American AAdvantage Elites Get Extra Legroom Seats on JetBlue? It’s A Little More Complicated.

To much fanfare American AAdvantage announced that its elite members would have access to JetBlue extra legroom ‘Even More’ seats if available at check-in.

I inquired whether this benefit was available during online check-in not just for JetBlue operated and marketed flights, but whether it would also work when booking an American Airlines codeshare for travel on JetBlue. A spokesperson told me it would, “customers will need to use the JetBlue online check in path or go to an agent to request these seats.”

Except right as the announcement was being made, American Airlines reservations agents were being told the opposite. When booking an American Airlines codeshare traveling on JetBlue, AAdvantage elites cannot select extra legroom seats during online check-in and they cannot even select extra seats at airport kiosks, either.

In fact, AAdvantage elites can only request extra legroom seats in-person, with an agent, at the airport on these tickets. Here’s the meat of the March 23rd memo to American Airlines reservations agents:

This much-touted benefit isn’t quite ready for prime time, despite the hoopla surrounding it. Extra legroom seats free at the airport is something, but there may be less inventory available when you show up for your flight than there would have been checking in online 24 hours prior to your flight.

Once again booking a codeshare is rarely a good idea unless the price if low enough to make up for the hassle and inferior experience. That’s hardly limited to the American-JetBlue relationship.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. JetBlue’s website and functionality leaves a lot to be desired. For example, if you paid for an extra space seat but want to change it later you need to cancel the original seat, get a refund, choose your new seat and pay again. Besides, a real benefit would allow you to choose an extra space seat at the time of reservation. There aren’t manny seats left 24 hours in advance and I don’t get to the airport that early! So it comes as no surprise that they are unable to handle this task.

  2. A Mosaic and a Ex Platinum walk into a bar ….. we all know the joke and once again the joke is on us . So , they launch and tout a new coveted benefit without realizing that the technology hampers the implementation.

    A couple of questions –
    1.Is this first come , first served ? Or does it go on a waitlist for the gate to process ?
    2. Let’s say I am an AA elite flying B6 on DCA-BOS-LAX – when I check in with B6 at DCA , can I request Even More Space seats for both segments or is it only segment by segment ??????

    While I support this alliance coming to fruition , I won’t be utilizing it until the kinks are worked out .

  3. I traveled from SJU to BDL non stop on 3/27/22 on JetBlue. I am an American Gold member. At online check-in, I selected an Even More Space seat on an exit row and got it. A few minutes later, I got an email saying I needed to pay and the seat had been released. The next day at the check in kiosk, to my surprise, the Upgraded seat was assigned to me, for free. So at least for me, it worked!

  4. Given that JetBlue has cancelled 1/3 of its flights today, double what it cancelled yesterday while delaying 2/3 of its flights yesterday and 1/3 today, no one in their right mind is going to see any partnership between American and JetBlue given the horrendous operation that B6 runs ALL THE TIME. Even their employees are all over the internet saying they are embarrassed and can’t understand why the company can’t fix the same problems that keep popping up just as they have for years.

    Even if AA and B6 could make everything else work in their partnership, B6′ operation is certain to send any even remotely experienced passengers to fly other carriers.

  5. As a TPA based flyer, this partnership is frustrating because AA does not serve TPA-JFK anymore except via these codeshare flights. I want the points toward renewing EP and I don’t want to go through CLT but they can’t seem to work the kinks out.

  6. JetBlue should’ve tried to work out the bugs in its operation before overextending in code shares. JetBlue continues to have one of the most backward it systems and wasn’t designed for its current operation. It is non productive.

    Many types of JetBlue changes requires agent manual assistance, most of who are front line and not empowered for anything the least different. In other cases, code share passengers cannot even request regular seating without having to resort to agent assistance.

    Must be nice to work next to your kitchen sink…just doesn’t get much done.

  7. I don’t understand this article. Helpful tip? Sure, but major companies do IT releases, then rollbacks, all the time when theres code defects or performance issues. In this case two companies pursued a jointly timed release and one had a failure after the other had already sent out a press release.
    Per usual another negative, misleading, click-bait article from Gary Leff.
    Complaining is fun and easy but providing insightful thought provoking commentary takes work. Gary you should try it sometime.

  8. I call it kah kah or bogus benefit
    wouldn’t wait till check in for a seat assignment not going to happen
    Not booking jet blue unless seats can be selected in advance

  9. This whole problem is an IT issue, as the airline has admitted. Why can’t they get these things right before they go live? Did they furlough those departments also?

  10. Maxie Dean – JetBlue free EMS seats are first come first serve. Basically the current setup requires an agent to do a manual complimentary upgrade. Which means that, in theory, the check-in person can process the upgrade for all flights when a connection is involved.

  11. @ Tim Dunn

    Yep your point is moot LMAO

    Delta Air Lines said that the Florida weather also impacted its operation on Saturday. About a fifth of Delta and American’s schedules were delayed, roughly 600 flights apiece. American had also canceled 363 flights, or 12%, while Delta had canceled 238, or 8%.

  12. @Tim j
    you do know that 1/3 is 33%? which is a whole lot less than 8 or 12%?
    and AA and DL returned to fairly reliable operations on Sunday while B6 and NK’s operations were MUCH worse.
    AA and DL are much larger airlines than B6 and were able to contain the Florida storms much better. Size does matter. B6 is STILL recovering today with NK even worse.

  13. I remain intensely confused about how it can be that as an AA elite I can’t yet book the JetBlue more-legroom seats on AA’s site or even by calling *IN ADVANCE* — ie not at checkin or at airport, but at time of booking. Is this actually never going to happen? Does it happen and I don’t know the magic words or phone number?

  14. The Jet Blue airport experience at JFK is the blocker for me. The terminal is chaotic and since they serve many more leisure than business passengers, it means flying with inexperienced customers.

  15. I flew B6 Bos-Atl-Bis last week, I’m AA lifetime Gold, which typically allows me only early boarding. I booked my flight via B6 website and provided my AA number at booking, got regular seats at time of booking. 24 hours before departure, I logged in to the B6 site and got a free EML window seat, no problem. Had EML seat both ways, once I even had the middle seat empty next to me. Far better experience than if I was on an actual AA flight ( more room, free wifi, an actual screen in the seat back instead of BYOD, etc.). That’s the most benefit I’ve gotten out of being Lifetime Gold since the AA/ US merger. Happy to do it again sometime soon!

  16. Gary,
    I am at DFW today flying to JFK on B6. Both the check in staff and gate agent could not give me an extra legroom seat as an AA Gold member. I was ticketed on B6 stock flying a B6 flight and they said their computer would not allow me the extra legroom seat without a charge. Seems this published benefit is not as advertised.

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