Previously, American Airlines has not been well known for providing a high-end domestic product. I have heard many people say that they will avoid flying American at all costs, not knowing if they will get an almost new 737-800 with Boeing Sky Interior or a dated MD-80 aircraft (for the record, I love flying on the MD-80s).
American has ready started renewing the interiors of some of their older Boeing 757s and pre-Sky Interior 737s. All these improvements are great, but what about their plans for the over 400 aircraft that they currently have on order?
The airline has started givingus an inside look at their future plans for the interiors of some of their aircraft. While we have already seenÂ mock-ups for their new Boeing 777-300ER, I think the most interesting thing about this newest information is theirÂ transcontinentalÂ Airbus A321, which has a three (and a half) class layout.
That’s right… three (and a half) classes on a domestic, single aisle aircraft. And we aren’t talking “here is an extra 3 inches of legroom,” class, we are talking lay-flat seats in both first and business class here. Between New York’s JFK and San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX), American will run the A321 with 10 first class seats in a 1-1 layout, 20 seats in business class in a 2-2 layout, 36 Main Cabin Extra seats (economy with a few extra inches of legroom) in a 3-3 layout and finally 36 Main Cabin seats with a 3-3 layout.
“We intend to be the only airline to offer a three-class service and the first to offer fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats on transcontinental flights with our Airbus A321 transcontinental aircraft,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s Chief Commercial Officer. “By using the A321 aircraft with three classes of service and outfitted with fully lie-flat premium class seats, all-aisle access in First Class, and state-of-the-art amenities, we will be able to continue providing an industry-leading premium experience on transcontinental routes, while significantly reducing costs through improved fuel efficiency.”
Each seat will also have its own seat-back entertainment system, power outlets and access to Wi-Fi.
The big question I have is — will this actually all happen? Based on what we are seeing with their product concepts, American is heading in a great direction. A bunch of new aircraft on order, plans to offer a top of the line domestic product and the motivation to make it happen.
Of course, the two big elephants in the room are: #1 the airline is in bankruptcy and #2 there is a good chance that American and US Airways will merge. Both of these things could have a huge impact on the future of American Airlines. No matter what happens, I hope that the “new” American (whatever that will mean) sticks to this plan. They need to have a product that can compete with newer airlines, like Virgin America. Good luck American — I hope to be able to test one of these new domestic products soon.
ADDITIONAL AMERICAN AIRLINES PHOTOS: