American Airlines Charges for Front Row Seats
American Airlines (AMR Corp.) already charges for checked bags, priority boarding, booking on the phone , unaccompanied minors, pets and other so-called amenities.
Now the airline, the country’s second largest after Delta, is charging between $19 and $35 (depending on the length of flight) for front row seats in coach, those few rows known as bulkhead seats. These are not exit row seats; they’re the seats located after the wall or curtain that separates one class of travel from another, or from a lavatory.
They’re supposed to be more comfortable and roomy because with no seats in front of the passenger, no one can recline back into that space.
But, reports the Associated Press in an interview with Steven Hall of Compareairfares.com, the specific configuration of American Airlines’ seats doesn't give bulkhead passengers as much leg room as other airlines.
So why pay the extra fee, again?
The so-called “Express Seats” fee will allow those passengers to board in the first general boarding group of passengers, a big plus for many travelers, especially in the fight for overhead storage space.
And another big plus is the ease of exiting and entering the assigned seat and row.
The a la cart fees or as some call it, the “nickel and diming” of passengers, is apparently paying off for the airlines, because they collected about $1.9 billion from fees in the first quarter, the most recent period for which data is available from the Transportation Department.
American's share of that was $261.1 million.Continued on the next page