American Airlines Economy Plus

American Airlines Economy: A Better Value

Category : Airlines / Posted on: December 26, 2022 / Author: Admin

American Airlines Economy Plus

American Airlines Economy Plus


American Airlines introduced "Main Plus", a new bundled fare option that is available for economy tickets. This new fare is currently only available in selected markets and appears to be in test mode. American has been busy adapting its economy fare options over the past year, expanding Basic Economy to international markets, changing baggage allowances, fees, and eliminating change fees for Main Cabin tickets.

American Airlines claims it is simplifying its fare offerings. However, many would argue that the recent changes have made booking economy tickets on American Airlines more difficult. The new "Main Plus" fare has some benefits. I'll show you what it includes, what markets it's available in, and which traveller could benefit from this fare.

American made a few changes in February 2021 to simplify the shopping experience. Premium Economy tickets now include two free checked bags. All long-haul international Main Cabin tickets now come with one free checked baggage. Basic Economy has been expanded to include flights to Asia, Oceania and India.

American also announced that it would allow travel agencies using new distribution capability (NDC), to sell bundled tickets that include options like seat selection and baggage at time of booking. This essentially opened the door for the new "Main Plus" fare.

Although these tickets are not available in all markets, American currently offers six types of Economy tickets. All tickets come with one bag for carry-on and one personal item, regardless of the fare.

  • Basic Economy (no modifications, no free checked bags). - Short-haul Europe, South America
  • Basic Economy Plus bag (no modifications, one free checked bag). Asia, Oceania and India
  • Main Cabin (free checks, no checked bag) U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Central America, Central America, Guyana, Suriname, Guyana, and Caribbean*
  • Main Cabin (free modifications with 1 bag) Long-haul international
  • Main Plus (free modifications with 1 bag) – US/Canada
  • Premium Economy (free amendments with 2 bags) - Only for selected aircraft

*Flights to/from Cuba or Haiti include one checked bag for Main Cabin fares.

It can be difficult to determine what your economy fare is because it all depends on which type of fare was purchased at your destination.


American Airlines Economy: A Better Value

American appears to match the lowest fares offered by Delta and United. American's low fare seems to be Main Cabin, while Delta's is almost always Basic Economy, and United's low fares are more variable.

This means that if you're looking for domestic economy tickets, and all three major airlines have similar pricing, American will often be the best choice. It will most likely be a Main Cabin ticket, compared to a Delta or United Basic Economy ticket. Make sure you read all the fine print before purchasing any fare.

Google Flights shows me $79 for one-way flights between Atlanta, Chicago, and other cities.


How can American Airlines Premium Economy tickets be booked? Are miles and cash acceptable?


Premium Economy tickets can be purchased just like any other class or cabin. Premium Economy was a new concept by American Airlines. It differed from other fare classes and cabins in that it allowed for bookings, ticketing and upgrades. These differences and other oddities are now gone. American Airlines now integrates the product into all of its systems. Premium Economy can be booked in any way that you prefer. With Premium Economy awards, cash and miles have been accepted since January 2019.

Itineraries and the route chosen will affect the cash fare. Sometimes, Premium Economy fares are only a few hundred more round-trip. Premium Economy fares can be well over a thousand dollar more than standard seats. Here are two examples of economy vs. Premium Economy fares available for 6- and 7-day trips that depart in March 2019. All prices are round-trip fares. They were found via Google Flights and verified on


Premium Economy: Are spirits, wine and beer included in the price?


Yes. Both in Premium Economy as well as in economy, this is true. Premium Economy is not available on international flights. It's only available on flights to Hawaii and, eventually, from Dallas to Alaska. Prior to the arrival of longer international flights, economy passengers from Dallas to Hawaii received complimentary beer and wine. Economy passengers on American's longest flights, including flights to Australia and New Zealand, receive complimentary wine and beer. However, Premium Economy passengers will be able to receive complimentary beer, wine and spirits regardless of their route.


Is American Airlines Premium Economy meal service better than standard economy?


Yes. It isn't a significant improvement compared to food in economy. It's still important. The flight duration and destination will affect the type and size of meals and portions. Some Premium Economy entrees may closely resemble those offered in Business Class. However, the majority of Premium Economy meals will be served on real China, not plastic containers or tins. But beverages are still served in plastic cups.

Premium Economy passengers do not have their own lavatory, like Business Class.


It's kind of. I say "kind of" because Premium Economy passengers have access to the same lavatories as Business Class passengers. Standard economy passengers will not have access to the Premium Economy/Business class lavatory.

FAA regulations regarding international flights are the only reason premium economy class passengers do not have dedicated lavatories. International flights require that passengers use the lavatory within their cabin in order to avoid passengers passing through multiple cabins. This is for security reasons. These lavatories will be available to all Premium Economy and Business Class passengers. American Airlines does not offer any additional amenities in its lavatories, as they use the same amenities found in the economy lavatories.


Are bulkheads better than non-bulkhead standard seats?


At least, this is my experience. Bulkheads seat occupants will be able to use a largest instead of the footrest at other places. The seats are also more spacious and less restrictive. It's much easier to reach the aisle from a seat in the middle or window than from seats in other rows.

The bulkhead is where the armrest is immovable, but this is true for Premium Economy seats. No matter where you are seated, you will find an immovable console to either side. I recommend booking a bulkhead seat.


Which seats are the best in American Airlines Premium Economy?


First, choose the bulkhead seat on any Premium Economy aircraft. Airbus and Boeing use the same Premium Economy product for every aircraft. Only the layout and number of seats will be different. Premium Economy cabins will have a 2-2-2 layout on some aircraft. Other aircraft will use a 2-2-4-2 layout.

If you're unable to get a seat at the bulkhead I recommend that you avoid the middle seats or seats in the last row of Premium Economy. It's your decision. Which do you prefer, the aisle or the window? This is the only question you should ask when booking Premium Economy, assuming there are no middle seats.

Below is a seat map for the American Airlines Boeing 787 Premium Economy cabin. It includes my recommendations on how to choose a seat. (Seats marked with stars are those that I have personally used on previous flights.


Do I upgrade or book American Airlines Premium Economy? Is it worth the investment?


This question is entirely up to you, as independent travelers. If I want to travel in luxury or avoid economy, I will save my points and/or money until I fly Business Class. Unless it is an exceptional value, I rarely upgrade from economy to premium economy. American's economy-class cabins offer more legroom than Premium Economy. There are many seats available. If you're anything like me, long flights are more enjoyable if you travel in First or Business Class.

Don't let me stop you from booking American Airlines Premium Economic. This is a fantastic product, and a major improvement on standard economy. My experience with Premium Economy has shown that the service is more consistent than standard economy. Premium Economy travelers also get priority check-in, security and boarding. Additional miles can also be earned by booking Premium Economy tickets. This is an important benefit for frequent flyers.

Personally, however, I would rather spend the few hundred dollars to upgrade to Business Class on a different trip. You might also want to consider investing that money in a spending bonus such as the one offered by American Express. After meeting spending requirements for The Platinum Card(r), you earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points


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