I’m looking at a flight later today that has only two first class seats for sale:
(There’s one confirmable upgrade [A] seat and no discounted first class [P] seats that American will sell.)
11 out of 16 first class seats are open on the seat map:
To be sure, the seat map is not a perfect approximation of availability. There can be people in a cabin without seat assignment. That’s more often true for international flights than domestic, and domestically in coach than first class, but it’s true.
Today there was bad weather going through Dallas, including a ground stop.
That doesn’t come close to explaining this, however.
- The flight showed up the same way prior to day.
- I frequently see American Airlines flights where they will not sell any first class seats (“F0”) but the cabin has not been sold to capacity, such as only 12 or 14 out of 16 seats taken.
I really like that American does not release all first class seats as upgrades prior to the gate. When seats are unsold they do not because automatic upgrades when the check-in window opens. That means if I change flights, or buy last minute tickets, I still have a shot at an upgrade. If a flight is delayed or cancelled, I’m the victim of irregular operations, that doesn’t consign me to coach. In fact most of the time under those circumstances I’ve still gotten the upgrade at the gate.
It makes sense why they would not give away the last first class seats the way some other airlines do. It doesn’t make sense why they would not be willing to sell the last first class seats.
I’ve noticed this on departures from Dallas, rather than flights to Dallas, although I cannot say I’ve analyzed this definitively. My assumption then based on little data was that they held a few first class seats back in case of irregular operations, to accommodate paid first class passengers who might have been displaced earlier in the day. Dallas departures might make extra sense, where passengers could be connecting from other flights.
Still, there’s no story I can come up with to explain why 11 seats would be open on the seat map for this particular flight while American is unwilling to sell a first class seat. (By the way, the flight before shows sold out in first but with more than a third of the seat map open).
Does anyone have insight? It’s a situation I’ve been noodling on since this morning to no avail.