American Seems To Be Delaying The Sale Of Premium Economy

Filed Under: American

In late 2015 American announced that they planned on adding a premium economy cabin to much of their longhaul fleet. While the airline has long offered an extra legroom economy section, this is the first time they’re offering an actual premium economy cabin.


The premium economy cabin has debuted on American’s new Boeing 787-9 aircraft, though will eventually also be added to their A330s, 777s, 787-8s, and A350s.


Up until now American has been operating the 787-9 on several routes, though hasn’t actually been selling premium economy. Instead they’ve been letting passengers who have access to Main Cabin Extra assign seats there.

This is because they wanted to work out the service kinks and also needed to realign fare classes to allow the sale of this new cabin. The current arrangement is fantastic, as it basically means elite members can get free upgrades to premium economy at the time of booking, and they already offer the full services.

Up until now it has looked like American would start actually selling premium economy tickets for travel as of April. That’s because through April 2 passengers could select premium economy seats for the same cost as Main Cabin Extra seats, while for dates after that the premium economy seats showed as blocked on the seatmap.

Well, it looks like American may further be delaying the sale of premium economy seats. American has recently updated their 787 seatmaps, and now American is letting passengers select 787-9 premium economy seats as Main Cabin Extra seats through May 4, 2017. This includes American’s flights from Dallas to Sao Paulo, Madrid, Paris, and Seoul Incheon.

Premium economy seatmaps through May 4, 2017

Premium economy seatmaps as of May 4, 2017

Now, this isn’t “official,” as I don’t think American even knows for sure when they’ll actually start selling premium economy. However, in the meantime this means you have an extra month to select premium economy seats at no extra cost as an elite member. As far as I’m concerned, they can delay the sale of premium economy indefinitely. 😉

All that being said, I’m a bit surprised to see these delays. American has already realigned fare codes to allow them to sell these seats, so I’m not sure what the holdup is at this point.

The good news is that even when premium economy goes on sale, American will continue to allow upgrades from economy to business class, and will also offer Executive Platinum members complimentary premium economy upgrades on the day of departure.

Have you taken advantage of the opportunity to fly American’s premium economy at the economy price?

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

  1. Just flew DFW-ICN in Premium Economy – Seat 9L (Bulkhead) – it’s really quite nice considering it was free for status holders. The catering is pretty much business class food and drink as they roll the same cart right through the curtain. The amenity kit is flimsier and not the Cole Haan ones, in fact they were clearly labeled Domestic Transcon First, so whatever they used to give out on the A321 NYC/LAX route is what I can assume (haven’t flown that route). Bulkhead seat is the way to go as the leg rest lets you prop your feet up in a pretty comfortable way for a 14hr flight. Great to get as a freebie but doubtful I’ll be paying for it in the future.

  2. I flew in the PE cabin to MAD the day the 787-9 started flying that route. It’s basically domestic F on a TATL flight. I even had the same cheese lasagna that I’ve been served multiple times domestically. Not bad, but I probably wouldn’t pay more than a couple hundred bucks over regular Y.

  3. This is what concerns me. I found the following paragraph at AAs website.

    Systemwide and mileage award upgrades from Main Cabin to Premium Economy won’t be available right away, but we’ll add this option later. Until then, you’ll be able to upgrade to Business Class from both Main Cabin and Premium Economy.

    Maybe that suggest that once it launches, you’ll have to use SWUs to upgrade to PE….

  4. Yesterday I flew DFW-MAD in 10E. It’s like domestic first with a narrower middle armrest. The food was better than economy and pushed out all at once, no warm nut mix. Legroom was fine but not as wonderful as row 9. The sad thing is the recline, it’s not enough. I think Cathay Pacific’s PE was better. But, they’re a better airline.

    American doesn’t seem to want to lead in any category of service and it’s making Norwegian look tempting.

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