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American Airlines is launching a seat category for international flights that offers passengers more space and more perks than economy (free alcohol, to name one) but at a lower price than business class.

If you enjoy the extra room and passenger perks that come with a business class seat on American Airlines, but don’t want – or can’t afford – to pony up for the extra airfare, you may want to check out American’s new premium economy seats.

According to American, these seats will be available on international wide-body planes in late 2016. The new seats, which will be behind the business class passengers, offer passengers a step up from economy without the business class airfare.

“Business class has become so nice that people want to pay for something more comfortable but they can’t afford business class,” Seth Kaplan, managing partner for the trade publication Airline Weekly, told the Los Angeles Times.

American said its new premium economy seats will be wider and offer fliers more leg room, free alcoholic beverages, personal on-demand entertainment and Wi-Fi, noise-reducing headphones, priority check-in and boarding, two free checked bags and enhanced meal service.

The Fort Worth-based airline already offers “main cabin extra” seats, which are roomier than economy seats but don’t come with the extra perks of premium economy. Delta and United also offer similar roomier seats.

With the addition of its new seats, American now offers six seating categories throughout its fleet, which is more than any other U.S. airline, the LA Times reports.

“Our customers tell us they want a [another] class of service between Business Class and Main Cabin, and this feedback provided the genesis for our new Premium Economy service,” Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

Many global carriers have offered passengers enhanced premium economy seats for years, but American is the first airline to really try to bridge the gap between economy and business seats.

“The U.S. carriers are really late to the game here,” Jami Counter, senior director for flights at the travel site Tripadvisor.com, told the LA Times.

What do you think of American’s new premium economy seats? Do you purchase business or economy seats when you fly? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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