The Death Of US Airways’ Single Most Egregious Policy!

Filed Under: American, US Airways

This past weekend, American and US Airways completed the last huge “milestone” of their merger, whereby they migrated US Airways over to American’s reservations system. I was preparing for the worst (given the scale of what they were doing), though it went over without a hitch.


US Airways as a brand is now dead, and there was even a special commemorative flight to mark the occasion.

Not surprisingly, in terms of the customer experience, things didn’t change overnight. While policies are now completely aligned (in terms of the frequent flyer program, standby, fees, etc.), American and US Airways planes still feature very different products.

American is taking delivery of new planes with entertainment at every seat, power ports, etc. Meanwhile US Airways doesn’t have any power ports or inflight entertainment throughout any of their domestic fleet.

US Airways’ simple first class seats

So over time we’ll see the products on the two airlines be streamlined, hopefully with the addition of Main Cabin Extra throughout much of US Airways’ fleet.

But there’s one thing about US Airways’ demise which makes me especially happy. In August I wrote a post about what I consider to be US Airways’ single most egregious policy.

I’m talking specifically about US Airways’ ChoiceSeats program, whereby US Airways would charge for the window and aisle seats towards the front of the cabin on most planes. In many cases ChoiceSeats included middle seats and seats pretty far back. These fees weren’t even waived for elite members.

At the time I gave the example of the below seatmap:


As an Executive Platinum member I could select an exit row seat for free, but had to pay for an aisle seat behind the exit row, or even had to pay for a middle seat in front of the exit row. And it’s no small price either — nearly $80 for a four hour flight. That’s ridiculous, especially given that all Main Cabin Extra (extra legroom economy) seats are free for Executive Platinum members on American.

Anyway, what I’m especially excited about with the death of US Airways is that the ridiculous ChoiceSeats program no longer exists. For example, here’s the seatmap for a “former” US Airways A319:


No, the plane still doesn’t have Main Cabin Extra. And yes, the plane still has “preferred seats,” but at least the fees are waived for elite members.

It might sound minor, but that’s a policy which pissed me off more on principle than anything else, so I’m thrilled to see it go.

I’m also happy that US Airways adopted American’s same day confirmed change policy, even if American’s isn’t the best in the industry.

Bottom line

There aren’t many things which offend me in life, though this policy was one of them.

Anyone else excited to see ChoiceSeats disappear with the integration of the American/US Airways reservations systems?

  1. It may have been more of a systems limitation than a policy choice.

    Give them time…those HPdbaAA guys don’t like leaving stuff on the table.

  2. Yes, I am glad to see this go the way of the dodo bird. But I also had a troubling encounter with US-style F upgrading on the AA app on Saturday. Not sure if it was a fluke b/c of integration or what.

    I was flying DFW-LAX and had requested the upgrade months earlier at time of booking. About an hour before boarding, I realized I hadn’t added the boarding pass to Passbook, so I went to do that in the AA app. For some reason, I wasn’t able to; I decided to click ‘Change Seats’ to see how full the flight was going to be. Lo and behold, the F cabin was available for selection with 3 seats open. I quickly snagged one and then had my BP manually printed at the Admiral’s Club.

    No push notification or email announcing the upgrade, just the classic US-style sudden availability. I’m hoping it was a one-off because I much prefer the upgrade and seat assignment happening automatically.

  3. The part of that system that I never understood is that it always seemed to me that I could pick a reasonable seat when I booked (I have no status, so I’m just talking about a window seat near the front of the plane).

    But then when I would go to check-in, US Airways would take me to a screen asking me if I wanted to “upgrade” to the seats right next to me or even behind me?!?! Madness

    I wrote about this a year or so ago

  4. What is the deal with the aisle seats in 14 and 15 and the middle seats behind the exit row? Why are those seats blocked off for elites?

    I can’t imagine being a nice AA Plat and just thirsting for a nice aisle seat in row 15. I’d really rather take one in the front of Y, thank you. Even row 13 is available to everyone. But it’s the middle seats behind and in front of the exits that are most mysterious. Has anyone ever thought about middle seats anywhere as a special elite bonus? They’re like torture devices.

  5. Yes, I absolutely never understood this! It just made no sense to charge for seats a few rows closer in the front of the plane with no extra legroom. And who would may for a middle seat?

  6. I was equally annoyed by ChoiceSeats and the 6-hour limit on the MoveUp program, so glad that’s gone as well.

  7. So basically Preferred seats are still Preferred seats and Choice seats are now called MCE seats and are now free to elites. I agree the rationale for calling a particular seat one or the other was always baffling. As for your complaint of availability I just reconciled myself to thinking of Preferred seats as capacity controlled, just like saver award space. It doesn’t matter how elite you are, if there’s no saver award space there’s no saver award space. Irritating/annoying/illogical yes; egregious sounds a little entitled.

  8. At least US Airways didn’t have that awful two seat rule for those of us who have hips wider than 17.5 inches (more than 50% of us and mostly all women). Now there is just Delta left.

  9. Let’s compare apples to apples here. MCE seats are available to Plat and ExPlat for free, 50% for Gold prior to check in and free for Gold at check in. Although I am happy the ChoiceSeats are gone, I am upset about the MCE seats. One of the big perks for me being Silver DM converted to Gold, was being able to book exit row seats in advance as I travelled on heavy elite routes and rarely got upgraded. Because exit rows are MCE, I lose the ability to book them in advance for free under AA. Not the best thing for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *