How to Upgrade on American Airlines

By | September 24, 2011

Upgrading from coach to first or business class can make your flight much more comfortable and enjoyable. There are several ways to receive an upgrade on American Airlines: You may may receive a complimentary upgrade, purchase an upgrade, or use frequent flyer miles to acquire an upgrade.

How to Upgrade on American Airlines

If you are an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, you can simply request a complimentary upgrade. Gold members may request an upgrade if the original ticket was a full fare economy class ticket. Available upgrades depend on seat availability.

If you do not quality for free upgrades, you may purchase an upgrade. American Airlines sells upgrades in 500-mile segments. You may purchase these online, over the phone or at check-in. You will need to purchase one upgrade per 500 miles and for each flight segment.

American Airlines allows most passengers to transfer their tickets from one flight to another prior to departure. Restrictions and fees depend on the fare class booked, the reason for the change, the availability of alternate flights and even the customer’s specific needs. It is important to note that American Airlines typically will not allow passengers to transfer a ticket to another person, especially amid an era of tighter security. In most cases, you will have to pay a fee to change your ticket in any way.

American Airlines usually will not allow you to transfer a ticket booked in your name to another person. However, if you cancel your ticket (which will incur a fee of about $150 depending on the fare class originally booked), you will receive a credit, which you can use to book a new ticket in the name of the new passenger. Call the airline at 918-254-3777 or go to and follow the instructions to cancel your ticket and book the new one. If you book the new ticket over the phone, you may have to pay an additional fee of $20 or more. Tickets booked in cheaper fare classes will typically incur a fee for changes or cancellations.

It is easiest to change full-fare tickets, which are often referred to as unrestricted or refundable. Call the airline at 918-254-3777 or go to before your flight departs to make changes to your ticket. You will not be charged a fee and are entitled to a full refund if the ticket you booked was refundable or unrestricted. These tickets are usually booked by business travelers, especially those traveling at the last minute.

With heightened security, many airline passengers become caught unawares when forced to give up items before boarding a flight. These forbidden items, which are banned for the safety of all passengers, often cause a bit of confusion for travelers when preparing their packing list. American Airlines allows most normal, household items, but bans others.

American Airlines prohibits any alcoholic beverages that are 70 percent alcohol by volume or higher on their planes. Guests may bring on items under 70 percent alcohol, which includes the majority of retail beer, wine and liquor sold on the market. If the item’s alcohol by volume percentage lies between 24 and 70, only five liters (5.3 quarts) per passenger may be brought onto the plane. The airline does not restrict alcoholic beverages under 24 percent alcohol by volume.

The airline restricts travelers from bringing aboard any explosives such as fireworks, or flares of any kind whether checked in or carried on. Guests may bring a firearm aboard, however, the item must be stored in checked luggage and must be declared during the flight check in. As of 2007, the company prohibits guests traveling to and from the United Kingdom from bringing aboard any firearms.

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How to Upgrade on American Airlines