American Will Start Offering Free Booze in Extra Legroom Seats – That’s Bad for Elite Flyers

At American Airlines Investor and Media Day we learned that the airline had plans to roll out additional benefits for Main Cabin Extra seats that have more legroom than regular coach. The plan was to:

  1. copy Delta by offering beer, wine, and spirits to passengers in these seats starting ‘in the spring’

  2. also put a sign in overhead bins indicating they’re for Main Cabin Extra passengers only starting February 1 with a roll out lasting a few months. Other premium cabins will get similar signage.

    Credit: American Airlines

Here’s the sign Delta puts in their domestic first class overhead bins that say they’re for first class passengers only. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps discourage passengers from taking the forward bins while seated farther back.

Unlike Delta there won’t be a complimentary snack for Main Cabin Extra passengers besides the same pretzels or cookies given to economy passengers.

American’s Executive Platinum and ConciergeKey members of course already receive both a free drink and a free snack when seated in economy and this doesn’t change.

Meanwhile don’t expect too much out of the overhead bin signs. The Forward Cabin shares the flight attendant memo about the change which emphasizes “Flight attendants are not responsible for monitoring MCE overhead bins.” Heaven knows that American wouldn’t want to upset the front line by asking them to offer additional service. They have a hard enough time getting flight attendants in first class to offer predeparture beverages or greet customers by name.

And there may be a dark side for frequent flyers in what should otherwise be a product improvement.

An American spokesperson tells me, “When it launches in the spring there will be no impact on the frequent flyer program. We will of course give an advance notice of any changes or impacts this will have on our elites.”

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. I have been reading your posts for over a year (ever since we set up our April 29 2018 Celebrity Hawaii trip) I want to say you have made us very apprehensive about our AA First Class travel plans.

  2. This is a bunch of bullshit. They just want an excuse to charge people more money while they provide a shitty flight experience.

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