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American Airlines last week became the third legacy U.S. carrier with international service to open up its premium economy cabins for award bookings. The new availability turns a page on the product’s full rollout across American, Delta, and United. After over two years of announcements, launches, and cabin upgrades, air carriers now have enough premium economy inventory in the sky to feel comfortable integrating award availability into flight searches.
Interestingly, American’s launch last week was the only time in which a carrier has been forthright with the baseline cost for premium economy award seats. In 2015, Delta pulled its award chart off of Delta.com in an effort to experiment more with the dynamic price of seats — a passenger-unfriendly move. Since then, United has also been cagey about award prices.
Only American seems to be willing to tell passengers how much a premium economy award seat should cost — and ostensibly, when they’re getting ripped off. That’s good news for frequent flyers on the airline in general, but it’s going to take a lot more work to get the carrier’s dismal customer satisfaction metrics out of the dumps.
— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor
Skift Stories and More Expert Insight
Alaska Airlines Works Fast to Erase Memories of Virgin America: Alaska Airlines is getting close to squeezing out the last vestiges of Virgin America, just about two years after closing an acquisition that made it the fifth-largest U.S. airline.
American Airlines Has a Customer Satisfaction Problem: For the first time in recent history, a key American Airlines customer satisfaction metric dropped, year-over-year, an executive admitted Thursday.
Asian Airlines Turn to Super Business Suites Rather Than First Class: When Malaysia Airlines added its first Airbus A350-900 about a year ago, Airbus hailed it as the first carrier to install first class on the new jet, outfitting its cabin with four seats, each with privacy doors. But there was a problem.
Southwest CEO: We Won’t Introduce Basic Economy: While the big three U.S. network airlines — Delta, United, and American — have introduced a no-frills basic economy product that generally comes with no seat selection or early boarding, and JetBlue plans to do so, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly flatly ruled it out.
American Airlines Opens Premium Economy Award Booking to Fill a Gap: American Airlines has become the third of the three big U.S. legacy carriers to open up award availability for its international premium economy cabins. Unlike its competitors, however, American intends to share the listed prices of the award seats.
British Airways Rules Out Further Norwegian Offer: International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has distanced itself from making any more bids for low-cost rival Norwegian.
Bonjour, Bonvoy: Marriott, SPG Cards Getting New Names, Perks: When Marriott International announced it would rebrand its loyalty program as Marriott Bonvoy on Feb. 13, it was clear that changes to the Marriott- and SPG-branded card portfolios would follow.
Southwest Airlines: Hawaii Flights Likely Delayed for Months: Southwest Airlines’ long-awaited flights to Hawaii may launch by the end of the first quarter if the U.S. government opens — and stays open.
Lufthansa Devaluing Award Chart Effective May 9: Effective May 9, Lufthansa is making changes to its award chart. You can book at old rates until that time. In general, premium cabin awards are going up around 6 percent or so, which isn’t terrible relative to trends in much of the world, and the chart has been constant for some time.
Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.