American Airlines Unveils Another International Premium Economy Route

Apr 11, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In October 2016, American Airlines first debuted its brand-new premium economy product on flights between Dallas (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX). Ever since these Boeing 787-9s were reassigned to international routes on November 3, LAX hasn’t seen scheduled service of AA’s newest Dreamliners. That’s set to change this summer; American Airlines’ sixth international 787-9 Dreamliner route is launching August 4 between Los Angeles (LAX) and Tokyo, Japan (NRT).

Let’s take this chance to review when and where the 787-9 will be flying — and how you can try out AA’s newest business class and premium economy products.

Routes

Currently, there are four routes being serviced by American Airlines’ fleet of six Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. All four of these routes are based in Dallas (DFW), but Chicago (ORD) and LAX are getting some premium economy love later this year. Here are the routes that have — or will have — premium economy service:

  • Dallas (DFW) — Madrid (MAD)
  • Dallas (DFW) — Paris (CDG)
  • Dallas (DFW) — São Paulo (GRU)
  • Dallas (DFW) — Seoul (ICN)
  • Chicago (ORD) — Paris (CDG) — starting July 5
  • Los Angeles (LAX) — Tokyo (NRT) — starting August 4
AA 789 PE routes
The current and future American Airlines premium economy routes. Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper.

Premium Economy Class of Service

While you can currently fly premium economy on four international routes, American Airlines’ premium economy class of service doesn’t officially launch until May 4. Confusing enough? For the time being, American Airlines is working out the bugs on its premium economy service. So, it’s treating its international premium economy seats and service as part of the regular economy cabin for another few weeks.

If you’re an American Airlines elite, this is a golden opportunity — but it’s about to expire. Now through May 3, you can fly on one of the four existing routes (DFW-MAD, DFW-CDG, DFW-GRU, DFW-ICN) and select a premium economy seat when you book an economy ticket. As these seats are designated as Main Cabin Extra, non-elite members will have to pay extra to select these seats. The cost for these MCE upgrades can be steep (up to $211 one-way), so this option is best for American Airlines Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum members — who can select MCE seats for free.

Status of Upgrades

As it currently stands, you’ll still be able to use systemwide upgrades (SWU) to upgrade from economy to business class on flights that have premium economy class of service. AA hasn’t announced when it’ll let travelers upgrade from economy to premium economy, noting “AAdvantage awards and upgrades into Premium Economy aren’t available now, but will be at a later date.”

While some may be looking forward to using miles to book premium economy, it’s concerning to us Executive Platinum elites that AA follows that statement with the following: “Until then, you can upgrade to Business from Main Cabin and Premium Economy using your AAdvantage miles or systemwide upgrades” (emphasis added). It’ll be quite a blow to the value of a SWU if this transition marks the end of SWUs bypassing premium economy.

Have you flown in AA’s new premium economy cabin?

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.