Yesterday, American announced new benefits to their Main Cabin Extra seating, including free alcohol and dedicated overhead bin space.
Here’s what you didn’t know, and what wasn’t openly announced, however.
You can move to one of these extra legroom seats for FREE after takeoff. Yes, seriously.
Now, let me start by saying that these seats are normally either free at time of booking for Platinum Elites or above, or are available for a charge to non elite customers, usually in the $20-150 range, depending on the length of the flight.
In yesterday’s notice to front line employees, there’s an interesting question posed and answered.
Because Main Cabin Extra is technically within the economy Cabin, one is free to book a non Main Cabin Extra Seat and move into an available one once the plane has taken off and the seat belt sign has been turned off.
That’s a problem. Sort of.
- Some customers paid for these seats and this allows non paying customers to simply enjoy the benefits for free.
- It creates a potential “rush” for these open seats after takeoff, forcing flight attendants to have to police the matter, which isn’t within their normal duties.
- Overall it devalues a product which can be charged at one point, but then left up for grabs and free at another, for none elite customers.
I’ve confirmed with several front line American employees that the “move after take off” policy is in fact true, which is odd, to say the least, but great for customers… but I doubt many of you would know it. In any event, for those of you without Main Cabin Extra seating abilities with status or otherwise, now you may be able to enjoy these seats for free, should there be available seats!
Update: American Airlines reaches out to provide an official statement on this:
Flight attendants have flexibility when it comes to solving seating issues within the Main Cabin. Main Cabin Extra generally has relatively few empty seats after our team completes the boarding process, so we don’t expect any issues. We’re making Main Cabin Extra experience better with a free drink and easier access to overhead bins – we know customers are going to love it.
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