As I first wrote about in January, American was planning some improvements to Main Cabin Extra, which is their extra legroom economy section. Specifically, with these changes passengers seated in Main Cabin Extra will receive:
- Complimentary beer, wine, and spirits
- Easier access to overhead bin space with Group 5 boarding (in reality flight attendants won’t be policing this, but rather there will be placards indicating that the overhead bins above Main Cabin Extra are for passengers seated in that section only)
Airlines are increasingly trying to improve their extra legroom economy options, both to appease elite members given that upgrades are getting tougher to clear, and also to increase the revenue they earn from buy-ups.
In April it was revealed that there would be a delay in the implementation of these new features, and that the new target for the introduction of these benefits was summer 2018. The reasoning for the delay was that American wanted to hold listening sessions and roundtable discussions with employees regarding these changes.
There’s some positive news on that front — American’s Main Cabin Extra enhancements are expected to be introduced on June 5, 2018. That’s sooner than I was expecting, since June 5 technically isn’t summer yet. As of that date, Main Cabin Extra passengers will be entitled to complimentary beer, wine, and spirits.
On top of the actual improvements, American is also revising one of their Main Cabin Extra policies. A few months ago I wrote about American’s puzzling policy that passengers were allowed to self-upgrade themselves from regular economy to Main Cabin Extra. That seems like a crazy policy, but I guess the intent was to limit the work that flight attendants had to do.
American is revising their policy so that they’re limiting passengers to moving within their seat classification or lower — this means that a Main Cabin Extra passenger can move to another empty Main Cabin Extra seat or to a Main Cabin Seat, but a Main Cabin passenger can’t move up to an empty Main Cabin Extra seat for free. Flight attendants will continue to be able to make exceptions in certain circumstances, including when it’s needed for operational reasons, when it helps to seat families together, etc.
It’s good to see American finally add free alcoholic drinks in Main Cabin Extra. I guess as an Executive Platinum member maybe I shouldn’t be too excited, since previously I got a free drink and a free snack, so I’m now less special. 😉
I also think it’s smart that American changed their policy so that you can no longer self-upgrade to Main Cabin Extra. I doubt that was ever really the intent, but it’s clear they didn’t really think through the implications of the previous policy.