American Airlines updates policy for customers requiring extra space

American Airlines updates policy for customers requiring extra space“For the safety and comfort of all customers, we have aligned our seating accommodation policies with other major airlines regarding customers who may require more than one seat,” reads the webpage outlining the changes to American’s policy. As American Airlines and US Airways work to integrate the two airlines, they are making policy changes that align with other carriers, this is such a case.

The new policy is as follows:

“If the passenger requires a seat belt extension and their body extends more than one (1) inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest, another seat would be required.”

The old policy simply required that the passenger be capable of lowering the armrest(s) without his body impeding.

If you meet the abovementioned criteria, American offers two possible solutions.

  1. At booking: A reservations representative will ensure that you receive two adjacent seats at the same rate for each seat.
  2. At the airport: If you have not booked an extra seat in advance, you will need to speak with an airport agent as soon as possible. If seats are available in your ticketed cabin, you may be accommodated in the same cabin next to an empty seat. However, that additional seat must be available without downgrading or unseating another customer.
    • If time allows, and upon payment of the fare difference, you may be offered a seat in a higher class of service that may provide more space.
    • If no space is available you may purchase a second seat on a different flight at the airport.

Keep in mind that not all flight attendants may enforce the policy. Some may be fine with you taking up another passengers seat (unless they complain). Others may force you to move to another seat or purchase a second seat.

In general, I am okay with this policy because it isn’t fair to the other passenger whose space is being violated and who paid for their ticket just as the person whom cannot properly fit within their assigned seat.

Your thoughts/opinion on the matter?

Read American’s policy for yourself

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  1. Are all seatbelts supposed to be the same length in a certain class of service? I never need a seatbelt extension, but on a US Airways flight the other day (economy) there was no way to get the buckle fastened without one. I have flown 5 flights on the airline this year and this was the first one requiring an extension. My body does not extend beyond the armrest.

    1. I do think that seat belts are sized depending on the size of the seat you’re in. The smaller the aircraft (and cabin) the smaller the seat belt.

  2. Damn right! Ain’t nobody want no fat person’s rolls taking up their seat on the plane. That seat – the space is paid for, and reserved for each and every customer, and not for other customers to encroach upon.

  3. The seatbelt extension part is a little odd, you can hold it closed if it doesn’t clasp to fool a flight attendant which is unsafe. This just gives a passenger an incentive to employ this risky behavior. I think this can mostly be resolved by giving the passenger of size an aisle seat (so they can lean out) or, at worst, sit them next to a very small person who doesn’t use the entire width.

    To me, encroaching on another seat is no different than reclining on a plane. IN an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen as your invading someone else limited space, but it only occurs because of the airlines insistence of cramming in as many seats as possible into the plane.

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