An American Airlines Boeing 757 and Airbus A300 line up for take off at Miami International Airport

An American Airlines Boeing 757 and Airbus A300 line up for take off at Miami International Airport

Airlines have to start getting pretty creative to come up with new fees to help increase their revenue. Even though I get frustrated to have to pay the fees myself, I at least understand why I am paying them. American has started charging a new fee and I am not sure if it is worth it.

Depending on the length of the flight, you can now pay anywhere from $19 to $39 to sit in the first few rows in economy and be one of the first ones to board. There is no question being one of the first to board to make sure you have room for your carry-ons and it is nice to get off the plane instead of waiting in the back for everyone else to. However, I am not sure if the added cost is worth it.

United has something similar called EconomyPlus, but at least when you pay more for those seats, you also get additional legroom.  With United, you can purchase the seats at the time of booking, but with American’s Express Seats, they can only be purchased from a kiosk starting 24hrs before a flight to 50 minutes before take off.

Virasb Vahidi, Chief Commercial Officer for American Airlines states, “Express Seats highlights American’s focus on offering customers what they value most.” I am not sure if passengers really value paying more to sit in the front the most. However, I haven’t done the research and spoke with a lot of American passengers about it, which I assume American has and they got positive feedback. The nice thing for American is there is no need to change the layouts of their aircraft to make this work, which means it will be cheap to test and cheap to pull the plug if it doesn’t work out.

Story found: Flight Wisdom Image: AV8NLVR

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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5 Comments

Sure those front economy seats are cheaper! You arrive at the gate before everyone behind you! 🙂

The problem with the United Economy Plus is that you’re still on a flight operated by United.

Mark G. Pericot

I am very disappointed with your lately service, In the past 6 month I have had in most of the flights only delays and fight cancellations. I have been using your service for many years for all my business trips, at this point AA is no more reliable for my yearly business trips and I am beginning to book all my future flights with United Airlines.
Your dependability, flight service and all the lately delays because of maintenance issues, have convince me that I can not anymore count with you as an professional carrier for all my business trips. Also all the maintenance issues, the poor plane conditions is proof of your planes to be in dangerous conditions for my safety.

American’s new “Express Seats” are free for anyone with Elite status with American so the chance that there will be any available by the day of the flight are slim to none.. why pay to board early? What they don’t say is that you still board after the first class group, Executive Platinum’s, Platinum’s, and Gold Elite’s… so what is the point then? What they should do is reconfigure as an Economy Plus, and maybe give a include drink or snack plus bagage.. Make it worth something to the infrequent traveler because they are the ONLY ones this will appeal to.

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