American Airlines is planning to become the only airline offering fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats and full three-class service on U.S. transcontinental flights.
Dallas/Fort Worth-based American Airlines will also install Main Cabin Extra seating, Wi-Fi, in-flight entertainment screens and a power outlet at every seat in 230 new narrowbody jets it is due to receive from Airbus and Boeing.
The aircraft form half of American’s order commitments for 460 new Airbus and Boeing jets, commitments which American announced in the summer of 2011.
American will dedicate some of its new Airbus A321s to operating transcontinental flights linking New York JFK with San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport and these aircraft will feature the new three-class cabins with First and Business Class lie-flat beds.
“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,” says Virsab 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,” says Vahidi.
American plans to take delivery of 130 current-generation Airbus A321 and Airbus A319 jets and up to 100 Boeing 737-800s through 2017.
The carrier plans to configure some of the A321s for use on transcontinental flights and intends to use the remaining A321s, as well as all of the A319s and new Boeing 737-800s, to retire aging aircraft in its existing fleet.
Designed in partnership with James Park Associates (JPA), the overall design, trim and finish of these aircraft will reflect a new look and feel for American Airlines aircraft cabins.
According to American, the interiors of these aircraft will complement the interior design scheme of the airline’s Boeing 777-300ERs and redesigned 777-200ERs to provide customers with a more consistent in-flight experience among different aircraft types.
In addition to modern interiors, these aircraft will also keep customers connected with in-flight Wi-Fi throughout the cabin; entertained with in-seat entertainment screens at every seat; and fully charged with individual 110-volt universal AC power outlets and USB jacks at every seat.
Additionally, Main Cabin Extra seating, installed on all new deliveries beginning in August 2012 on the Boeing 737-800, will offer the option of more legroom and priority boarding privileges.
The First Class cabin on each American A321 used for transcontinental flights will be outfitted with 10 fully lie-flat seats in a 1-1 configuration, giving every seat direct aisle access – a feature that no other domestic airline offers, according to American.
Customers will be able to adjust any component of the Sicma-designed, fully lie-flat seat, including the seat back, head rest and leg rest. Each lie-flat seat features a large tray table and work surface and an individual storage unit for stowing personal items. Seat controls have a more intuitive design for optimum customer comfort and simplicity.
The Business Class cabin will be outfitted with 20 fully lie-flat seats, designed by B/E Aerospace, in a 2-2 configuration.
In the main cabin the seats will be designed by Recaro and will be arranged in a 3-3 configuration. The option to purchase more legroom is available with 36 Main Cabin Extra seats and the aircraft will also offer 36 Main Cabin seats. American says it will provide more details about the Business Class and Main Cabin seats at a later date.
To ensure customers traveling from coast to coast have access to the latest in in-flight entertainment, American plans to outfit the entire aircraft with seat-to-seat chat, live text news and weather updates, 3-D moving maps, airport maps, connecting gate information, and more.
For customers traveling in the premium class cabins, a complimentary in-flight entertainment selection of up to 75 movies, more than 150 TV programs, more than 350 audio selections and up to 15 games will be available on individual 15.4-inch, HD-capable touch-screen monitors positioned in each seat. Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headsets will be available.
In the Main Cabin, every seatback will have an 8.9-inch, HD-capable touch-screen monitor with an assortment of movies, TV programs, games and audio selections.
American intends to take delivery of these aircraft from November 2013 through 2014. The A321 transcontinental aircraft will replace American’s remaining small fleet of Boeing 767-200ERs, which the carrier mainly uses for U.S. transcontinental flights linking New York JFK with Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The carrier intends to replace its fleet of domestic Boeing 757-200s and MD-80s with A321s, A319s and Boeing 737-800s – all with leather seats, Wi-Fi and in-seat in-flight entertainment throughout the aircraft.
These aircraft will have a two-class cabin configuration, Main Cabin Extra seating and 110-volt universal AC power outlets at every seat.
American also plans to give customers on board these aircraft access to seat-to-seat chat, weather updates, 3-D moving maps, airport maps, connecting gate information and more.
For customers traveling in the First Class cabin, a complimentary in-flight entertainment selection of up to 75 movies, more than 150 TV programs, more than 350 audio selections and up to 15 games will be available on a 12.1-inch, HD-capable touch-screen monitor positioned in each seat.
Customers in the Main Cabin will also enjoy an assortment of movies, TV programs, games and audio selections on 8.9-inch, HD-capable touch-screen monitors in each seat.
Deliveries of these aircraft will begin with Airbus A319 jets in July 2013, followed by the Boeing 737-800s from October 2013 and the A321s in the second quarter of 2014. American is still evaluating the specific markets these aircraft will serve.