I went to book a flight from Boston to London on American Airlines, but it only shows "Premium" and "Premium Economy" seats. The "Premium Economy" seats cost business class price (~$4000) but are just economy seats with extra legroom. I do not see any option for Business class. So I go to British Airways.

British Airways offers the same flight ON AMERICAN in Business Class (meaning a large recliner seat) for $2500.

What's going on here?

  • Just hypothesis: Holiday period, so not much business passengers, and maybe good time for a revision, so using a normally medium haul (or just continental) plane. Note: contrary to Europe, it seems "America" has a low demand in summer. Commented Jul 10 at 6:43
  • 10
    What date? What flight? What interface (web, app…)? Note that sometimes on codeshares each airline will have its own quota of seats in different classes on each flight rather than share all seats.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 10 at 7:30
  • See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codeshare_agreement#Types_of_code_sharing It’s a bit surprising that AA and BA would be in a block space arrangement, but given the changes AA are making to their booking systems, anything is possible…
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 10 at 10:02
  • 4
    Is this a question or just a rant?
    – JoErNanO
    Commented Jul 10 at 11:26
  • 1
    @JoErNanO I don't think it's a rant. I'd also be generally confused as to why two operators can offer totally different options on the same flight.
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 10 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


This is ultimately just how AA displays fares:

AA booking page screenshot

  • "Premium" is business or (where available) first class
  • "Premium Economy" is basically a wider recliner (basically the same seat as "domestic first class"/"shorthaul business class"; it's not extra-legroom economy (what AA markets, at least domestically, as "Main Cabin Extra": I suspect they don't use that marketing on longhaul because the benefits beyond the seat for MCE are available on all the economy fares))

Clicking "Premium" for a flight then shows business and first (if available) options. "Premium Economy" will show the premium economy fare (as well as an upsell to business and first). "Main" will show the basic economy and regular main cabin options (and for AA-operated flights, also offer the "Main Plus" bundle, which includes earlier boarding, an extra checked bag, and an extra-legroom seat).

In short, it's just a UI presentation thing on AA. For instance, one can contrast this with Delta's 5 column layout:

Delta booking screenshot

Note that AA/British/Iberia/Aer Lingus and Delta/Virgin/Air France/KLM (as well as United/Lufthansa/Swiss/Brussels/Austrian) are respectively anti-trust immunized joint ventures, meaning (among other things) they set fares together, though each marketing carrier maintains their own fare class inventory (e.g. the BA marketed flight may have their discount bucket available while the AA marketed same-flight might not).

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