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American Airlines Introduces Main Cabin Extra: More Room Throughout (Some Parts of) Coach

American Airlines, which introduced the “more room in coach” concept, only to remove it a few years ago, is now rolling out Main Cabin Extra, a section with more room in coach, on its entire fleet.

Beginning this spring, AA will add a Main Cabin Extra cabin to all of its aircraft, as well as to all new planes being delivered. The product is similar to United’s Economy Plus and Delta’s Main Cabin Select: Executive Platinum and Platinum members get to choose their seats for free. Gold members get it for free until December 31, 2013. The seats are also available for purchase for $8-$108 each way (well worth it on that flight to Tokyo). Passengers seated in that cabin also get priority boarding.

AA expects the rollout to take 18 months and will start with 777-300ER aircraft this spring.

US Airways has to introduce a similar cabin at this point, no?

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  1. In a geekly airline way, I find this trend interesting. For years, the conventional wisdom was that enough travellers wouldn’t pay for “more room in coach.” Hence why nobody matched AA’s program. UA limped along with their “Economy Plus” seats, but most thought this probably didn’t pay for itself either. Then CO management “taking over” UA looked at E+ and said, “Hey, it does make money.” They kept it, which begat DL’s extra legroom program and now AA’s match.

    I don’t know. Personally, I’m only willing to pay for legroom when the alternative is terrible — many of Spirit’s seats qualify for that horror-ific, and I generally try to avoid Spirit for that reason. But “regular” coach legroom on the major USA carriers is fine. Sure, I like having more — and as a CO plat (now UA 1K) I look forward to getting the additional legroom more often. But would it really influence my choice of flights and airlines?

    Not mine. But perhaps others are different. Maybe at ORD, where AA goes directly against UA, it could matter enough to justify the capacity hit.

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