American’s ‘Preferred Seat’ Allocation a Bit Excessive?

Besides booking a ride on the United 787 today, I’m also looking into future travels on American Airlines. Happily, I’m Executive Platinum due to their very generous status match of United 1Ks (I was Gold before the match). And while I enjoy complimentary access to American’s “Preferred Seats,†I never really paid attention until now as to just how many seats are allocated as such.

This first example is a 737-800. If you’re looking for an aisle seat and don’t have status, you better book early or be prepared to pay. There are only a couple of additional rows beyond row 27.

a screenshot of a map

Below is a 767-200 operating on the JFK to Los Angeles or San Francisco flights. Yes, a truly premium market, but if you’re looking for a window, you’d better book early.

a screenshot of a mapFor me, it’s a moot point with my status, but I see how frustrating it can be for a non-elite or families. And it could definitely impact who I book using my miles. I’ve been critical of United lately (who hasn’t), but the perk of having my status transfer over to travelers flying on my miles is a great one.

My parents just returned from a nice vacation in Alaska and I booked them using my United miles. They enjoyed the perks of flying under my status, including free checked bag allowances, priority security & boarding, economy plus on the way up and first class on the way back.

Now I love American Airlines, but are they taking this a little too far? Will it get worse once Main Cabin Extra rolls out? Is this simply the growing trend of ancillary fees? Have I asked enough questions? (I’m annoying myself.)

With that, I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.

P.S. I do love you, American… please don’t move my seat on my flight with you tomorrow. 😉

Related posts:

I DO Have a Complaint About American Airlines!

Why an American-US Airways Merger Worries Me

Yet Another Gift From American Airlines



  1. I think if anything UA’s system is broken that it allows those without status to take away seats from those that have status because their system is so terrible that the FF number stays in the reservation… OK AA has a lot of blocked seats maybe too many, but as soon as UA can figure out a way to pull the FF number out of gifted mileage awards it will happen so they can pick up those lost fees.

  2. I agree, I think it is a bit much to allocate half the seats in coach as preferred. I do most of my flying on AA 737-800s, and I haven’t been able to get used to seeing the sea of purple.

  3. @Scott: Yeah, I’d have to agree that United does NOT want it to work the way it does right now. I’d also have to think the amount of passengers traveling on someone else’s miles on any given flight is enormously low, fwiw.

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