Honestly, sometimes I just wonder what is going on with the airlines in the US when it comes to cutting certain benefits and perks. I understand that they want to cater to the customer who is actually paying big bucks to fly with them – and then they go and do something like this that just confuses me even more!
AA’s Latest Change Cuts a Great Perk on Expensive Award Tickets
Per a post by One Mile at a Time, American Airlines is set to cut free premium seat selection for passengers who book full fare economy tickets. This change will occur August 30.
These full fare economy tickets are way more expensive than the cheapest economy tickets and almost always more expensive than business/first class tickets that book into the cheaper premium bucket fares. But, many corporate customers have to purchase economy tickets and will often book these tickets for their fee-free change and cancel options. Also, there are many such customers that do book these tickets at the last minute as well.
Many companies require their employees to book in economy even if business or first is cheaper. When booking with American Airlines, this at least meant that these customers could select premium seats that normally cost to select or are only available to elite members. As of August 30, 2017, they will not longer have that benefit when purchasing these tickets. They will actually have to spend more money with AA to select those seats.
No More Premium Seat Select for AAnytime Awards
So, what does this have to do with award tickets? As I wrote about earlier this month, there are times that the AAnytime awards make great sense, even though they cost so much more than basic, saver awards. That is because these awards can be booked as long as there is a single seat left on the aircraft. Given AA’s system of releasing a pathetic few award seats on many routes, booking these much more expensive awards can come in handy.
A perk of booking these expensive AAnytime award tickets as that these tickets were treated like full economy tickets – customers could select premium seats for free. This is especially helpful since you cannot select and buy those seats ahead of time on award tickets. So, at least if you are paying 47,500 miles for an award ticket to Europe that would only cost 30,000 miles as a saver award, you are getting to select a seat with a little more legroom.
“For travel ticketed in booking code Y on or after August 30, 2017, you’ll no longer get complimentary Main Cabin Extra or Preferred seats. This includes AAnytime awards booked in Main Cabin.”
Since that benefit is being stripped from full economy tickets, it is also being stripped from AAnytime award tickets. Just one more kick at customers that are paying outrageous amounts – whether in cash or miles – to purchase these kinds of tickets.
Thanks, AA, for making us more confused as to which customers you really care about.
Featured image courtesy of Stefano Panzeri via Shutterstock