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ARCHIVE: AA announces Premium Economy / PE / PEY coming for domestic (May 2016)

ARCHIVE: AA announces Premium Economy / PE / PEY coming for domestic (May 2016)

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Old May 17, 16, 10:47 am
  #1  
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ARCHIVE: AA announces Premium Economy / PE / PEY coming for domestic (May 2016)

Apologies if I've just missed this somewhere but something that Scott Kirby said, today, during a Q&A session at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Transportation Conference got my attention.

When asked about the timeline for implementing Basic Economy and Premium Economy fares this is what he said:

"Basic Economy will come some time at the end of this year. We don’t have an exact date yet." - that's not news

"Premium Economy, domestically, will come some time in 2017 but we still don’t have exact dates." - that's definitely news to me.

In a separate part of his talk/Q&A he confirmed that International PE is still coming towards the end of 2016.

If anyone else is interested about what else he said the webcast can be found on this American Airlines page and I've added a few points that I found interesting to the blog here.

Last edited by Mileometer; May 17, 16 at 11:06 am Reason: Typo
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Old May 17, 16, 10:51 am
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Interesting comment, but surely got to be on domestic widebodies only? On a narrowbody the hard product would not be very different to domestic first, unless they went for 2x3 instead of 2x2
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Old May 17, 16, 11:05 am
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(speculation on my part completely): Could they be reclassifying the domestic MCE seats to PE and adding a couple of additional services, like DL's free booze in Comfort+? DL books Comfort+ into the same fare bucket as PE (W) though it earns MQMs at regular economy rates, not the PE earn rates for W booked via AF, etc.
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Old May 17, 16, 11:11 am
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Sounds like they plan to make MCE it's own fare class rather than as an auxiliary up sell as part of the booking process. Will help offer a consistent level of service with the international PE product and help AA increase MCE revenue.
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Old May 17, 16, 11:27 am
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Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
(speculation on my part completely): Could they be reclassifying the domestic MCE seats to PE and adding a couple of additional services, like DL's free booze in Comfort+? DL books Comfort+ into the same fare bucket as PE (W) though it earns MQMs at regular economy rates, not the PE earn rates for W booked via AF, etc.
Originally Posted by golfingboy View Post
Sounds like they plan to make MCE it's own fare class rather than as an auxiliary up sell as part of the booking process. Will help offer a consistent level of service with the international PE product and help AA increase MCE revenue.
If that's the case it could have significant - and not positive - implications for upgrades to domestic F.
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Old May 17, 16, 11:52 am
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Now the fear officially starts... Whether elites are required to request an upgrade to the PE cabin when it turns out all we get would be a middle seat with no rolling back to Exit rows, like the mess DL is starting with.
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Old May 17, 16, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by bse118 View Post
If that's the case it could have significant - and not positive - implications for upgrades to domestic F.
Potentially, though Delta hasn't gone that way yet. Effective yesterday (May 16th) Comfort+ (Delta's version of MCE) became its own separate fare class. Elites can't select Comfort+ at booking, but may be 'upgraded' to Comfort+ at anytime between booking (sometimes immediately) up until booking. This doesn't take away the eligibility to be upgrade to first class however.

There are some logistics to be worked through on the Delta end still as it is new. For example, elites seated in exit row aisle seats (exits are not considered Comfort+) can get 'upgraded' to a middle seat in Comfort+ which many would see as a downgrade.

I wouldn't fret about the future of domestic first class upgrades yet though.
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Old May 17, 16, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
I wouldn't fret about the future of domestic first class upgrades yet though.
Perhaps no concern for domestic upgrades yet, but the decision to implement domestic Premium Economy paves the way for AA to adopt DL's award pricing--- having award tier levels for Economy, Premium Economy/Economy Comfort, and First/Premium seating.

Since DL implemented the 3 tier award structure, one way domestic First/Premium awards have spiked, on average by 7,500-10,000 miles with the introduction of Economy Comfort awards.
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Old May 17, 16, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by golfingboy View Post
Sounds like they plan to make MCE it's own fare class rather than as an auxiliary up sell as part of the booking process. Will help offer a consistent level of service with the international PE product and help AA increase MCE revenue.
What happens to the people who just want more legroom and don't really care about everything else?

Originally Posted by ty97 View Post
Potentially, though Delta hasn't gone that way yet. Effective yesterday (May 16th) Comfort+ (Delta's version of MCE) became its own separate fare class. Elites can't select Comfort+ at booking, but may be 'upgraded' to Comfort+ at anytime between booking (sometimes immediately) up until booking. This doesn't take away the eligibility to be upgrade to first class however.
Are Delta's elite upgrades to Comfort+ complimentary or do they require any instruments?

If AA (when?) copies DL and designates MCE as effectively a separate cabin, would the seat counts be adjusted to prevent having to give away free product? The LAA 757 in particular is very MCE-heavy as compared to the rest of the fleet and I doubt AA up sells all of those seats.

I do have to say that I'm thankful for DL because they're effectively a looking glass into the future now that AA and UA seem to be content to just copy them rather than innovate.
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Old May 17, 16, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Mileometer View Post
Apologies if I've just missed this somewhere but something that Scott Kirby said, today, during a Q&A session at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2016 Transportation Conference got my attention.

When asked about the timeline for implementing Basic Economy and Premium Economy fares this is what he said:

"Basic Economy will come some time at the end of this year. We donít have an exact date yet." - that's not news

"Premium Economy, domestically, will come some time in 2017 but we still donít have exact dates." - that's definitely news to me.

In a separate part of his talk/Q&A he confirmed that International PE is still coming towards the end of 2016.

If anyone else is interested about what else he said the webcast can be found on this American Airlines page and I've added a few points that I found interesting to the blog here.
I heard of this a few months ago -- during the whole PEY discussion and code alignment work. But then the discussion died down. Looks like it may be a go.
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Old May 17, 16, 2:25 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango View Post
What happens to the people who just want more legroom and don't really care about everything else?

I do have to say that I'm thankful for DL because they're effectively a looking glass into the future now that AA and UA seem to be content to just copy them rather than innovate.
Really ?!? Every move that Delta has made in the last couple of year has been very anti FF. What you have happening is a very rapid devaluation of FF benefits at Delta. And it appears that AA is following suit.

Go over to the Delta forum and see how much everyone is enjoying the "innovations".
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Old May 17, 16, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by pbuntrock View Post
Really ?!? Every move that Delta has made in the last couple of year has been very anti FF. What you have happening is a very rapid devaluation of FF benefits at Delta. And it appears that AA is following suit.

Go over to the Delta forum and see how much everyone is enjoying the "innovations".
Don't think he said anything about liking the changes, but just that it's helpful to see what might be coming down the pike.
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Old May 17, 16, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by pbuntrock View Post
Really ?!? Every move that Delta has made in the last couple of year has been very anti FF. What you have happening is a very rapid devaluation of FF benefits at Delta. And it appears that AA is following suit.

Go over to the Delta forum and see how much everyone is enjoying the "innovations".
I agree with you. Note that I didn't pass judgement on Delta's changes, but simply stated that I appreciate the heads-up so I have an idea of what to expect to lose next.
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Old May 17, 16, 2:40 pm
  #14  
 
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FWIW, AC discontinued domestic and transborder Premium Economy. It was very limited mostly on YYZ-YVR/LAX/YYC, but still.
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Old May 17, 16, 3:11 pm
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango View Post
What happens to the people who just want more legroom and don't really care about everything else?
They would need to book a Comfort+ (W) fare. I don't find these fares to be much different from the price to buy Comfort+ as a separate 'extra legroom' seat pre-change on Delta. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, though I have lost the ability to pick and choose legs to upgrade

I am looking at an 1100 mile (each way) round-trip flight now that is $232 for economy or $275 for Comfort+ seating (I have no DL status)


Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango View Post
Are Delta's elite upgrades to Comfort+ complimentary or do they require any instruments?
Delta's Comfort+ and F upgrades use the 'unlimited domestic upgrade' model. Of course, just like at AA, this is based on availability and Delta is known for being very good at monetizing their F cabin, making upgrades hard to come by for many middle and low tier elites (and sometimes even the higher tiers).
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