Premium Economy Cabin Arrives at American Airlines

American Airlines recently announced the introduction of their version of the premium economy cabin called Main Cabin Extra, which is the latest in a wave of premium economy cabins sweeping throughout commercial aviation.

Ironically, while American Airlines is not the first airline to install a premium economy section on its aircraft, it did have a revolutionary economy class cabin product called More Room Throughout Coach, which was introduced in 2000 — the year after United Airlines first introduced its premium economy product called Economy Plus.

More Room Throughout Coach gradually faded away in 2003 to increase revenue by installing more seats as all seats had more room than typical economy class seats for no extra charge, unlike seats in a premium economy cabin which could be sold for an additional charge.

Main Cabin Extra will be installed later this year and will be updated over time on all existing American Airlines aircraft. New Boeing 737-800 aircraft delivered to American Airlines will already come equipped with Main Cabin Extra seating beginning this autumn, with future aircraft to offer Main Cabin Extra as well.

  • Main Cabin Extra seats will be located in the front portion of the economy cabin for easier boarding and deplaning
  • American AAdvantage Executive Platinum members, AAdvantage Platinum members and passengers who have purchased a full-fare economy class ticket will receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra, along with up to eight of their companions traveling on the same reservation
  • American AAdvantage Gold members — along with up to eight of their companions traveling on the same reservation — will receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra at time of booking through December 31, 2013
  • Prices will range between $8.00 and $108.00 per segment for all other passengers, depending on the length of the flight
  • Passengers traveling on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft may purchase Main Cabin Extra starting in the spring of 2012

Passengers with complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra may select a seat at the time of booking through check-in. As they do today, American Airlines will continue to reserve a portion of Main Cabin Extra seats and other desirable seats — namely, Preferred Seats — in the Main Cabin exclusively for all American AAdvantage elite customers.

Main Cabin Extra is not an upgradeable product. Upgrades will continue to operate as normal into first class or business class from all of the economy cabin.

Premium economy cabins are good for those who do not necessarily need a premium class experience but want something better than a typical economy class seat.

What do you think? How do you feel about premium economy class cabins? What have been your experiences?

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