Once airlines unbundled most of the perks that used to come up with the flying like free checked bags, they have started to introduce various packages and options to reintroduce them as add-ons. You can read more about these options on AA’s website here.
Now, American Airlines have introduced three different packages for economy fliers with various add-ons.
American’s round-trip travel options now include:
Choice: The lowest fare available in the Main Cabin that gives customers the flexibility to purchase additional products a la carte.
Choice Essential: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld® elite members) and Group 1 Boarding for an additional $68 round-trip.
Choice Plus: No change fee, one checked bag (or third checked bag for AAdvantage elite and oneworld elite customers), Group 1 Boarding, 50 percent AAdvantage mileage bonus, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and a premium beverage, such as an alcoholic beverage onboard for an additional $88 round-trip.
Fully Flexible: Refundable fare, two checked bags, Main Cabin Extra/Preferred Seats, PriorityAAccess, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and 500-Mile Upgrade eligibility (upgrades available after AAdvantage elite status members have been confirmed).
Business/First: The lowest Business Class or First Class fare, including Instant Upgrade fares, is visible on the Lowest Fare tab. Customers booking Business and First Class fares will receive all the benefits they have come to appreciate, including priority baggage handling, up to three checked bags and PriorityAAccess.
The new booking interface has been done an infrequent flyers point of view. As I have written before, I much prefer booking my air tickets on non-airline sites for greater price visibility and ability to compare air carriers. Of course, airlines don’t like this. Airlines would prefer that you book on their website so that they can “merchandise” their product using the word that American Airlines spoke person used.
Here’s a price display for Ontario (ONT) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) for random date in January
The price difference between Choice and Choice Essential is $34. If you are going to check a bag and would need to pay $25 for doing so, the price that you are paying for waiving the change fee is $9.
If you are planning to pay for the Choice Essential, it would make more sense to go for the Choice Plus on this route. The price difference between the Essential and Choice Plus is only $10. The extra award miles alone (about 1160 miles) are worth more than the difference in fare.
These choice Essential and Choice Plus can make sense to those that need to check in a bag and would need otherwise pay for it, and to those that need more flexibility. The change fee that is typically $150 in addition to the fare difference is waived. Note that you still need to pay the fare difference, however.
Then there must be quite a few business travelers that will buy the new Choice Plus just to get the extra award miles….