American Airlines Is Adding Premium Economy to More International Routes
American Airlines will expand its premium economy service in the new year.
In January, the airline will start accommodating premium economy passengers on flights from Dallas-Fort Worth to Paris, and in February, flights from Dallas to Seoul will be included.
The service is only available on international flights and will be made available for customers to purchase in early 2017, according to the airline. Premium economy is expected to take flight in April.
Premium economy exists to fill in the gap between the main cabin and business class: Passengers will be seated in adjustable leather chairs with extendable foot, leg and head rests. The seats are also wider and come with more legroom than seats in traditional economy.
Passengers in premium economy also get one free checked bag, “enhanced meal service with complimentary wine, beer and spirits,” noise-reducing headphones, and amenity kits on board.
American Airlines debuted the service in November—on routes from Dallas to Sao Paulo and Madrid—on its four new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. When the airline’s new Airbus A350s enter service in 2017, those aircraft will also have premium economy onboard.
The airline will eventually install premium economy seating onboard its Boeing 777-300ERs, 777-200ERs, 787-8s, and Airbus A330s, and installation is expected to be completed across the fleet by June 2018.
American Airlines elite members will be able to book the seats at no additional charge. Although the airline has not yet released a long-term pricing plan, customers can upgrade to Premium Economy on existent flights for a fee that ranges from $163 to $190 each way.
The move to expand premium economy offerings comes after American Airlines announced its no-frills “basic economy fares” last year. When the bare bones fare was put into effect earlier this year, passengers who purchased it gave up assigned seats, checked luggage, refunds, exchanges and loyalty miles.