Back in the old days, comfortable airline seats came free with your fare. Now you have to pay extra for them. Here's what's on offer.


What's it called?


What you get


Who gets automatic upgrades?

Available on all flights?

 Where/when to purchase


Choice Express Seats

Per flight segment, varies with route and length of flight

Seating in "first few rows" of economy and Group 1 (i.e., early) boarding


Active duty military and their family members traveling on the same reservation, customers traveling on a Y or B fare

All travelers on flights operated and marketed by American Airlines and American Eagle

 Only at self service check in machines, 50 mins. to 24 hrs. before flight


Economy Comfort

 Cost varies with route and length of flight. Gold Medallions and their travel companions will receive a 50 percent discount; and Silver Medallions and their travel companions will receive a 25 percent discount, respectively from the published one-way fee.

4 inches extra legroom, priority boarding; free adult beverages


Diamond and Platinum Medallion members and those with Y, B, and M class fares.

Long haul international flights only

At time of purchase of economy fare or at online check in.


Stretch Seating

From $15 each way, each segmen

 Up to 5 inches of extra legroom, plus exit row seating


Free for those purchasing "Classic Plus" fares

 All flights

 At time of purchase or check in, online, by phone or at airport


Even More Room

 Varies by length of flight (typically $10-$80 per flight)

 Up to 36 inches of legroom, early boarding, priority TSA lines at some airports

 Yes, unless you're a no-show


 All flights

 At time of purchase online or by phone


Big Front Seat

 Varies by length of flight and route

 2 by 2 seating in first few rows, extra legroom, early boarding



 All flights

 At time of purchase


Economy Plus

Varies by length of flight, route; annual option from $425 (from $499 effective Jan 2012)

 Up to 5 inches extra legroom, seats at front of economy class


Mileage Plus elite members and Continental OnePass elite members qualify for complimentary Economy Plus seating on every flight with an Economy Plus section.

All mainline jets plus many regional jets worldwide

 At time of purchase or at check in by kiosk or with agent

US Airways

Choice Seats

Varies by length of flight and route

 Window and aisle seats near front of economy class; may include exit row seats

 Under some circumstances but not if you change or cancel flights

"Preferred" frequent flyers

 Except US Airways Shuttle

 At time of purchase up until check in by phone, in person, or kiosk

Virgin America

Main Cabin Select

 Varies by length of flight and route; cheaper upgrades available 6 hours before flight

 Exit row and bulk head seats with extra legroom; free food, drinks, in flight entertainment

Yes under some circumstances


 All flights

 At time of purchase by phone, online or in person; up until time of check in.

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