Last November I wrote about how American seemed to no longer be making last minute first class award seats available on their A321 flights between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco. This was true even when cabins were almost completely empty just hours before the flight. That’s quite unfortunate, given that American offers a fantastic hard product in the market, with reverse herringbone seats.
The trend seemed a bit backwards to me, given that American still had some award availability in advance. You’d think airlines would be most likely to make first class award seats available close to departure, since those seats would otherwise go unsold, and may even go out empty.
Of course airlines don’t want to make that space available too predictably, or else it could be cutting into their yields, given that customers may end up not paying for seats if they know they can redeem miles for them last minute (though I’m guessing that represents a very small percentage of customers).
I’ve noted lately how American seems to be making a genuine effort to increasing premium cabin upgrade & award space, which is much appreciated. We’ve seen some instances where there were huge amounts of first & business class award space, but beyond that they seem to be making an all around fair amount of space available.
The good news is that American’s positive award availability trend finally seems to be extending to their flights between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco.
American seems to be making A321 first class award space available within 2-3 days of departure again. And I don’t mean on just one flight, but rather across a wide range of flights.
For example, earlier today I pulled availability for the coming days, and you’ll see that there’s some space in the next few days on both routes in both directions:
Personally I value last minute award availability on this route a lot, given that last minute transcon economy tickets can be extremely expensive. Being able to snag a first class seat last minute is awesome.
Too bad the cost of this award is increasing from 32,500 miles to 50,000 miles one-way for bookings as of March 22, 2016.
This is a nice development, and one I personally value immensely. Being able to redeem miles for last minute first class between New York and LA/SF is valuable, especially while the cost is still “only” 32,500 miles one-way. Here’s to hoping this general trend of releasing more space close to departure continues.