When American changes from a legacy Boeing 737-800 to a retrofitted ‘Oasis’ plane with a different configuration, most passengers keep the same seat numbers even though those seats are completely different.
You might have purchased a premium or Main Cabin Extra seat and won’t be in one of those seats anymore – which largely seems like a fail on American Airlines’ part.
Reader Devin B. writes,
[I]n the past couple of weeks I’ve had 3 cases where I had an exit row seat selected on an American 737 but when I boarded they had changed equipment and I no longer had an exit row. The standard 738-800 exit rows are 14 and 15, but they are 16 and 17 on the new oasis configuration. If they change equipment between those types, then you lose your main cabin extra seat, even if you have status or paid extra for it.
When I am upgraded I always prefer seat 4E on the Boeing 737-800. That’s an aisle seat in the second row. I don’t want the bulkhead (no underseat storage) and I don’t want the last row.
I’m a creature of habit. Recently I wasn’t paying attention, I had seat 4E, so I sat down in the second row of first class as I always do. Only I had sat down in 2E because it was an Oasis’d plane and my assigned 4E was now the last row of first class. Embarrassing!
You can find the ‘tail’ or specific aircraft assigned to your flight about two days prior to departure at FlightRadar24.com. And you can look up that specific aircraft at the unofficial American Airlines fleet site. If you’re on a Boeing 737-800 you can see if it’s got 160 seats or 172 seats, if it has the new larger space bins or traditional bins, to tell if you’re on an Oasis’d plane.
You can also just look up the seat map within 24-48 hours of departure to see whether the configuration of your plane has changed, and what kind of seat you’re in. Of course that close to departure there usually aren’t very many options left.