We Flew Like Frequent Flyers (Which We’re Not) On American For One Flight. What’s Different?

When Sharon and I fly, we’re usually sitting somewhere in the back half of the airplane because I’m too cheap to pay for a better seat and we have no status to allow us to get the better seat assignments. There was the one exception this year when I paid way too many miles for a last-minute seat on a Delta flight and ended up getting upgraded to a Comfort Plus seat, but that was just a lucky break. However there was one flight this year where I knew we were going to get a better seat, unless it was taken away from us. The flight home from New York on the Monday after Thanksgiving on American Airlines.

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How To Understand Airline Seat Class Names

Have you ever felt like this when booking airfare? “I’d like to book a seat in Basic Premium Extra Plus Comfort Class that includes exit row seat assignments but without an extra carry on bag.”

Knowing what class of airline seat you were buying didn’t used to be hard. There were only two or maybe three classes to choose from. First Class. Business Class and Coach. Yep, that’s Coach. Not Economy. Not Main Cabin. Not Core. Just plain old Coach. And do you know what? Everyone was fine with that. No one was complaining that the names were inappropriate. You knew what class you were in and everyone was happy.

Flash forward to today and there are numerous names differentiating the seat choices offered by each airline. None of the names are the same and names that happen to be similar can still mean very different seat types. American Airlines leads the pack with eight different types of categories. United follows closely behind with seven and Delta has six. Southwest Airlines is the easiest to understand, as they only have one class of seat which they don’t even bother to give a name 🙂

Here’s my attempt to make sense of all of these names, from top to bottom.

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