American Airlines is cracking down on passengers upgrading themselves to extra legroom economy seats for free and reminding its crew to monitor the situation closely.
The airline acknowledged in an internal memo to crew members that it’s not uncommon for passengers to try to change seats after boarding when spare seats in Main Cabin Extra are available.
American Airlines’ Main Cabin Extra, located at the front of economy class, offers extra legroom and complimentary alcoholic drinks. Elite members can reserve these seats free of charge, while others can purchase them for an additional fee starting at $20 per passenger.
For some passengers, the difference between Main Cabin Extra and economy isn’t as obvious as between first class and economy, hence why so many have taken advantage of what just appears to be some extra legroom and a better alternative to the middle seat.
Interestingly enough, American Airlines used to allow self-upgrading back in January of 2018 sharing with crew in a memo, “Yes. Once the door is closed, customers are allowed to move to any available seat within their ticketed cabin (no change to current procedure)”.
As a result of the publicity and feedback from flight attendants, the airline reversed its policy, and now passengers can no longer go by the saying, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”.