Boarding your plane is for some of us the worst part of air travel: all that dead time sitting at a gate. Get up too early and you're just standing around. Get up too late and you risk not find space in the overheads for your carry-on. It's the biggest reason to root for travel by teleportation even if teleportation sort of means that you die each time. Or a Hyperloop. Anything.
Luckily, airlines are on our side with this one: No matter how many times flight attendants ask passengers to board front-to-back, we don't. No matter how many times fliers are asked to tuck in while stowing their bags overhead — a personal grievance of ours — they won't. So — what to do? American and Delta have ideas. It's something.
For example, if you're an AA cardholder, you probably just got an email from the airline announcing your new boarding group: 5. They, along with those in Main Cabin extra seats and biz passengers whose companies have a deal with American, get to board via the priority line. The rest of economy will board after them. And after them will come the Basic Economy pax. Basic Economy people, feel free to get that back-up bag of Cheez-Its from Hudson News: You're going to be sitting at the gate for ages.
Meanwhile, over at Delta, passengers will now line up behind four pillars: 1, 2, 3, and SkyPriority — a system familiar to fans of Southwest. We could have sworn we saw this in action in Vegas though it's confirmed only for Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson at the moment, though it'll be replicated elsewhere if it makes good on its goals: “less crowding and confusion at the gate in addition to a more seamless transition when entering the plane.”
Time will tell.