Is this rude? Skipping the boarding lane for the priority lane

Is it rude to bypass the boarding line in some circumstances? Reader S wonders….

I flew from La Guardia to Dallas last week. I got to the gate just as boarding started.When they called Group 4, which is part of priority boarding, I joined the line. Half of the people in line had boarded before I realized that we were boarding through the general boarding lane instead of priority. Sure enough, the gate agent announced for Group 5 to board before all of Group 4 had finished. Several people behind me that were in Group 4 moved over to the priority lane and were able to board. I was tempted to join them even though I knew everyone in front of me was in Group 4 but it felt like I was cutting in line. What is the right thing to do?

That’s a tough one! I can empathize with the feeling of not wanting to “cut” even though, technically, it’s going to the line you’re supposed to be in.

A similar thing happened during boarding for me a couple of months ago. As I went through the Priority Lane, I heard the person in the General Boarding lane say that they were in line first, just following everyone else. The gate agent responded, “I get it, but if you want Priority Boarding you need to go through the Priority Lane.”

Gate agents are so busy, especially in airports like La Guardia. While we wish they would enforce the “rules” of being in line sometimes they just don’t. (Although it doesn’t seem that hard to use the rope to close off the General lane until their time. Whatever.) It feels like you’re being a jerk to move around the line, but what you’re really doing is following the rules.

Readers, do you agree? Disagree? Should passengers follow the line or follow the rules?


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  1. There is little to no reason to even have a sign or priority lane with AA. They rarely use it properly and most people have no idea what the gate agent is trying to do. They should have one single line. You are already priority boarding if you are in the first groups so why confuse it with multiple lines unless you do it properly like some United gates or Southwest with exact protocol. In fact the gate agents will even announce that they are going to call everyone by group.

    It would not have been rude to use the priority lane in this case but then again it was typical AA Chaos boarding.

  2. Depends. I had a funny thing in Istanbul. It said “priority can go to the front of the line”.

    I was with my family, all priority. Some a***** came direct to agent waving he was priority and can go first.

    I guess he doesnt understand that he goes after other prio. I made it very clear to go behind me AND made sure I took my time.

  3. I think it’s perfectly ok to use the priority line, even if you arrive after your group has been called
    Many foreign airlines announce that Biz/First/… may board at their leisurely and they keep the priority line open for anybody arriving later, so they don’t have to wait – which is the whole idea of boarding priority! I even had staff escort me to the front – well, I would never expect that from AA/UA/DL..

  4. What’s the point of having priority boarding if you can’t board faster (yes, even if you’re late to the gate)? I’ve seen many priority passengers skip the long line during the boarding of Group 5 and later because they have a priority boarding group. I don’t see anything wrong with that; I’d do the same thing if I had the opportunity.

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