American Airlines has quietly stopped offering complimentary upgrades to Main Cabin Extra for mid- and top-tier oneworld elites outside the AAdvantage program.
American Airlines Cuts Main Cabin Extra Benefit For oneworld Elites
For years, American Airlines has offered free access to the Main Cabin Extra for oneworld emerald and sapphire members of other oneworld airlines, including:
- British Airways Executive Club Silver and Gold
- Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Gold and Diamond
- Finnair Plus Gold and Platinum
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Gold and Platinum
- Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Gold and Platinum
Oneworld ruby members could also assign these seats upon check-in at no extra charge.
Main Cabin Extra seats are still economy class seats, but provide up to six extra inches of legroom and are located near the front of economy class section.
In fact, American Airlines not only offered these seats to oneworld elites, but also up to eight people traveling on the same reservation.
That policy has now changed. An American spokesperson confirmed the elimination of that benefit, but stressed that so-called “preferred” seats are still complimentary:
“For our oneworld elite status members, we will continue to offer complimentary access to Preferred seats, which is consistent with the benefit offered by other oneworld airlines.”
Preferred seats are the better-positioned seats in the Main Cabin. That includes many aisle and window seats or rows closer to the front of the aircraft. It might also include sections of two on a plane like the 777-300ER when most of the cabin is 3-3-3. Preferred seats do not have extra legroom.
Why the change, especially now? American would not elaborate but perhaps it is simply a move aimed at try to funnel more loyalty into its AAdvantage program, the most lucrative element of its portfolio (much more lucrative than flying).
Note that AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members will continue to receive complimentary access to Main Cabin Extra. AAdvantage Gold members can also still assign Main Cabin Extra seats from 24-hours prior to departure.
What do you make of AA’s erosion of benefits for oneworld elite members outside the AAdvantage? Did you run into issues of Main Cabin Extra availability when traveling with AA as an elite?
image: American Airlines // H/T: Zach Griff