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AA No Longer Offers Free Premium Seats for Full Fare Tickets

Up until now, Main Cabin Extra seats have been provided to American elites, full fare ticket holders, and AAnytime award ticket holders at no charge, but, effective August 30th, 2017, passengers flying American Airlines on full fare paid economy tickets will no longer be able to select premium seats – both Main Cabin Extra and preferred seats – for free.

“For travel ticketed in booking code Y on or after August 30, 2017, you’ll no longer get complimentary Main Cabin Extra or Preferred seats. This includes AAnytime awards booked in Main Cabin.”

To give you a better idea of what this means, on an American Airlines Boeing 737, almost all of the seats in front of the exit row are considered Main Cabin Extra or preferred, and aisle and window seats behind the exit row for a few rows are also all preferred. This means that even if you are shelling out the big bucks for a full fare economy ticket, you’ll either be sitting at the back of the aircraft, in a middle seat, or will have to pay even more in order to sit elsewhere.

Elites will still have access to these preferred and Main Cabin Extra seats at no additional cost within a certain window of departure depending on elite status level.

This is another move by American Airlines to make their program just a little less than it already is. I know that if I ever have to pay for a full fare ticket, I will do my best to give my business to another airline instead.

Comments are Closed.
Erik Jacobsen August 25, 2017

Really not seeing the issue here. I mean, it seems to me that the four big objections to this are: 1. @pmcgavic (paraphrased) "OMG, I'm an elite and I'm pissed because I won't upgrade." False. There is no change in the policy for elites to get free MCE seats. If you are Plat/PlatPro/EPlat you still get complimentary MCE--assuming the flight has it. If you are Gold, you get to purchase the seat at a 50% discount. Same as before. Access to these seats is not an "upgrade"... yet. Just another fee that is waved for all except the bottom tier elite level. 2. @SpartyAir (paraphrasing) "OMG, Delta and United will copy this!" False. United and Delta already charge their lower-level elites and their non-elite full fare economy pax for preferred/plus seating. If anything, this is just AA mimicking the other carriers--disappointing but expected in the US3 race to the bottom. 3. @Costa Rica Susan (paraphrasing) "How dare they, I'm switching carriers". If you want to switch carriers because you are unhappy with AA in general, go for it... although, in the domestic market... the only carrier that seems not be seeing how awful they can get is B6. Well, do what you need to. But, if you're switching because of this... Good luck, buttercup. All the other majors have the same (or worse) preferred seating policies. So, it makes no sense to leave because of this. 4. @slomike and others (paraphrasing) "Hey, this rocks for Elites and sucks for the Gov't employees". Yes. You hit the nail on the head here... As an Elite, you're more likely to find available preferred seating--an improvement to the AAdvantage program after the gradual eroding of benefits. Plus, I would assume that the majority of the folks buying Y fares are either Gov't... who, because of the discounting, are paying super low prices... or are casual travelers with money to burn. (People just wanting a flexible fare are, frankly, usually better off buying the cheapest non-refundable and then eating the change fee or booking a new ticket. 'S cheaper that way.) For the Gov't employees. Yeah, it sucks but given how discounted those fares are, it really doesn't make financial sense to give away profitable upgrades. For the casual/wealthy travelers... I doubt a $20 seat fee will deter you, especially as the other US3 will charge you the same. I'm not thrilled with some of the AAdvantage changes, recently... but this seems to be, on balance, a positive. And from little Dougie. Whoda thunk it?

TWAflyer August 25, 2017

Just another reason why I drive anywhere that I possibly can and think three times before flying on any of the Big Three.

Prem S. August 25, 2017

It must be at least 10 yrs since UA stopped doing this, so looks like AA is actually late to the game.

northernlights1 August 24, 2017

What else is new in American Corporations? everybody is trying to nickel and dime everyone out of their money. It used to be that American companies had an invisible line in the sand that they wouldn't cross, respecting their customer and not just a naked grab for cash. Sad were we are today...

MarkOK August 24, 2017

To expand on the 'feel good' nature here - I will say that I think it extends to a few other fake 'perks' that the airlines have like special lanes for boarding (like the carpet you walk on matters) and priority boarding (because getting seated on an plane is just sooo comfortable that you want to be first). Now the VIP (or flagship, or whatever) checkin AND VIP security lanes can be nice at the few airports that have them (but, to be frank, perhaps is overvalued too, considering curb-side check in is real fast, and more than once, a 5$ tip to that curbside agent has gotten me directed straight to their VIP TSA line). At any rate, the seat upgrades with status I am sure are quite nice, I just wouldn't consider being a few rows up any real benefit anyways!! By any means, if you want them, have them!