American Airlines to Launch Main Cabin Extra – Roomier Economy Product

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American Airlines announced that they will start rolling Main Cabin Extra to all of their aircrafts starting this spring. American used to feature a product called “More Room Throughout The Coach” but dismissed this as it wasn’t bringing in enough revenue to offset the lower number of seats available for sale. This time this product is only available in part of the aircraft.

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You will get 4 to 6 inches more legroom compared to regular coach. This doesn’t sound a lot, but it does make a noticeable difference, however. I don’t have a problem sitting in United’s Economy Plus and even open a laptop, but trying to do that comfortably in AA’s coach is very difficult.

United has had their Economy Plus service for years. Delta started their Economy Comfort product in the summer of 2011 and is rolling it in all of their domestic fleet including two class regional jets. Virgin America has had their Main Cabin Select that sounds a lot like AA’s Main Cabin Extra. Jet Blue has more room in all of their aircrafts, and even more in back of the plane.

Initially this Main Cabin Extra product is available free of charge for all American Airlines elite members. Gold members will lose complimentary access on December 31st, 2013. Platinum and Executive Platinum members will continue having free access past that date.

AA will up sell this product to those that are not eligible for the complimentary access. United and Delta are also doing this. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me that if they would start marketing a Main Cabin Extra annual pass once they have got all of their aircraft fitted with this roomier configuration.

It is interesting to see how long it takes AA to roll it fleet wide. American was really fast adding additional seats when they decided to ditch the More Room Throughout the Coach-product. Making this Main Cabin Extra should take even less time because they are essentially just removing couple of rows and redistributing the rest.

You can read more about this product at AA’s website AA.com/MainCabinExtra.

Q: When can I purchase these seats?

A: Main Cabin Extra will be available for purchase beginning with the 777-300ERs in spring 2012.

Q: What is the difference between standard Main Cabin seats and Main Cabin Extra seats?

A: Main Cabin Extra will offer you four to six inches more leg room than a standard Main Cabin seat.

Q: If I purchase a Main Cabin Extra seat, do I get priority boarding privileges as well?

A: Yes, Main Cabin Extra seats include priority boarding privileges. All Main Cabin Extra customers will board in Group 1. Group 1 boards at the same time as PriorityAAccessSM customers, which includes AAdvantage® elite status members, First and Business Class travelers, oneworld® elite status members, and travelers requiring assistance.

Q: Where can I purchase the new seating product?

A: You can reserve these seats using AA.com (booking, My Reservations, and check-in), at the airport (SSM), AA Reservations and through travel agencies that use AA’s Direct Connect.

Q: How will I find these seats when I am booking my flight on AA.com?

A: Just like Preferred Seats works today, when you book an economy class (Y) ticket, you will be given the option to select a seat from the Main Cabin Extra inventory.

Q: How does Main Cabin Extra differ from the Preferred Seats program?

A: Main Cabin Extra seats include additional leg room and priority boarding privileges.

Q: How will this program impact my upgrades from Main Cabin to Business Class cabins?

A: We will retain our current Main Cabin to Business Class upgrade policies. Main Cabin Extra will be considered part of the Main Cabin, not a separate cabin.

Q: Can I purchase the new seat product if I am traveling on an AAdvantage MileSAAver Award ticket or Business Extra PlanAAhead ticket?

A: Elite status members may select Main Cabin Extra seats when traveling on MileSAAver or PlanAAhead Award tickets. However, Main Cabin Extra is not available for purchase by non-elite customers traveling on MileSAAver or PlanAAhead Award tickets.

Q: Can I purchase a Preferred Seat if I am traveling on an AAdvantage AAnytime Award ticket or a Business ExtrAA Anytime Award?

A: Yes. Main Cabin Extra is complimentary to passengers traveling on an AAnytime Award tickets.

Q: Who is eligible for complimentary Main Cabin Extra seats?

A: All customers have access to Main Cabin Extra. Premium customers (AAdvantage Executive Platinum®, AAdvantage Platinum®, and full-fare Economy Class customers) have complimentary access. As an added benefit, up to eight of their companions traveling in the same reservation will have the same complimentary access.

To celebrate the launch of Main Cabin Extra, AAdvantage® Gold members and eight of their companions traveling in the same reservation will also receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra at time of booking for seats reserved through Dec. 31, 2013.

Customers with complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra can select a seat at the time of booking through check-in. As we do today, American will continue to reserve a portion of Main Cabin Extra seats and other desirable seats – namely, Preferred Seats – in the Main Cabin exclusively for all AAdvantage elite customers.

For customers who wish to purchase Main Cabin Extra, prices will range between $8 and $108 per segment, depending on the length of the flight. Seats are available for purchase at booking, check-in or anytime in between.

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