A bit late on this…but AA has joined the premium economy party, with plans to create a Main Cabin Extra section which has more legroom and priority boarding. The seats will be sold for prices between $8-108, but will be free to elite members.
United was the first to add this feature on its planes, with Delta following last year, and now AA. I am really thrilled about this announcement, since I will hopefully soon be a newly minted AA Executive Platinum member. United’s Economy Plus, which is United equivalent product, was one of the reasons I became interested in going for UA elite at all. I “accidentally’ earned United low level elite status in 2008 because I happened to fly a bunch of Star Alliance carriers during a long trip to Asia, and managed to barely get 25k miles by the end of the year. After I realized that elite status on UA got you free access to Economy Plus, I was generally motivated to put all my travel on United and earn miles with them.
Here’s a picture from AA illustrating Main Cabin Extra:
Now, since I’ve switched a significant amount of business to AA, I’m glad they will be having the same feature. I’m not really sure if I will make United MileagePlus Silver this year (much less Gold, my current status), but I know in the future, I can count on extra leg room with either carrier 🙂
Via the Heels First blog, the Volokh Conspiracy has posted about how elite lines at airport security are a misuse of government resources favoring “people with great resources.” Since I am generally able to use these lines 🙂 I’m obviously biased to disagree with this view. However, there are some valid reasons for these lines to exist.
First off, these lines have been around for a while, as Gary at View From the Wing points out in his rebuttal, and additionally Jeanne at Heels First points out that the SFO security is actually run by a private company. I recommend reading over Heels First and View from the Wing rebuttals, but TSA security lines are not as much a resource provided to the tax payer as much as an extension of air travel and airline service. This the policies for the security queue are set by airports and airlines as they see fit, and TSA does there thing with people who arrive out of the queue (showing my time in Ireland), whether it be groping them or potentially causing cancer. As Jeanne points out, the TSA itself concedes this point.
There’s also some other points made by the bloggers, such as the fact the elite lines would tend to move faster because the people in it are more used to traveling, and also this whole debate isn’t as much about rich vs. poor but frequent (generally business) travelers vs infrequent (generally leisure) travelers.
Well whatever, I’m just going to continue enjoying the shorter elite lines at airports 🙂
Via MMS and Mommy Points, the Frequent Traveler University registration is now open. I have not attended this event before, but it sounds very similar to last year’s Chicago Seminars. Since I now live fairly close to NYC and enjoyed meeting people at the Chicago Seminars (as well as during AA mileage runs in January), I am planning to attend this event! 🙂
I’ve been a bit preoccupied with a video game addiction. A lot of fun but a lot of time sunk in. I have still been watching airline and frequent flyer news, and have a few things queued up…so lets start with this. I came across an article on CNBC about airline competition in Asia, in the context of the Singapore Air Show that happened last week. There’s been various low cost airline launches recently, with Air Asia expanding to new markets, and Qantas and also ANA launching low cost carriers (ANA appear to be competing with itself?). Anyway, also of note is how much of the worldwide airline profit Asia brings in. With the growth of various countries in that region, it’s likely to become even more skewed that way in the future.