American Giveth and American Taketh Away.

The airlines have pushed the boundaries of comfort to the breaking point. 

By reducing the “pitch” on their seats in economy class, anyone even close to six feet tall is forced to sit with knees pressed against the seat back in front. For those of us living in Hawaii, that means a minimum of four hours when traveling to or from the west coast.

Then, as the legroom disappeared and the cries of outrage began echoing across the land, the airlines relented and gave us back a dozen or more rows of seats that American called Premium Economy. They went back to the original legroom, but now they cost an additional $90. 

But wait! There’s more! 

Around the middle of April, when I’ll be returning home to Maui from Los Angeles, I want to use up some of my American Airlines miles. On the day I want to fly,  American has four non-stop flights to Maui out of Los Angeles. When I tried to book the most convenient oflight, I discovered there are no Premium Economy seats available on American Airlines flights between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.

I don’t mean the seats have all been sold. They no longer exist!  There are no longer any Premium Economy seats on any American Airlines flight between the West Coast and Hawaii.  Unless you pay between $1400 and $2500 to fly first class, you’re going to spend five hours with your knees pressed against the seat back in front of you. 

I checked a couple of the other airlines serving Hawaii and they are still offering “Premium Economy” seats as an option. Until I can fly in the relative comfort of a Premium Economy seat on American Airlines again, I’m switching to a credit card that generates miles on Hawaiian Airlines. They have flights to half a dozen West Coast cities. And they have Premium Economy.