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American Airlines Begins Charging Extra for Window and Aisle Seats in Economy

August 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM | by | ()

The first row of economy (bulkhead) on an American Airlines 767 to Milan

Just when you think Friday headlines couldn't get much worse, what with the impending doom of Hurricane Irene and the resulting massive travel mess on the horizon, American Airlines slips a little bad news into the cycle. The announcement? American will begin charging fees for window and aisle seat selection, unless you're a frequent flyer with status or a full-fare flyers, of course.

Here's the deal: some seats towards the front of economy on AA flights will cost extra to reserve in advance. That means when you log on to book a flight or check in with 24 hours of departure and have the option to choose your seat, you may be faced with crappy seats in the middle or far back for no extra cost, or window/aisle and further up for a little more cash. From the press release we see that pricing for "Preferred Seats" will begin at $4 per segment, "varying based on length of flight and time of day."

So $4 is the cheapest. So let's say you book a nice flight from New York to Memphis and it happens to be at a peak travel time. Since this isn't one of American's shortest routes exactly, it's likely more than $4. Plus the chance of the seat fee being higher on account of the peak travel time thing. Our bet on this? Let's say $15 one-way for an aisle seat up front in economy.

ALTHOUGH! We haven't got any upcoming AA flights on our itinerary so pricing can't be verified right this second. We're sure to have much more information as travelers begin opening up their wallets for the new seat selection. And to make matters even more confusing, there's also "Preferred Plus Seats," which solely deal with frequent flyer mile status. To learn more about those, and revisit all of this information on AA's own site, go here.

Archived Comments:


byebye AA for me. also, are they trying to bury bad news while everyone concentrates on irene?


I think they planned to announce it today, to bury it on a Friday in the rush up to Labor Day, but Irene helps even more.


whats next? pay toilets and pay overhead compartments?


Wow. The author has taken a grain of truth and stretched it beyond breaking! AA is late to this party. NWA and UA have been doing this for a long time. And *very* few AA seats are subject to this treatment. AA is hardly a villain here!


Wow... it's very interesting for me.

Adding this slight

Adding this slight surcharge for seats is not going to make travelling by air any more attractive. The cost of flying has become more and more expensive over the years. Now on top of having to pay for fuel surcharge, there might be a new tax for the carbon emissions. Airline companies are expected to pass on this new charge to consumers as well. I wonder how these airline companies would react, and what strategies they have to retain their customers.