In late 2015 American announced that they planned on adding a premium economy cabin to much of their longhaul fleet. While the airline has long offered an extra legroom economy section, this is the first time they’re offering an actual premium economy cabin.
The premium economy cabin has debuted on American’s new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, though will eventually also be added to their A330s, 777s, 787-8s, and A350s.
Up until now American has been operating the 787-9 on several routes, though hasn’t actually been selling premium economy. Instead they’ve been letting passengers who have access to Main Cabin Extra assign seats there.
This is because they wanted to work out the service kinks and also needed to realign fare classes to allow the sale of this new cabin. The current arrangement is fantastic, as it basically means elite members can get free upgrades to premium economy at the time of booking, and they already offer the full services.
Originally it looked like American was going to start selling premium economy tickets for travel as of April 3. That assumption was made because for travel prior to that date, passengers could select premium economy seats for the same price as Main Cabin Extra seats. However, about a month ago they pushed that back by a month, and you could assign seats in premium economy through May 3, 2017. I’m not sure what the cause of the delay was.
Which American routes have premium economy?
Well, American has now finally started selling premium economy tickets for the following flights and dates:
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Sao Paulo (GRU) – for travel after May 3, 2017
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Madrid (MAD) – for travel after May 3, 2017
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Paris (CDG) – for travel after May 3, 2017
- Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Seoul (ICN) – for travel after May 3, 2017
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Paris (CDG) – for travel between July 5, 2017 and August 5, 2017
How expensive is American’s premium economy?
Given that American has joint venture partners with premium economy cabins on both transatlantic and transpacific flights, American’s premium economy pricing shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
For example, between Dallas and Paris, here’s the nonstop pricing for economy:
Meanwhile here’s the pricing for premium economy:
Between Dallas and Seoul Incheon, here’s the pricing for economy:
And here’s their pricing for premium economy:
What services can you expect in premium economy?
Passengers in premium economy will get a leather seat featuring:
- 38 inches of pitch with foot rests
- Personal on-demand entertainment systems and larger touchscreen monitors
- Customers will receive:
- Noise reducing headphones
- Amenity kits
- Enhanced meal service with complimentary wine, beer and spirits
- One free checked bag
- Priority boarding in Group 4
- The 787-9 includes 21 Premium Economy seats
Q&As regarding American premium economy
1. Will I continue to upgrade from Main Cabin into Business Class when Premium Economy goes on sale?
Yes. For now, upgrades including systemwide and mileage award upgrades will clear from the Main Cabin or Premium Economy into Business. Upgrades from the Main Cabin to Premium Economy will not be available for the time being.
2. How can I move from the Main Cabin to Premium Economy?
Customers can contact Reservations to purchase the Premium Economy fare. Change fees will be waived.
3. At what rate will I earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) for my travel Premium Economy?
Purchased Premium Economy fare tickets for travel on American will earn EQMs at a rate of 1.5 per mile flown
4. Can I redeem AAdvantage miles for travel in Premium Economy?
For the time being, you’ll be unable to redeem AAdvantage miles for travel in Premium Economy.
Ultimately we’ve been very fortunate to be able to select premium economy seats for the price of economy seats up until now. That wasn’t going to last. Fortunately I’m still looking forward to premium economy a lot more than I was expecting to. That’s because American is continuing to allow people to upgrade from economy to business class, and Executive Platinum members even get premium economy upgrades on the day of departure, subject to availability.
What do you make of American’s premium economy pricing? Would you be willing to pay for it?