Blocked Seats on American Airlines
If you’ve ever booked an American Airlines flight, you’ve probably noticed two or three of right hand side bulkhead seats unavailable, or blocked.
Try looking at a flight way distant in the future. For example, I chose a 5:45a flight out of DCA for almost a year from now – a flight that wouldn’t ordinarily be booked this far in advance.
Seats 8D, 8E and 8F are blocked – on some aircraft, this will be row 7, but the premise stays the same. For a flight so far off in the future, it’s near impossible that someone would grab these three spots, especially the middle seat. Test it out for yourself.
So, what’s the story behind these seats?
They’re blocked for airport control. American traditionally blocks these seats to give to an AAdvantage elite – generally meant for Executive Platinums – who switch to this flight from another flight, whether due to same day changes or disruptions. In order to avoid placing these members in a far back middle seat near the lavatory, American blocked several of the up front seats for these folks, which can only be released under airport control.
How You Can Get These Seats
Now, because it’s up to airport control, it will depend on the agent you find who is willing to release them to you. On a full flight, these seats may automatically be assigned to a standby passenger, but if you get to the airport early enough, and the flight loads are not full, you may be able to have the agent move you to one of these blocked seats. Keep in mind, it’s not a guarantee, especially if you’re not an elite member, but you can always ask and see what happens.
There’s also another way – you can set an alert using ExpertFlyer, a subscription service that allows you to search for flight availability, seats, and – in this case – set alerts for open seats. It’s seriously the best $99 I pay a year, and even if you take just a few flights, it’s SO worth it, simply for the fact, that you can set a seat alert to email or text you if your preferred seat opens up, including these blocked seats.
This won’t work on every plane. On small regional jets, even though there are blocked seats, they may remain blocked for weight and balance purposes.
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