In a change to longstanding policy, American Airlines is asking flight attendants to crack down on passengers who seek to move to extra legroom seats within economy class.
American Airlines Tells Flight Attendants To Stop Passengers From Moving to Extra Legroom Seats
First noted by airline insider JonNYC, American Airlines has now instructed flight attendants in a November 3, 2022 memo to block moves from Main Cabin to Main Cabin Extra:
It’s not unusual for Main Cabin (MC) customers to ask to change seats after they’ve boarded the aircraft – to sit next to a family member or get out of a middle seat, for instance. However, customers may not be familiar with our seat change policy; particularly when it comes to Main Cabin Extra (MCE) seats. While you may allow a customer to move to an available Main Cabin seat after boarding is complete, they’re not permitted to move into an MCE seat unless they are booked in that class.
So, if a customer asks to move to a seat in a different seat classification (i.e., MC to MCE, MCE to First, etc.) politely decline their request unless there is a customer service or regulatory conflict present. If a customer asks to change seats before the boarding door closes, work with the gate agent to accommodate the request. As always, please remain on the aircraft to avoid a minimum crew violation while assisting the customer.
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) November 11, 2022
The prior policy allowed passengers to move to any open seat within economy class once the aircraft door was closed. American Airlines offers complimentary alcohol on domestic flights in Main Cabin Extra, unlike in its Main Cabin.
As JonNYC notes, “Whether they actually care enough to enforce, remains to be seen.”
On United Airlines, which I fly most often, flight attendants are very clear and actively police the cabin to ensure that United Economy passengers do not move up to United EconomyPlus seats, which like Main Cabin Extra, offer up to five extra inches of legroom. Unlike on American, there is no difference in service between the two sections of economy class (prior to the pandemic there was on premium transcontinental flights, but that is now a relic of the past).
American Airlines has asked flight attendants to stop passengers from moving to extra legroom seats if they did not pay for them or qualify for them based on elite status. Whether flight attendants will actively police the cabin remains to be seen.
(H/T: View From The Wing)