American Airlines Flight Attendants Warned Not to Give Coach the "Premium" Experience

The carrier doesn't want crew to offer perks to those who aren't paying extra for them.

Flying is typically an expensive endeavor, which is why so many of us opt for the cheaper coach seats on a flight to lower the cost. Sure, they might call it "economy" now—but a name change doesn't stop us from being envious of the extra room, better food, and other perks afforded to those in first class. There's always hope that a little luck or kindness to the cabin crew will allow us to reap some of those first-class benefits—but American Airlines is now advising flight attendants against it. Read on to find out why the carrier wants to make sure coach passengers don't get the "premium" experience.

RELATED: Travelers Are Boycotting Southwest Over New Boarding Change.

American Airlines offers two economy classes.

Passengers aboard an American Airlines flight from Washington, DC to Phoenix, AZ, September 9, 2018.
Shutterstock

American Airlines technically has two choices when it comes to economy seating: Basic Economy or Premium Economy. In terms of pricing, the Basic Economy fare is the carrier's cheapest option. The Premium Economy fare, on the other hand, is described as "an elevated travel experience" for economy passengers on American Airlines flights.

"A Premium Economy ticket includes special amenities with seats behind Flagship, Business, or First," the airline explains on its website.

In other words, you don't have to buy a first-class ticket just to get some extra perks on an American Airlines flight. Compared to Basic Economy, the Premium Economy option offers several additional benefits, including wider seats, free entertainment, chef-inspired dining, travel amenity kits, and sleep sets.

And now, American Airlines is cracking down on flight attendants spreading the wealth.

RELATED: The Last U.S. Airline to Offer First Class Is Getting Rid of It.

The airline is warning flight attendants against giving Premium perks to Basic Economy passengers.

Two stewardess walk through escalator or quick movie stairs on airport lobby or station with suitcases.
Shutterstock

If you've sat in the Basic Economy section, you might have experienced some generosity from American Airlines flight attendants when it comes to certain Premium-only perks. But the carrier is now putting its foot down.

In a Nov. 7 post on X, aviation watchdog @xJonNYC posted a memo that American Airlines allegedly sent to its flight attendants, warning them not to go above and beyond for the passengers in its least expensive seating section.

"Please refrain from offering Premium Cabin amenities/service items (i.e. pillows, blankets, amenity kits, and certain food items) to customers who are not seated in a Premium Cabin," the memo states.

RELATED: Plane Passenger Shows How Extreme Turbulence Hits Different in First Class.

This is meant to ensure consistency.

Chicago, IL, USA - July 17, 2017: American Airlines fleet of airplanes with passengers at O'Hare Airport passing through corridor.
iStock

According to the memo, these restrictions are about a "commitment to ensuring a consistent customer experience."

Best Life reached out to American Airlines about the notice, and we will update this story with its response.

Some travelers have already expressed their frustration with the new warning. "Translation: 'Please don't make flying economy any better than the absolute minimum since we want to continue to lose customers to other airlines," one X user replied.

Another wrote, "Did they also put a memo saying that Premium Cabin passengers should get consistent service throughout the flight instead of sitting in the galley playing Candy Crush?"

American Airlines previously told flight attendants to make sure passengers aren't moving seats.

crowded american airlines flight
Samuel Ponce / Shutterstock

During less full flights, passengers sometimes get up and change seats once the doors close. But in Nov. 2022, American Airlines sought to crack down on this practice as well, View From The Wing reported.

At the time, JonNYC shared another memo from the airline to its flight attendants, telling them that they should police passengers trying to move up from regular coach seats to the extra legroom seats in Main Cabin Extra.

"It's not unusual for Main Cabin (MC) customers to ask to change seats after they've boarded the aircraft—to sit next to a family member or get out of a middle seat, for instance. However, customers may not be familiar with our seat change policy; particularly when it comes to Main Cabin Extra (MCE) seats," the memo reads. "While you may allow a customer to move to an available Main Cabin seat after boarding is complete, they're not permitted to move into an MCE seat unless they are booked in that class. So, if a customer asks to move to a seat in a different seat classification (i.e., MC ot MCE, MCE to First, etc.) politely decline their request unless there is a customer service or regulatory conflict present."

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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