How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love American Airlines

I’ve only been a US Airways elite in the past, and I was really nervous with the merger.

Although the US Airways’ first class product is not quite as nice as… other airlines, it was what I was used to, and I was frequently upgraded.

I even wrote a post explaining why US Airway’s upgrades are superior to American Airlines’ for Pizza in Motion’s blog.

I was nervous about not getting upgrades at all on American and what would happen.

And then I flew American.

No, I didn’t get upgraded on my flight.  But I was in an Economy Plus seat near the front of the cabin.  And the gate crew made sure to only put people in between the elites in those seats if they had to.

So then I flew with more legroom than I get on a US Airways 757 config in first class, plus an extra seat next to me.


The next time I flew, the same thing happened.  No upgrade, but an economy plus seat with the seat next to me blocked off.

I had more space to work on the plane and get things done than I did in US Airway’s first class.

Then finally…

No, I didn’t get an upgrade.

I flew with someone in the middle seat next to me.  I realized when you aren’t trying to stuff your legs behind the seat in some strange pretzel configuration, you also don’t feel quite as constrained on your top half either.

So when you aren’t upgraded on US Airways, you get to sit in the elite seating.  Which basically consists of the seats towards the front of the plane they charge everyone else for.  But not all of them.  As a US Airways elite flyer, you’ll also see some more choice seats for purchase.

But aside from exit row seating, they don’t actually have more leg room.

So “not getting upgraded” on US Airways metal is very different from “not getting upgraded” on American metal.

Which isn’t quite as bad.

airplane seats

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. As a 10 year US*C I was very nervous about the merger as well. I’ve had a batting average in the high 90s for most routes (PHX-CLT, not so much) – but when the American Merger started I knew of my DFW based colleagues being stuck in “never upgraded” states for months back to back. American’s snacks in back policy was my first great win – I don’t need to pack backup food in case the upgrade doesn’t clear.

    I do wish I had better visibility into the upgrade list before the flight though, if I’m going to be likely to upgrade I will plan work accordingly. US had added this quietly to their app but it’s broken now for international flights (business class is not in the app, even though it’s just a domestic first seat on a flight coming from Canada to have it renamed to business) and non existent for AA.

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      I do love that US tells you how many seats are available plus how many are checked in, not just for upgrades, but also for standby.

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