Here’s the Inexpensive Flight Where American Will Let Everyone Confirm Upgrades at Booking for Free

American Airlines is retrofitting its 777-200, so that instead of offering economy, business, and first class it will only offer economy and business (it will continue to offer ‘main cabin extra’ additional legroom seating as well).

Here’s the old business class seat:

And the new business class seat:

(To date, I have flown American’s new business class on their 767, 777-300ER, and 787 but not on the 777-200s.)

There are still unreconfigured 777s. And some of them fly domestically, where they are sold as two-cabin flights, such as Miami – Dallas where there are two flights a day.

(They also fly 3-cabin 777s Miami – Los Angeles but those are sold as 3-cabin.)

I picked a random Wednesday in May and searched the website for a one-way Miami – Dallas flight. I picked one of the 777 flights. I was not logged in so I was searching as a guest. The reason for this is that I wanted to illustrate what happens without status.

See, on 3-cabin aircraft sold as 2-class for domestic flights full fare passengers and elites have been able to book themselves into the business class cabin when booking economy tickets. You’d still receive economy service (which is fine, and as an Executive Platinum I’ll receive a free drink and free buy on board snack anyway) but you’d sit in business — and if upgraded sit in first class.

But right now anyone can reserve a business class seat when booking economy.

Here’s the seatmap for that flight:

Note that the blue seats in the forward section of the aircraft (2-3-2 seating) are business class. Here’s the pricing of choosing seats:

You’ll see that the asterisked seats in the coach cabin ‘Main Cabin Extra’ (extra legroom, orange) and ‘Preferred” (somehow preferred, not extra legroom, green) would cost a non-status member to reserve. But the business class seats simply show ‘available’ and are not charged.

So if you need to fly Westbound out of Miami, doing so on an American 777 through Dallas is a great idea.

Of course, this opportunity may not last — the restriction that only elites can book these seats appears to have been lifted but that may not have been intentional. And seat assignments aren’t guaranteed, so it’s conceivable that non-status members could ultimately be booted from these seats. But for now anyone can book business class for the (often rather modest) price of coach on these flights.

(HT: Robert G.)

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. Hi Gary;

    Good tip, I was wondering where the 777s LAX-MIA have gone (I just got a change notice for September booking that eliminated one of the two 777 LAX-MIA and MIA-LAX 777s).

    My only concern is that these flights change schedules often, so I’m not so sure that I’d bank on one beyond the next couple of months. I book far in advance and have many issues with 763s and 777s disappearing from the schedule after I booked them.

  2. @beachfan – If you want domestic widebodies start flying UA next year.

    HPdbaAA has made it clear they don’t like widebodies on domestic and don’t plan to add any.

  3. If AA includes a spend requirement for status, then maybe I’ll go back to US but I’m way happier now with AA.

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