Travel Tip of the Day: American Airlines Seating Tip

JJ AAAmerican Airlines Seating Tip
I just learned a little trick on American Airlines’ website (I’m not sure if it works for other airlines). When I was checking my dad in online for our flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the seating chart was only showing seats available for purchase, and none for free. Like a fool, I guess, I hadn’t assigned him a seat when I originally booked his ticket, and since he now needed a seat, it seemed we would have to pay.

But instead of plopping down my credit card for a $28 seat next to me in the exit row (which I get for free since I have elite status), on an hour-long flight, I pressed our luck. Sure enough, by simply not choosing a seat and boarding without a seat, he was assigned one of the available seats in the premium section for no extra charge. 

 

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Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

10 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: American Airlines Seating Tip"

  1. Am I missing something? When did AA assign your Dad the seat? On line when you checked in and then it assigned you a seat upon completion of the check in? Or at the Airport at the Gate?

  2. So you skip seat selection during reservation purchase and then during online checking you skip it again and hope for the best?

  3. When my daughters, who are elite, travel on USAIR or United usually, their companions always get upgraded with them.

  4. From my experience you would not have been given the seat when you purchased the ticket. But, 24 hours before the flight, AA frees up all the seats and you can make a selection then.

  5. uncomprehensible ! who is travelling? you or your Dad ?

  6. American is really crappy here. I often find that – when I purchase my ticket – the only available seats shown are the “upgrade” seats – though sometimes seats open up close to day of flight. You can choose one or, as JJ did, try your luck. I did pay for the upgraded seats so my family of three would be sure to sit together. Sure enough, at the gate, the agent offered those same upgraded seats free to anyone who wanted to move so that families could sit together. When I asked – several times – they refused to refund what I paid for that privilege. Tried again, trusting to luck when flying with my dad. We got random seats when we checked in, but the gate agent was happy to arrange seats so he could sit next to me, no upgrade needed. To clarify, though, did your dad BOARD without a seat, or was he assigned one when he checked in at the airport?

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