This was once just seating with more legroom. It has been upgraded and given a new name: American Airlines Main Cabin Additional. You’ll still have extra legroom and many people will book it. American Airlines has made Main Cabin Extra stand out from standard economy by offering perks such as early boarding and a complimentary alcohol drink.
Find all details about Main Cabin Extra on American Airlines, including how to book it free of charge.
What can you expect from American Airlines Main Cabin Additional
What is Main Cabin Extra and how has it changed on American Airlines?
American Airlines introduced Main Cabin Extra in 2012, with only two perks: more legroom and earlier board. In 2018, the airline added two more perks to Main Cabin Extra.
First, Main Cabin Extra customers get a complimentary alcoholic beverage. American Airlines also added new placards on the overhead bins to indicate that they are reserved for Main Cabin Plus passengers.
Main Cabin Extra reduces the main pain points associated with flying American Airlines economy. It offers extra legroom, preferable boarding, and reserved overhead bin space. The free alcoholic beverage is only the cherry on top.
Book Main Cabin Additional
All American Airlines economy passengers can book Main Cabin Extra, even basic economy passengers. You only need to select a Main Cabin Additional seat when you book, either before or during check in. The price for the Main Cabin Extra boost starts at $20 per person.
Prices for Main Cabin Extras vary depending on how long the flight is and what type of seat you choose. Aisle and window seats are more expensive than middle seats. Seats in the front can also be more costly than seats further back.
A flight from Charlotte to London, North Carolina offered Main Cabin Additional seats. Prices ranged from $89 for more-back middle seats to $132 to window or aisle seats in the front.
While Main Cabin Extra seats are available on a short flight between Charlotte and Columbia, South Carolina, they can be purchased for $22 for bulkhead and emergency row rows, and $27 for any other Main Cabin Additional rows.
You can still choose Main Cabin Extra seats if you book an American Airlines basic economy ticket. The prices are usually slightly higher. The same seat from Charlotte to Columbia costs $25, $30 and $27 respectively.
American Airlines premium economy vs. main cabin Extra
The Main Cabin Extra was the highest level service available on American Airlines, other than business class. American Airlines introduced a premium economy product in 2017 as the first U.S. airline. American Airlines now offers premium economy flights on select domestic and long-haul international routes.
Premium economy and Main Cabin Extra both offer more legroom as well as complimentary alcoholic beverages. Premium economy, however, offers more legroom and a bigger seat.
These premium economy perks are more expensive. Main Cabin Extra may be the best option if you are looking for more legroom and a complimentary drink.
American Airlines Main Plus:
American Airlines offers “Main Plus” upgrades on certain routes. The Main Plus package includes access to Main Cabin Extra and preferred seats, an additional checked baggage, and preferred boarding for Group 5.
You can book Main Cabin Extra Seats for no extra out-of-pocket if the perks of a Main Plus tickets are worth it.
You won’t get the Main Cabin Extra perks, such as overhead bin access and a complimentary alcoholic beverage, by simply upgrading to Main Plus. To get these perks, you will need to choose a Main Cabin Additional seat. Before upgrading to Main Plus, be sure to review the seat map.
Get American Airlines Main Cabin Additional for Free
If you are unable to afford Main Cabin Extra, there is good news. American Airlines passengers have the option to purchase Main Cabin Extra at no extra cost by purchasing a Main Plus package, paying with miles, or leveraging elite status.
Leverage elite status
All AAdvantage and Oneworld elite members have the opportunity to select American Airlines Main Cabin Additional seats free of charge. This perk can be availed at different times depending upon your elite status.
Executive Platinum, Platinum Pro, and AAdvantage Platinum elite members have the option to choose Main Cabin Extra seats at no additional cost. AAdvantage Gold elites must wait at least 24 hours before they can receive complimentary access.
Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald elite members of Alaska Airlines, British Airways. Iberia. Finnair. Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines can also select Main Cabin Extra seats at no cost. To select Main Cabin Extra seats, Oneworld Ruby members must wait at least 24 hours before departing to receive them.
You might consider paying with miles
Members of AAdvantage can use their miles to purchase Main Cabin Extra. The cost of mileage is usually equal to 100 times the cash cost. This means that a Main Cabin Extra Seat would be $30 and would require 3,000 AAdvantage points to choose.
This means that you only get 1 cent per mile for this redemption. This is well below NerdWallet’s base valuation of 1.5 cents for each AAdvantage miles. If your American Airlines miles balance is not sufficient to book an award flight, you might be able to redeem American Airlines miles for a Main Cabin Extra Seat.
Upgrade to Main Plus
Main Plus packages automatically include the preferred boarding perks and seating of Main Cabin Extra tickets, as well as the added benefit of a checked bag. Although it comes with some costs, you can still get the Main Cabin Extra benefits for a fraction of the price.
Is Main Cabin More Worth It on American Airlines?
American Airlines Main Cabin Plus is not the most luxurious airline seat. You will find the economy experience much more enjoyable with perks such as extra legroom and earlier boarding, guaranteed overhead space, and an alcoholic beverage.
If you are looking for a higher level of service but can’t afford business, American Airlines premium economy and the Main Plus package may be a better option.
You might be able to use AAdvantage miles or elite status to get Main Cabin Extra at no additional cost if you are serious about Main Cabin Extra. If you aren’t convinced, upgrade to Main Plus to get a complimentary checked bag and the chance to select a Main Cabin Extra Seat.
(Top Photo courtesy American Airlines)
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