Over the weekend American upgraded their website and introduced a new online seat selection process, new seat maps, and the new marketing term “Preferred Plus”.
For a while now, these were the step you followed when making an online reservation at AA.com: choose your flight, provide passenger information, then hold or purchase your reservation. To that process, they’ve added a new step that allows you to select your seat:
There are two versions of the new seat map, one visibile to AAdvantage members with elite status, the other visible to everyone else. Just like most other airlines, American has long reserved certain seats for their most frequent flyers, and passengers without elite status haven’t been able to choose those seats. Last year, American started making these “Express Seats” available to the general public for a price. Now these premium seats are being referred to as “Preferred Plus” on seat maps displayed to AAdvantage Gold, Platinum, and Executive Platinum members: Here’s a look:
Here’s how the same seat map appears to those without status, note the term “Preferred Plus” isn’t displayed:
At the moment, there isn’t the option to purchase these seats during the reservation process, but it’s a safe bet to speculate that soon it will be possible. American hasn’t made any official announcements, but the usually accurate source that moderates that American Airlines discussion in the Traveling Better forum has posted details that support the idea. And as you might expect, the discussion over at milepoint and Flyertalk has already begun.