American Airlines to launch Main Cabin Extra seat

2 Mar 2012 by BusinessTraveller

American Airlines is to join US carriers including Delta and United in installing a quasi-premium economy seat, offering extra legroom but located in the main economy cabin.

Main Cabin Extra seats will offer between four and six inches extra legroom, and passengers will benefit from priority boarding, with the seats being located in the front portion of the economy cabin.

Upgrades to the seat will be available for between US$8 and US$108 depending on the length of flight, and Platinum members of the carrier’s AAdvantage loyalty programme will be upgraded free of charge when they purchase a full-fare economy class ticket (subject to availability).

In addition AAdvantage Gold members will get free upgrades to the seat until December 31, 2013, and AA “will continue to reserve a significant portion of Main Cabin Extra seats and other seats in the Main Cabin exclusively for elite customers who can select these seating options at the time of booking up until check-in”.

The seat will be rolled out on B777-300ER aircraft from this spring, and AA says it intends to complete installation of Main Cabin Extra “on the vast majority of its fleet within 18 months”. New B737-800 aircraft will come fitted with the seat, as will “anticipated future aircraft” including the Boeing Dreamliner.

The carrier says it will continue to offer its Preferred Seat option, giving elite FFP members free access to “desirable Main Cabin seats”.

Rival US airline Delta launched an Economy Comfort seat last year, featuring extra legroom and recline similar to the offering by transatlantic joint venture partner KLM (see online news February 7, 2011).

Last year the merged United / Continental entity made the decision to install United’s Economy Plus offering  across the Continental fleet (see online news February 18, 2011), and recently completed the installation of the seat across Continental’s B757 aircraft (see online news January 31).

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Report by Mark Caswell

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