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American Airlines' 'Express Seat' outrage
In the escalating effort to squeeze more income out of each flight, American is charging up to $35 extra for front-row coach seats. Will anyone pay?
 
The Express Seat option allows those who are willing to pay to board early, sit up front, and get off the plane first.
The Express Seat option allows those who are willing to pay to board early, sit up front, and get off the plane first.
Corbis

American Airlines is offering coach-class passengers a chance to board early, sit up front, and get off the plane first — for a fee. The Express Seat option will be available on domestic journeys for $19 to $39 per flight to travelers who sign in at self-serve kiosks. Though American isn't the only airline that's looking for novel ways to charge more cash for "extras," will their passengers embrace this option, or rebel?

This will only peeve fliers: American thinks it's being smart, says Omri Ceren at Jaunted.com, but passengers are growing weary of "nickle-and-dime" add-on fees. They just make people feel exploited, and that's not how you create customer loyalty.
"American Airlines adds fee for special coach seats that aren't so special"

It stings, but it might be worth it: A seat up front may not seem that valuable, says SeatGuru.com founder Matt Daimler as quoted in The Washington Post. However, competition for overhead-bin space is getting fierce as "more and more passengers try to avoid the checked-bag fee" by carrying everything on board. Coughing up a little extra to get first crack at those bins might make sense.
"Coming and going"

There are cheaper ways to board early: This is actually just one of "a suite of Your Choice options from American," says Mary Forgione at the Los Angeles Times. If $39 is too steep, American will let you board early (but forgo the front-row seat) for $10 each way. These pricing complexities can be frustrating, but remember — these are options. If it's not worth it to you, don't pay.
"American Airlines rolls out $19-to-$39 fee for front seats in coach"

 

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