American Airlines Charges Ransom To Work Onboard Their Planes

by joeheg

I’ve previously shared my lack of affection for the seats on American Airlines 737-800 aircraft. Even compared to other airlines that fly the same plane, AA’s seats in economy class are particularly brutal for passengers.

While they aren’t the narrowest seats or offer the least seat pitch, they offer the biggest tease.

If you’re flying a ULCC like Frontier, you don’t expect to be able to work on your flight. In fact, most passengers only get a shelf, not a tray table.

American Airlines seems to promise a decent in-flight experience, but that’s not what you get.  In fact, you get a tray table that’s impossible to work on, unless you’re a T-Rex.

Apparently, American Airlines knows their passengers who are aware of this limitation will pay for the privilege to work while onboard. That’s why they charge those who don’t automatically get upgrades a ransom to upgrade to Main Cabin Extra seats.

For a few months, Sharon scored an upgrade to American Airlines Platinum Pro, allowing us to pick these seats for no charge. Boy, it made a huge difference in how much we enjoyed our flights. Now we’re back to being regular passengers and only have the worst seats on the plane to choose from.

That is, unless we want to pay AA’s ransom to upgrade to a seat that’s conducive to getting work done.

If you want an aisle seat on the 2+ hour flight from Austin to Orlando with six extra, crucial, inches of legroom, that will be $80.

Are you willing to get the extra space but sit in a middle seat for the flight? That will cost you $58.

Want an aisle seat in the exit row? That will cost you $83.

Mind you that these seat maps were from less than a day from departure. Everyone on board who could upgrade to a better seat had already done so.

American Airlines was willing to let you upgrade but only at their prices. I’ve seen where the value for a seat in First Class on a domestic flight is pegged at $50 per hour flown.  Agree with that price or not, I can see the value of getting a seat with a decent recline, better service and possibly more to eat than a bag of crackers.

But if that’s true, then is an economy seat with a few more inches of space that allows you to fully open your laptop only worth a 20% discount from first class?

I’d say that most people feel it’s not worth the price, given that few passengers on this flight were willing to pay the ransom. I’ll type on my iPad or phone for 2 hours instead of paying $80 to be able to open up my laptop on a seat that may or may not have a working power outlet.

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Phil September 9, 2022 - 6:19 pm

Plus, of all the US airlines I’ve flown recently their Internet seems to be the highest priced.

joeheg September 9, 2022 - 11:22 pm

True, but at least the planes with Viasat have decent WiFi.

Topgun September 13, 2022 - 7:08 am

AA uses viasat that supports streaming. Also you get 2 devices to connect at the same time.

RB September 13, 2022 - 3:30 pm

You pay for luxury in this world. We are a class society.

Edwin rosa September 16, 2022 - 6:33 pm

Never again 😂

Gene September 9, 2022 - 9:59 pm

Just buy first. You will be happier for it.

joeheg September 9, 2022 - 11:21 pm

Do we look like the type to pay for AA first on a 2-hour flight?

Gene September 11, 2022 - 12:35 am

Sharon, no. You, yes. It’s a size thing. Maybe you could get the last row of F and she the first row of Y, and you could waive to each other in flight?

Edwin rosa September 16, 2022 - 6:29 pm

Not worth

JohnB September 11, 2022 - 1:51 am

Friends don’t let friends fly American Airlines….

Richard Hollister September 14, 2022 - 11:34 am

T-Mobile is giving their customers free internet on domestic flights now.

Kate Scott September 15, 2022 - 9:37 pm

Not enough space here for me to even begin to vent about them.

RJ Peltz-Steele September 17, 2022 - 2:32 pm

Regulators took years but finally acted to ensure pricing transparency when airlines started charging for bag check. Now that safeguard is flagging–bag costs are sometimes variable with routes and not published clearly–and seating is the new surprise charge. It’s again become impossible fairly to compare rates. Yet where are the regulators? It’s a game, and the most ruthless carrier are winning.


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