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I flew American Airlines in economy on both ends of my roundtrip to Asia, which was more than adequate. The airline provides some “perks” to active duty military members. I am not sure that many people know about these benefits so I felt it was my duty to explain my experience.
I had three flights in American Airlines “complimentary” economy seats. These seats are the least desirable on the aircraft as they are often in the very back and are in the middle seat. These seats usually board in Group 6 or later. To get out of these seats, American charges a fee to upgrade. The fees can a few dollars to almost $100 for bulkhead and exit row seats.
Here is where the American Airlines active duty military benefits come into play. I was moved to Main Cabin Extra on all three flights. I was given my choice of available seats at check in. During boarding, I boarded with Group 1, instead of Group 6. That gave me access to more than enough overhead bin space. During my layover in Boston, I ventured to the Admiral’s Club to pay for a day pass, but was granted entry for FREE (the price for a day pass was $59).
Here is the list of the active duty military benefits (from my experience):
- Complimentary checked bags (up to three for leisure travel)
- Upgrade to Main Cabin Extra Seats at check in (subject to availability)
- Boarding in Group 1 (it does not matter if you are in uniform)
- Complimentary Admiral’s Club access (plus two adult guests and three children under 18 years of age)
Thank you American Airlines for the hospitality. I appreciated the gestures and kindness from the gate agents at DFW, Charlotte, and Boston. While I am not an American Airlines loyalist, this might have change my mind a bit.