When you book a flight, one of the first things you're asked to do is choose your seat. But how do you know which seat is right for you? When traveling on a basic economy fare, you'll be assigned a seat at check-in or at the gate. The main cabin requires you to pay for advanced seat assignments or to do it for free at check-in 48 hours before departure on domestic flights or 24 hours before departure on international flights.
But if you're in the mood to get your preferred seat when booking your ticket, here's what you need to know about the different options.
The class of service you purchased
Your status with American Airlines.
If you have no status with the airline: If you have purchased First or Business class tickets, you can change your seat to any other seat within this cabin by visiting AA.com and entering your ticket locater and name.
If you’ve purchased a regular economy ticket (not a Basic Economy), you will be able to select from seats located in the rear of the aircraft. Or, you can purchase an upgrade to a seat up front (reserved for those with status) or to one that includes extra legroom (Main Cabin Extra).
If you purchase a Basic Economy ticket, you will not be able to choose your seat. You’ll typically receive your seat assignment at check-in or at the gate.
If you have Gold status and purchase a regular economy ticket, you’ll be able to sit in the priority section of economy on your flight (but not Main Cabin Extra). If you want access to the Main Cabin Extra seats, you’ll get a 50% discount, but only if there is space available 24 hours before departure.
If you have status as Platinum, Platinum Pro, or Platinum Exec (50k to 100k miles a year and $6k to $12k spend), you get free access to any upfront economy seats and MCE seats.
Basic economy still has no access regardless of status.
If you are booking basic economy tickets, you will NOT be able to select seats together unless you pay for them. Basic economy fares DO NOT INCLUDE FREE SEAT SELECTION. If you purchase tickets and are not on the same reservation or do not select seats ahead of time, that is your fault.
If your family is flying together, and you have purchased tickets for all family members, you may want to ask if the airline will be able to seat your family members together.
Remember if you want to sit together you need to purchase tickets that are on the same locator. You cannot just purchase tickets all on the same locator. What you need to do is select seats ahead of time that are together. Whether or not you have to pay for these seats depends upon what seats are available at the time of booking.
If you purchased seats ahead of time and then were split up, you definitely have a cause to complain. In this case, if you paid extra for a seat and did not sit in that seat, you can request a refund from American. But if you did not pay, did not select your seats and then as a group of 4 or 5 people expect to sit together when you go to check in, that is your fault and NOT THE AIRLINES.
Sitting in the wrong airplane seat isn't ideal for anyone; it can be a hassle to change your seat, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything about it. We provide a guide on how to solve your issue quickly on your own and also list the fastest way you can contact the airline's agents when need be.
How to Choose Seat on American Airlines
Choosing your seat on American Airlines couldn't be easier. You can do it when you buy your ticket, at the airport or online through your reservation once you've checked in. Here's how to choose your seat on American Airlines.
Choose a Seat When You Book Your Ticket
If you want to choose your seat ahead of time, the easiest way is to pick a seat when you book your ticket. The website will show you a map of available seats on the plane, and you can pick one that works for you.
Choose a Seat at the Airport
If you don't get your seat assignment in advance or if you want to change it, visit the airline's kiosk at the airport to see what's available. Selecting and changing seats is simple with the kiosk, but remember there are no guarantees that a good seat will be available when you arrive at the airport.
When you book your flight on American Airlines, you can choose your seat based on the type of experience you want to have. Whether you are looking for extra room or peace and quiet, these tips will help you pick your perfect seat.
Traveling with an infant
If you are traveling with an infant, American Airlines offers bassinets for babies under 2 years old who weigh less than 20 pounds. If you require a bassinet, call the airline after booking your flight since they are limited and can't be reserved in advance.
If you need more legroom, the best place to sit is in the exit row, which has at least 7 inches of extra legroom compared with other rows. There is a fee of $39-$99 per person for these seats, depending on the flight duration and time of year. Exit row seats also cannot be occupied by anyone under 15 years old or someone traveling with an infant.
The Main Cabin Extra section is located at the front of the economy cabin and has approximately 6 inches more legroom than other economy seats. These seats come with a fee starting at $9 per person for flights over 1 hour and 15 minutes long.
For an ordinary economy seat but with extra room to stretch out, choose a seat
Choose a Seat Online After Checking In
After checking in online and getting your boarding pass, log into American Airlines' AAdvantage website (link in Resources). Click on "My Trips" and find your reservation number. Then click "Change Seats," select the one you want and print out the new boarding pass. This option is available up until 30 minutes before departure.
Where can I see seat maps for flights?
When you book a flight operated by American Airlines, you'll see the seat map after you choose your flights.
Why couldn’t I choose seats when I booked my flights?
If you are unable to choose seats when you book, check back closer to departure or American will assign you a seat when you check in.
My flights are confirmed, why can’t I reserve my seats?
American Airlines reserves some seats until the day of departure to allow AA airport personnel to accommodate passenger needs. If you are unable to reserve a seat at the time of booking, you may get your seat when you check in for your flight.
If you want a seat closer to the front of the plane, book as early as possible. Seats become available as they are purchased by other travelers. You can visit aa.com frequently to check the seats that are still available for your flight.
What happens to my seat if there is a schedule or equipment change?
American Airlines will make every effort to reseat passengers in the same seats. When this isn’t possible, we’ll attempt to seat you in a like seat. We appreciate your cooperation when special circumstances won’t allow us to reseat you in your original assigned seat.
How to change your seat on American Airlines: Step-by-step
American Airlines allows customers to pick their seats during or after booking a flight, and those who wish to select seats before purchasing tickets may do so by following these steps:
Go to aa.com and then click on the My Trips section.
Enter the booking number and last name.
Select your booking and then look for any available seat.
Now you can pick a seat and follow the on-screen instructions.
You should be able to see a list of vacant seats with the prices inclusive
Choose the one that you prefer and then click on Continue
Here, you'll receive a prompt to pay for the seat change or upgrade. Make the payment by keying in your credit card details just as the system directs you to After payment is complete, you will get a confirmation message within a few hours