American Airlines App Now Shows Available Seats

American Airlines App Now Shows Available Seats

27

American Airlines has made a small but valuable change to its app, which I’m sure fellow American frequent flyers will appreciate.

American upgrade & standby list now show available seats

Whether you’re on an upgrade list for a premium cabin or a standby list to just clear onto a flight, it sure is nice to know how many seats are remaining. That’s something American Airlines has addressed with its latest app update, which I just installed.

American Airlines app update

When I opened the app after installing the update, there was even a pop-up about this new feature.

American Airlines app update

So, what has changed? Starting eight hours before departure, American Airlines displays both the upgrade priority list and the standby priority list for each flight. You can of course look at this if you’re booked on a flight, but you can also search upgrade lists even if you’re not actually booked on a flight, by simply looking up the status of a flight.

So, what has changed? American Airlines has now added the number of available seats to each waitlist. For example, take the below upgrade list from Miami to Dallas. As you can see, there are lots of people on the waitlist for an upgrade, but no first class seats remaining.

American Airlines upgrade list available seats

Meanwhile for the standby list (for clearing into economy), there are quite a few people on the list, but also 33 available seats.

American Airlines waitlist available seats

This is really useful information to have access to:

  • Previously when I was on an upgrade waitlist, I’d use other websites to see how many seats were still available in a premium cabin for an upgrade; it’s much easier to have this information in one place
  • Even if I’m not on standby for economy, it’s good to know how full economy is, so you have a sense of how full the flight will be; this could be useful if you’re wanting to board last but worried there won’t be room for your carry-on

American’s tech still has a long way to go

While I think this is a valuable incremental improvement to the American Airlines app, I’m sure shortly people will be by to say “well Delta and United have been doing this for years.”

And that’s totally true, so let me acknowledge that when it comes to tech, American is playing catch-up with Delta and United. And not just that, but the airline is still many years behind. I mean, American isn’t as bad as JetBlue when it comes to tech (frankly I’m amazed JetBlue manages to sell out its flights, given its website and app), but it’s still so far behind.

American has made some improvements to its website and app throughout the pandemic, like being able to book online with vouchers, rather than having to call.

But there are still so many improvements that would be nice to see, ranging from being able to upgrade online (whether with systemwide upgrades or miles), being able to fully refund all award flights online, etc.

Bottom line

American Airlines has made a nice improvement to its app, as both the upgrade list and standby list now show how many seats are remaining within eight hours of departure. This is a very nice change, since it really gives you a better sense of your odds of clearing.

If you’re number 40 on the standby list, your odds of clearing are very different if there are no seats remaining vs. if there are 50 seats remaining, so it’s nice to see this change.

Anyone else appreciate this American Airlines app update?

Conversations (27)
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  1. Seema Guest

    It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

    The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in F on a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

    The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be...

    It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

    The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in F on a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

    The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be helpful, as alternatives to your waning odds of clearing IFF you could see the status of folks on the list OR see where you would fall on that list before committing to the flight change.

    Ostensibly, you could -in the current no change fees reign- cancel your ticket, rebook with the hopefully instantly generated flight credit, see where you land on the sameday UG list, and if much worse, switch back or elsewhere....

    But that's a headache, and not all of the things that SHOULD go correctly will (eg your ranking on the list automatically vs double checking with agent or lounge), plus there could be a fare difference or some snafu in the issuance of your flight/trip credit.

    So, basically, same info as before but four hours earlier and now you'll have both the numerator (your rank position) and denominator "availability seats" for your true odds. No longer requiring an expert flyer inventory search or guessing based on seats showing available for sale or assignment.

    Just hasn't played into any value for me - gut feel, flight times, the number of folks checked in but not selected seats, ExPlat phone reps, last minute mileage availability --- all these still prove more helpful.

    Also, for early morning flights, the extra four hours of visibility is basically no extra visibility. Just tempting to stay up late and futz with flight load data.

    So, all the brouhaha over the fab new tool feels like a bit of overkill. Or like the other reader said, "AA hired the IT team from DL in 2008? Congrats."

  2. Tameka J Guest

    It doesn't work at all. All I get is unable to display!

  3. Barbara Feldman Guest

    I recently booked a flight from Dallas to Philadelphia. I had a credit from not taking a flight and an award certificate from my miles. I couldn’t use both on the same itinerary for my husband and I so I had to call and book a separate itinerary and locator number for my husband so I could use both. It seemed a waste of time to do that when I could have handled the whole thing on one itinerary online.

  4. Jonathan Guest

    How can you praise United's app? It's difficult to find your flight. It doesn't update status of the flight, ever. I had a cancelled flight that the app still said was going. I find the American app gives me everything i need.

  5. Sexy_kitten7 Guest

    I thought you always had to be on the flight to see the waitlist? Wasn't it that way as recently as early 2022? Or am I just crazy? I just joined AA in Jan for the LP.

  6. walester Member

    I wish I had the ability to see a full seating chart showing available seats in all cabins AFTER I've checked in. Because my default routes are Hawaii West Coast, most planes have 2 & 2 seating in (very expensive) Business and 3 & 3 seating in Economy (Plus). If my partner & I are flying together, having an aisle and window seat in Economy, with an empty seat between us, is often preferable to...

    I wish I had the ability to see a full seating chart showing available seats in all cabins AFTER I've checked in. Because my default routes are Hawaii West Coast, most planes have 2 & 2 seating in (very expensive) Business and 3 & 3 seating in Economy (Plus). If my partner & I are flying together, having an aisle and window seat in Economy, with an empty seat between us, is often preferable to spending the money on Business. If we put our names on the Upgrade List, and only one gets upgraded, that leaves the other with a seat in Economy possibly with two others. Seeing a seating chart would allow us more options.

  7. Rjb Guest

    United has had this for years

  8. Patricia Smith Guest

    I have the app but I don’t see this update.

  9. Darren C Diamond

    Like @Brandote, I saw the lists 12 hours before departure on my last flights, and I decided to switch flights based on the info.

    There used to be a way to see waitlists on the UA app months before departure, but their IT fixed that.

  10. Albedo Guest

    Not sure where Air Cansda got all these features and way more but it has been very efficient for a number of years.
    It should be standardizes throughout the airline industry.
    I guess its proprietary coding.

  11. Joe Guest

    Congratulations. Maybe AA hired the DL staff from 2008

  12. Brandote Guest

    I see this 12 hours in advance…maybe because I’m a beta tester? Regardless, a step in the right direction for AA. Any insight as to why upgrades sometimes appear to clear out of order? Maybe that’s an older issue that’s now resolved by them having multiple upgrade lists for flights with an F and J cabin.

  13. Larry Guest

    @D3kking - this info is now provided 8 hours in advance...on the app, in your hand. You can wait till you are at the airport ..or get info in advance.

    - if you are flying standby/waitlist you now have 8 hours notice to see if there are alternatives flights you should look at, vs just before flight at the gate

    - if you are looking for an upgrade, it is now easy to compare flights and want to switch flights with your status...8 hours in advance.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Larry

      Ok I see how that helps.

  14. Mitch Guest

    The standby list, not the upgrade list, can have people on it who are eligible to sit in first. A passenger in first on a later flight who wants to standby for an earlier flight is entitled to a first class seat if available. Once all eligible revenue passengers are accommodated, non revs can also be cleared into first or other non-economy cabins. I am assuming they would show on the standby list in the app since they are on the list at visible in the gate area

  15. D3kingg Guest

    I don’t see any value here. This information is already displayed on a tv screen at every gate.

    1. Mitch Guest

      For passengers who are not in the gate area. maybe at a bar or restaurant

    2. SSP Guest

      It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

      The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

      The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be helpful, as...

      It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

      The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

      The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be helpful, as alternatives to your waning odds of clearing IFF you could see the status of folks on the list OR see where you would fall on that list before committing to the flight change.

      Ostensibly, you could -in the current no change fees reign- cancel your ticket, rebook with the hopefully instantly generated flight credit, see where you land on the sameday UG list, and if much worse, switch back or elsewhere....

      But that's a headache, and not all of the things that SHOULD go correctly will (eg your ranking on the list automatically vs double checking with agent or lounge), plus there could be a fare difference or some snafu in the issuance of your flight/trip credit.

      So, basically, same info as before but four hours earlier and now you'll have the numerator and denominator for your true odds.

      Just hasn't played into any value for me - gut feel, flight times, the number of folks checked in but not selected seats, ExPlat phone reps, last minute mileage avail ---all these still prove more helpful.

      Also, for early morning flights, the extra four hours of visibility is basically no extra visibility. Just tempting to stay up late and futz with flight load data.

    3. SSP Guest

      It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

      The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

      The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be helpful, as...

      It was always available on the app FOUR hours before your flight. Now you can see it 8 hours before. And for flights you are not on.

      The "seats avail" is useless: for day-of upgrades it's always 0 for AA, maybe 1 in a 3 cabin route. If you clear, it's because of no shows or irrops, not because the app said "3 available".

      The ability to see other flights' waitlists could be helpful, as alternatives to your waning odds of clearing IFF you could see the status of folks on the list OR see where you would fall on that list before committing to the flight change.

      Ostensibly, you could -in the current no change fees reign- cancel your ticket, rebook with the hopefully instantly generated flight credit, see where you land on the sameday UG list, and if much worse, switch back or elsewhere....

      But that's a headache, and not all of the things that SHOULD go correctly will (eg your ranking on the list automatically vs double checking with agent or lounge), plus there could be a fare difference or some snafu in the issuance of your flight/trip credit.

      So, basically, same info as before but four hours earlier and now you'll have the numerator and denominator for your true odds.

      Just hasn't played into any value for me - gut feel, flight times, the number of folks checked in but not selected seats, ExPlat phone reps, last minute mileage avail ---all these still prove more helpful.

      Also, for early morning flights, the extra four hours of visibility is basically no extra visibility. Just tempting to stay up late and futz with flight load data.

      So, all the brouhaha over the fab new tool feels like a bit of overkill.

    4. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ D3kingg -- The value is that you can see this up to eight hours in advance. That way you can plan what your general odds are of clearing, way before arriving at the gate.

    5. Brmm Guest

      It has actually never been on American's gate screens, either. Just the list, not the available seats. Will be interesting to see, actually, if available seats are now listed on gate monitors as well.

      This is a really positive update. Can't tell you how many times through the years I have looked in Expert Flyer or asked gate or club agents how many seats are open so I know whether to grab food or not...

      It has actually never been on American's gate screens, either. Just the list, not the available seats. Will be interesting to see, actually, if available seats are now listed on gate monitors as well.

      This is a really positive update. Can't tell you how many times through the years I have looked in Expert Flyer or asked gate or club agents how many seats are open so I know whether to grab food or not before the flight, etc.

      Agreed on AA tech, Ben, but I'll take this win!

  16. Chase Guest

    I would counter that UA still doesn’t provide this in app though (only premium cabins). It only shows whether eco class is still available or not, with no number of seats left granularity. DL has shown # of seats left for years, but it’s utterly useless because their calculus excludes basic eco customers until the very last minute when their seats are assigned (even though they are confirmed on the flight, and thus taking a...

    I would counter that UA still doesn’t provide this in app though (only premium cabins). It only shows whether eco class is still available or not, with no number of seats left granularity. DL has shown # of seats left for years, but it’s utterly useless because their calculus excludes basic eco customers until the very last minute when their seats are assigned (even though they are confirmed on the flight, and thus taking a seat or inventory already). In summary, all the carriers have a long ways to go, but AA’s simplicity approach is to be applauded here, FINALLY.

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      I agree wholeheartedly, even though they both have shown basic info for years, they aren't quite the same as this new AA update.

    2. Sel, D. Guest

      Welcomed change for sure. Having to look at another source and/or the seatmap in first was painful.

      Also, regarding “being able to fully refund all award flights online” is this not done already? Last time I canceled an award flight the miles taxes were automatically refunded.

    3. Heywood Guest

      The 'better than nothing' workaround I have been using for a while to see how likely my upgrade is to happen is to go to the 'book a flight's part of the AA app after the upgrade list posts, and enter my orgin/ destination pair , then 'check seats' on my actual flight to see how many first class seats are available. Not perfect, but better than not knowing at all. Adding this seat count availability on the app's upgrade list is a huge improvement. About time!

  17. shoeguy Guest

    AA's app still does have a very long way to go. It's quite basic, when compared to UA and DL.

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Larry Guest

@D3kking - this info is now provided 8 hours in advance...on the app, in your hand. You can wait till you are at the airport ..or get info in advance. - if you are flying standby/waitlist you now have 8 hours notice to see if there are alternatives flights you should look at, vs just before flight at the gate - if you are looking for an upgrade, it is now easy to compare flights and want to switch flights with your status...8 hours in advance.

2
Brandote Guest

I see this 12 hours in advance…maybe because I’m a beta tester? Regardless, a step in the right direction for AA. Any insight as to why upgrades sometimes appear to clear out of order? Maybe that’s an older issue that’s now resolved by them having multiple upgrade lists for flights with an F and J cabin.

1
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ D3kingg -- The value is that you can see this up to eight hours in advance. That way you can plan what your general odds are of clearing, way before arriving at the gate.

1
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