When I first saw the pictures of the seats American looked to be selecting for their new premium economy product, I was definitely enthused. The picture showed a seat with a proper footrest attached to the seat:
I was mostly enthused because the seat didn’t appear to have the tiny footrest I experience in British Airways’ premium economy (World Traveller Plus) earlier this year.
What I quickly found out about that footrest was that it doesn’t have much in the way of traction. So, if you’re trying to “put your feet up” to take a nap, you’re unlikely to be able to keep your feet there while sleeping. Maybe this is a nit, but I think there’s a sizable difference between a fold-down footrest and one that’s attached to the seat and extends underneath your feet. That’s why I was a bit disappointed when I saw this second picture:
Zoomed in a bit more, here’s that footrest in the 2nd and 3rd rows:
The footrest appears to be a bit higher off the ground than the BA version. That could be better or worse, not sure. Regular followers of my blog will know I’m a bit of an AA fanboy. Clearly, I’m not a fan of rows 2 or 3 in premium economy here. And, I’m overall a bit concerned about the possibilities this opens up relative to upgrade instruments (SWUs, miles). The BA seat was very uncomfortable because it offered no back support (and, I’m not a big dude that needs a ton of support). And, since that seat seems to be going away, I’ll hope American does a better job spec’ing the quality of the seat than it appears BA did.
Until we get some actual experience with this new product, those booking premium economy will need to focus on one key strategy. It looks like seat selection will absolutely be the key to comfort in AA’s premium economy.
View From The Wing has pictures of what a sample meal service will look like in premium economy, which is nice. And, the AA website shows off a nice touchscreen, similar to that on the new Airbus planes AA is flying here and there.
But, comfort is my number 1 priority on long flights. I can deal with bad food and uninspiring in-flight entertainment (solution: bring your own IFE).
If I do find myself booking this product in the future, I’ll be sure to select my seat early.