American Airlines Backtracks On Premium Economy Baggage Allowance

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I said a few weeks back that I don’t trust American Airlines any more and the airline doesn’t seem to be doing much to make me feel any better about it. American has become very adept at making announcements that only give customers half the information they need and equally adept at announcing changes to the AAdvantage program for which it then can’t give an implementation date…..but now management have gone one better. American Airlines has managed to remove a published benefit before it ever even came into force!

When American Airlines announced that it was going to be introducing a Premium Economy cabin to its long-haul fleet it announced that one of the benefits that Premium Economy passengers would have would be 2 free checked bags.

Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of the aa.com Premium Economy page from back then but I can still be confident that that’s exactly what American Airlines published:

…so I’m not imagining things.

Fast forward to the updated Premium Economy information that American Airlines released yesterday and this is what is now on aa.com (click to enlarge):

american-airlines-premium-economy-benefits

I decided to check this with the @AmericanAir Twitter team and this was what they had to say:

american-airlines-premium-economy-backtrack

I’ve got to hand it to the AA Twitter team – they reply very quickly indeed!

So the 2 bag allowance will not be coming in to effect…but that begs the question why the 1 bag allowance is being touted on aa.com as a way customers can “upgrade [their] international travel”.

A quick look at the American Airlines baggage allowance page shows that all international flights (as defined by American Airlines) have a free checked bag anyway…..

american-airlines-baggage-allowances

….so why call 1 free checked bag a feature of Premium Economy?

To be fair that’s not the only “feature” that the airline is attempting to sell as a benefit of Premium Economy – the screenshot showing the features of Premium Economy shows that power outlets and USB points at every seat are a benefit too….but it’s not much of a benefit when everyone who paid a lot less (and is sitting in the main cabin) gets the same thing:

american-airlines-787-9-main-cabin

Bottom Line

When American Airlines announced that they’d be introducing the Premium Cabin I said that I was unimpressed with what they were proposing and I’m even less impressed now.

I’ll be fascinated to see how much American Airlines will try to charge for Premium Economy (once they’ve got around to updating their systems to actually allow them to charge for it) because I’m not seeing too much that’s going to make me want to buy up to it from Main Cabin Extra….especially if I have an exit row seat.

As for the backtrack on thePremium Economy baggage allowance – I can’t say I’m too surprised even though this backtrack puts the airline at odds with what its transatlantic partner (British Airways) offers its Premium Economy travelers.

Is it a big deal that Premium Economy passengers won’t get a second bag for free? Not especially….but that’s not the point. The point is that we have yet another example of American Airlines releasing half-baked information and not thinking things through before they make announcements.

I already treat anything I hear from American Airlines with a great deal of scepticism and the airline just gave me yet another reason to continue doing so.

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