American Updates Main Cabin Extra Policy

Just under two years ago American Airlines began rolling out Main Cabin Extra, which offers a few extra inches of leg room in the first several rows of the economy class cabin.

American has done a pretty good job with the speed at which Main Cabin Extra has been rolled out, and at this point a vast majority of their fleet features the new product.


When American announced Main Cabin Extra they said it would be complimentary for AAdvantage Executive Platinum and Platinum members, OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire members, Alaska MVP Gold members, and full fare passengers. As an introductory offer they also announced it would be complimentary for AAdvantage Gold, OneWorld Ruby, and Alaska MVP members through the end of 2013.

The end of the year is quickly approaching, so American has updated their Main Cabin Extra policy for AAdvantage Gold, OneWorld Ruby, and Alaska MVP members, as follows:

  • They will continue to receive complimentary Main Cabin Extra seating at the time of booking through February 28, 2014.
  • As of March 1, 2014, they can purchase Main Cabin Extra for 50% off, or reserve it for free within 24 hours of departure.

That seems like a pretty fair policy to me.

For what it’s worth, United also offers their Premier Silver members (AAdvantage Gold equivalents) complimentary Economy Plus seating up to 24 hours prior to departure. They don’t, however, offer them a 50% discount when purchasing it in advance.

One thing United offers that American doesn’t is an annual Economy Plus subscription (starting at $499), so I’m curious to see if American eventually rolls out something similar with Main Cabin Extra

Delta’s Economy Comfort policy is far too complex to summarize, but they also offer complimentary Economy Comfort within 24 hours of departure on North American/Caribbean flights to their Tin Silver Medallions (the rough equivalent to AAdvantage Gold and United Premier Silver). Silver Medallions can also purchase Economy Comfort in advance at 50% off for North American itineraries, or 25% off for all other international itineraries.

American 777-300ER Main Cabin Extra


  1. American are much better though in that they offer these seats to their Oneworld partners with status – by comparison United ignore Star Alliance status and only offer it to their own elites.

  2. The extension is apparently based on reservations made through Feb, 2014 (for travel past this date). I had wrongly assumed it was a travel date but recently made reservations for flight on March 6 and received MCE at no charge based on Ruby status with BA.

  3. I was just looking at this policy today as I consider booking a transatlantic flight on the 777-300er. Nice to know that if I do end up paying for a coach fare, I can still get main cabin extra for free as a OW Sapphire

  4. @ Alan
    Star Alliance offers very little to UA premier clients so I am actually happy to see that UA does NOT offer E+ to Star Alliance.
    In reality, Star Alliance is slowly but surely becoming an alliance on paper with very little benefits except maybe interlining of luggage. Otherwise you get penalized for flying an alliance member, benefits are being cut regularly and I am being “forced” into flying UA metal if I want any type of benefits from my Plat premier level or 1 MM commitment. This is especially true for those that still try to get to 1K

  5. @Rami well apart from access to some pretty decent lounges of course 😉 (COI currently stuck in an AA lounge and fed up with the only being pretzels to eat, UA lounges no better!)

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