Airline adds legroom for a price

American Airlines is offering another option to the passenger who is tired of jamming his knees into a fellow flier’s back. The carrier’s new “Main Cabin Extra” seats in coach will offer four to six inches of additional legroom.

The airline will start installing the new seating configuration across its fleet this year, the airline said.

The roomier seating will be at the front of the main coach cabins to make boarding and deplaning easier for passengers who opt for the extra legroom. Prices for customers who purchase the roomier seating will range from $8 to $108 per segment, depending on length. Passengers will be able to buy the new seats for flights aboard the new Boeing 777-300ERs in spring 2012.

Access to the option will be free for higher-level award program members and passengers who purchase full-fare economy tickets. A “significant portion” of Main Cabin Extra seats will be reserved for elite customers, the airline said in its announcement.

“Customers traveling in Main Cabin Extra seats will enjoy four to six inches of extra leg room compared to a standard main cabin seat, as well as priority boarding privileges,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer, in a statement. “We continue to provide our customers with choices that enable them to customize their travel on American to be the experience they desire and value.”

Upgrades and purchase of the new seats will be available from the time of booking until check-in, according to CNN.

American will continue to offer Preferred Seats, desirable seats near the front of the main coach cabin, which are complimentary for elite fliers and available for purchase by other customers.