about 6 months in reality. Behind DL of course but one actual change for the better.

  13. Since I am “stuck” with American ( due to the Miami route), this is a very welcome feature. I only hope it will work constantly and consistently. With all the downgrading of aadvantage benefits, something has to improve.

  14. @Bill Was there an option for a cash payment rather than a voucher? Sometimes a voucher won’t do.

  15. You should update the article to inform readers that this is only in beta test right now. It’s not rolled out for everyone just yet.

  16. Southwest now appears to have this too. I just flew on Thursday and it triggers a push notification when the gate agent “opens” or begins the actual boarding process

  17. What happens when they forget to send the notice and you miss your flight? I’ve been EXP now going on six year running with AA and I’m ready to jump ship. Will there ever be a time AA is not playing catchup?

  18. None of these alerts are trustworthy from the reviews I’ve seen, so what’s the point in even having them. SMS messages have low priority on networks. I’d trust Flight Aware on the incoming aircraft more than a text message from the airline.

  19. I just had a delayed American flight Thursday night so I’m interested to see when this kicks I’m. I’m happy to hear this because I’ve had many flights I’d rather had been sitting in the lounge than at the gate.

  20. Wow, on top of the announcement that 1980’s legroom will be restored, and our luggage stored at no cost in the [wait for it] luggage hold — great news! Oh wait, that didn’t happen.

    But we did get the world’s smallest bathroom, one tiny bag of potato chips if we do not spend $9 on a joke of a meal on a cheap plastic tray, and no seat reclining because it would be into the nose of the person behind us.

  21. I’m a little confused, my AA app has been giving me push notifications when boarding has started for the past year, when the agents have opened up the boarding. Oddly today it did not give me a notification.

  22. Flew ORD- LGA this morning and didn’t get a notification. Sent AA a note about it and week report back.

  23. This will certainly be a welcome improvement if it functions as intended. I’m so used to American’s delay on announcing delays that I didn’t even realize other airlines handled it better; that’s pretty sad. A few months ago my wife and I left the Admiral’s Club and showed up at the gate about 5 mins before departure from MIA. Passengers were already queuing up to board. I looked out the window and … no plane at the end of the jet bridge. Really? This flight is going to board in 5 mins w/o a plane? 10 mins after boarding was supposed to start the board was still showing an on-time departure, but still no plane. We considered heading back to the AC, but thankfully stuck around because 20 minutes later they switched the gate to an entirely different terminal. Go figure.

    Two weeks ago my plane had an unspecified maintenance issue in ORD. The gate agent said they wouldn’t tell him what the issue was. Same issue with announcing delays only after boarding time has passed. The GA eventually came on and said maintenance gave him a decision time of 10pm (1.5 hours away) and made a point to specifically say “if you want to go to hang out in the Admiral’s Club I will make sure to call there and have them announce when we’re going to start boarding, or when a decision has been made.” So there’s no system for it at all, but at least a great GA can make a difference. The agent at the AC told me a lot of the time the extended delays around this time are simply because of shift change; one maintenance crew starts working on the job, their shift ends so they say “see ya later” and essentially walk off, quickly briefing the arriving crew who have to analyze the issue for themselves and then finish the job. I know unions, OT, etc all factor in, but it’s super frustrating that passengers are delayed an extra 30-45 minutes because some techs can’t get 15 mins of overtime.

  24. Great idea so long as it works correctly. I unfortunately missed a flight only five days ago due to this. AA messaged me to say my flight had been delayed (whilst I was in the airport) so I went to the gate at the new departure time….only to find my flight had already left! I’ll be interested to find out what American’s view is on this as I incurred considerable cost as a result

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