New Fee for Front-Row Seats on American

Posted Aug 18th 2010 04:49 PMUpdated Aug 18th 2010 05:20 PM


American Airlines has a new name for the first few rows of seats in coach on its planes -- Express Seats. And if you want to sit in them you're going to have to pay.

Passengers will have access to the seats, which include those in the bulkhead, for a fee of $19 to $39 per flight.

The airline says passengers who purchase the seats will also be able to board in Group 1 of general boarding for their flight, "with the convenience of being among the first Coach customers on and off the plane."

Express Seats are only available for purchase at airport Self-Service Check-In machines, from 24 hours to 50 minutes prior to departure. The fee applies to fights within the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The fee, which American termed "introductory pricing" varies by route, for example, $19 for St. Louis to Chicago, $29 from San Francisco to Fort Worth, and $39 from New York to Los Angeles.

"Express Seats highlights American's focus on offering customers what they value most," said Virasb Vahidi – Chief Commercial Officer for American Airlines. "This is another great product under the Your Choice program that puts more travel choices in the customer's hands."

American says its AAdvantage elite status members will still have complimentary access to preferred seating, but separate from the Express Seats.

Other carriers that charge extra for at least some desirable coach seats include United, Continental and US Airways.

Photo, caribb, flickr
Filed Under: News

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August 27 2010 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's why I fly Southwest. American Airlines has finally become the Dollar General of the sky. I have over a million miles on this ariline and you won;t find me on one of their aircraft. Just got fined for flying unsafe MD80's for years and they want to charge me for a front row seat? What a joke.

August 27 2010 at 2:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can see it now. Next, there will be "shop fees" just like the auto repair industry that is ripping us off. Then it will be pay for use bathrooms. Doesnt pay to fly anymore, especially with rude employees and high prices. I dont want to hear the customers are rude as an excuse. I have never been rude to any airline employee and still get treated like crap. No more flying for me.

August 27 2010 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Frontier does the same thing, but at least you get substantial more leg room and just a tad wider seat....first 4 rows.

August 27 2010 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Years of travel

I have flown for many years and have witnessed the evolution of the "fee age" for airlines first hand. What the airlines don't understand is the adverse effects their fees have on everything. You add a bag fee, people dont tip the luggage guys, they try to sneak extra bags as carry on, security lines become longer etc.
You add a fee for food, people buy food from vendors, which may not be the most appropriate for the tight compartment of an economy seat and end up spilling or having stinky food.
You add a fee for choosing your seat and no one requests seats. Then the airlines, with their limited staff, need to assign seats for hundreds of passengers.

August 19 2010 at 4:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What does the fare give the passenger? a seat in the plane? a seat in the cargo hold? a seat in the cabin?
or a seat in the galley? GREED is what all these airlines a pricing themselves to a lower number of users. the traveling public will get tired of all this penny additions to a flight. I hope the airlines lose passengers quickly.
and we get back to normalcy.

August 19 2010 at 4:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

technically, if you get on the plane first, you still have to wait on everyone else to board (which results in getting elbowed, bumped, and shoved and possibly a few things dropped on you from other passengers over stuffing the overhead compartments), and speaking of getting off faster, unfortunately, you never know if you are going to get off at all, which makes the whole flight uncomfortable in the first place (we all acknowledge the risks by buying the ticket in the first place). it sounds kind of childish. the airline might as well hand all the people in first class a trophy for boarding and getting off first. woohoo! guess what? when we land, we are all getting off the plane if not seconds, a few minutes apart from each other. they might as well call it the nose dive section. no matter how much you paid for the seats, God forbid anything bad happens, unless you can teleport out of there, you are going to perish along with the rest of us, and again, you will probably be seconds ahead of us. i wonder when they are going to start charging people for every time their ears pop. $5.00 can of coke, anyone? just put me in a box and ship me!

August 19 2010 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert in San Jose

The only thing more offensive than AA even offering this "service" is the insulting implication by Mr. Vahidi that this is a special service that people are begging for. His b.s. line is outrageous. I would be overjoyed if AA went bankrupt. I just flew Southwest for the first time in 30 years. It was not a giveaway price but there were no hidden fees and we were almost force fed unlimited munchies. I noticed that my fellow passengers were enjoying the flight as much as I was and the crew wore genuine smiles for the whole 5 hour flight. I have not returned home but have already booked another round trip flight with them. My former favorite was Continental but even they are now pandering.

August 19 2010 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just flew to China for a vacation. Flew United and then several domestic flights within China. Never had a problem with personnel, flight, food or anything.
I have been flying for 45 yrs, with babies and then bigger kids. Went to Europe every year. Never lost my luggage (one time it was delayed but came in later with another plane). Back in the 80's American Airlines had real linen and silverware with food. The trays were big and the food was actually good. Now you get a tiny tray, full of carbs. What a change! It is now disgusting to travel with SOME AIRLINES. But since I cannot row a boat to China or Russia, I keep flying because I do not have a choice.

August 19 2010 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just flew from Ny to Alaska, most of the flight was enjoyable. Then there was the flight attendant from hell. I was asked what I wanted to drink. I replied May I have a glass of ice and a can of coke. I recieved a can of coke and a glass with 1 ice cube. I looked at her and said, could I have more ice? I never thought that asking for more ice was a big deal. Her reply to me after a dirty look was "maybe when I get around to it. The passengers around me actually got up and looked at me. The reply from them was Are you going to take that. She looked tired,miserable and combative. All I asked for was ice. Later on a bunch of us was standing up stretching our legs and another flight attendant was walking by, I asked for the coworkers name because I really was upset over the way she reacted. Do you know he became unable to remember her name. Now I am really pissed off. I said to him, Don't tell me you have no idea what her name is, that's your coworker. He hesitated for a minute, then told me her name. Then asked me was there a problem. I just spent 1000.00 dollars to fly to Alaska. I recieved absolutly nothing. A miserable attendant with 1 icecube, a bag of mini stale pretzels. Not only that but the flight was delayed because it was to heavy. When I book a flight like that since when do I have to take a puddle jumper? The luggage would'nt even fit in the overhead. What the hell? There is no customer service. Pay the ticket and hope you make it.

August 18 2010 at 11:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply