American Airlines Boeing 777

If you are at all involved in the world of miles and points, and more importantly, if you have any interest in flying American Airlines you’ve probably heard about their recent in-flight upgrades. Specifically, American announced late last year that they would be adding complimentary beer, wine, and spirits to their Main Cabin Extra (MCE) seats. 

While the process of rolling this out has been confusingly drawn out, it was recently confirmed that on July 5, 2018 this new feature would be available. And here we are, July 5 — should I fly today just to make sure they followed through?

While that won’t happen, I did have to book some travel on American for work yesterday, and as a Platinum member I was able to select a seat immediately after booking — a MCE seat to be more specific.

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And would you look at that!

Complimentary beer, wine, and spirits

As someone who is a devout believer in everything Delta, they have far exceeded the competition (American and United) in their offerings at the front of coach. Delta’s Comfort+ not only offers increased legroom, dedicated bin space, and early boarding, but they also have offered complimentary beer, wine, and spirits (aka what we all care about) for as long as I can remember.

So while this is awesome for American, as I’m beginning to fly them more often, it is more of an “about damn time” rather than a “really cool new perk.” I will never turn down a free drink, though.

How does one sit in American MCE

  • Maybe the most obvious way to sit in the front of the economy cabin is by purchasing a seat — either directly at time of booking, or by purchasing an upgrade after booking
  • If you hold status with American, you are eligible to automatically upgrade to a MCE seat. Gold members are able to select a MCE seat 24 hours prior to departure, while Platinum and Executive Platinum members are able to select MCE seats at the time of booking.

What does this mean going forward

While nothing is really changing drastically in-flight (the drinks were always there!), I do see this having an impact on my ability to get an upgraded seat. As it stood prior to today, MCE seats were pretty easy to snag at any time. There wasn’t a ton of value (if any at all) in upgrading to a MCE seat, and I sometimes thought that certain members wouldn’t even mind to hunt for an upgraded seat.

But going forward, I really do think this will attract more customers to pay for an upgraded seat. And when more people are paying for upgraded seats, that means less upgraded seats for the rest of us. If you think about the margins, they give away an $8 drink for a $30 seat — not bad!

Unfortunately for me, that means I may have to be more diligent about snagging an upgraded seat. My only hope now is that it takes a while for people to catch on to this change.

I will keep you all updated on the changes that these upgrades bring. Cheers!

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