American Airlines has decided to redesign and refresh the interiors of its international widebody aircraft – a move which the carrier says will mean it investing several hundred million dollars per year in enhancements to its passengers’ in-flight experience.
As part of this redesign, American Airlines’ entire fleet of Boeing 777-200ERs will have fully lie-flat Business Class seats with aisle access for every seat, international Wi-Fi, in-seat entertainment throughout all cabins, and Main Cabin Extra seating offering more legroom.
About 30 of the airline’s Boeing 767-300ERs will be fitted with fully lie-flat Business Class seats with aisle access for every seat, and Main Cabin Extra seating.
“This redesign will comprehensively improve our future international widebody experience through fully lie-flat all-aisle access seats, in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, and will place our product among the industry leaders,” says Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer.
“This is something our people are excited to see as we work toward a new and modern American Airlines,” adds Vahidi. “Our decision to invest in our international widebody aircraft demonstrates significant forward progress, consistent with our plan, and paints a picture of the future for our customers and people.”
American Airlines will redesign its entire fleet of 47 Boeing 777-200ERs to provide a two-class cabin configuration, in order to match capacity and demand better.
Each Boeing 777-200ER cabin will feature unique mood lighting and a dramatic archway and ceiling treatment to create a feeling of spaciousness similar to the airline’s new Boeing 777-300ERs, the first of which American expects to receive later this year.
A Business Class walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments is for premium customers. International Wi-Fi will also be available in-flight.
Each 777-200ER will have up to 45 new fully lie-flat Business Class seats. American claims these seats will feature “among the largest living spaces of any 777 Business Class seat offered by U.S. airlines”.
The new 777-200ER Business Class seat will offer up to two times more personal space than American’s current 777-200ER Business Class seat. Each seat will feature a large tray table, a work surface, and every component of the seat – including the seatback, head rest and leg rest – will be individually adjustable using simplistic seat controls.
Direct aisle access from each Business Class seat will allow customers to move easily about the cabin without impacting other customers.
In-seat entertainment will feature more than 700 hours of on-demand audio and video entertainment. Up to 120 movies, 180 TV programs, 350 audio selections and 30 games will be available on a 15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitor positioned in each Business Class suite
A premium handset will serve as a remote that will allow customers to easily select programming without touching the monitor. Also, every seat will feature individual 110-volt universal AC power outlets and USB jacks for charging personal electronic devices.
Throughout each 777-200ER Main Cabin, new seats will provide increased knee room and improve overall customer comfort. American’s retrofit will include installation of up to 45 Main Cabin Extra seats and up to 170 Main Cabin seats.
The Main Cabin Extra seats, located in the forward portion of the Main Cabin, will offer four to six inches more legroom than the standard Main Cabin seat, allowing greater personal space and convenient access when boarding and deplaning.
Every Main Cabin seat will have universal AC power outlets, USB jacks and HD-capable touchscreen monitor – nearly 9 inches – loaded with up to 120 movies, 180 TV programs, 350 audio selections and 30 games.
Once redesigned with the new in-flight entertainment system, American’s 777-200ERs will have more than nine times the number of entertainment options that are currently available in the Main Cabin on the carrier’s 777-200ERs today.
American uses the Boeing 777-200ER to fly medium-to-long-haul international routes to Europe, Asia and South America.
“American will be among the first in the industry to offer the combination of fully lie-flat seats with all-aisle access, international Wi-Fi, and top-of-the-line in-seat entertainment,” adds Vahidi.
Additionally, American intends to retrofit up to half of its existing Boeing 767-300ER widebodies. Those that are redesigned will operate the new configuration with fully lie-flat Business Class Seats and all-aisle access.
The remaining 767-300ERs that are not redesigned will be retired over time, according to American. The airline currently operates 58 Boeing 767-300ERs.
On the refitted 767-300ERs, customers will be offered an enhanced onboard experience. Each refitted Boeing 767-300ER will receive up to 28 fully lie-flat Business Class seats, each with aisle access. These Business Class seats will offer individual tray tables with a work surface, and universal AC power outlets.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 devices will continue to be available for customers seated in Business Class, offering access to a wide variety of movies, TV programs and audio selections.
The retrofitted 767-300ERs will also feature 14 Main Cabin Extra seats with four to six inches more legroom than a standard Main Cabin seat. The Main Cabin of the refitted 767-300ERs will have 167 seats.
The airline intends to use retrofitted Boeing 767-300ERs on flights to existing markets.
The redesign is slated to begin in early 2014. American is currently working to determine the installation timeline and says it will have more details on anticipated completion dates in the future.
As part of its international widebody strategy, American anticipates taking delivery of 10 Boeing 777-300ER jets from the end of 2012 through 2013.
American will configure its 777-300ERs as three-class aircraft, which will have fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats, Main Cabin Extra, and Wi-Fi capability to keep customers connected while traveling internationally.