I was quite excited about American’s inaugural Boeing 777-300ER flight, which was scheduled to be on December 13 from Dallas to Sao Paulo. This aircraft will be the first to feature American’s new business class, which I’m excited to try.
However, last week American’s chief commercial officer hinted that there might be a delay with the delivery of the aircraft, apparently as a result of issues with the new first class suite manufacturer. Well, that’s now official, and American has set a target date of January 31, 2013 for the new inaugural flight, also between Dallas and Sao Paulo. The new inaugural flight has five seats for sale in first class and plenty of seats for sale in business class. That being said, it doesn’t seem to me like they’re totally confident about that launch date, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the inaugural earlier or later instead.
American has automatically rebooked those passengers booked on 777-300ER flights between December 13, 2012 and January 30, 2013 on comparable 777-200 flights. Those that booked the flights to experience the new 777-300ER have the option of rebooking for a later date or getting a free refund.
Here’s part of the memo American sent to their employees regarding the delay:
The entry into service for our first Boeing 777-300ER is now anticipated early next year. Our new 777-300ER fleet is – and continues to be – a critical part of American’s fleet renewal efforts and we are aggressively working to incorporate these new aircraft into our fleet.
However, often times there are delays with the introduction of a new fleet type as there are a multitude of elements that must align in order to deliver a state-of-the-art product for our customers. In this case, the entry into service date has shifted because of production issues being encountered by our First Class suite supplier. We are working closely with our supplier to ensure that our final product reflects the inflight experience that our customers expect from American Airlines.
Our inaugural flight with our first 777-300ER is now anticipated to be DFW to Sao Paulo with a targeted date of Jan. 31, 2013.
- We are working with our First Class suite supplier to address production issues, which have, unfortunately, delayed the entry into service of our first new 777-300ER.
- We are working closely with Boeing to augment our delivery schedule, and appreciate our long-standing partnership with them.
- American intends to keep its originally announced route schedule for the 777-300ER, but the dates will shift to accommodate the new aircraft entry into service schedule, beginning with DFW to Sao Paulo early next year.
- The inaugural flight was originally scheduled for Dec. 13, 2012, from DFW to Sao Paulo. Customers on this flight will now travel aboard one of our 777-200 aircraft, which includes the customer-favorite Flagship Suite in our First Class cabin.
- The 777-300ER is part of our ongoing fleet renewal efforts, and we still plan to take delivery of 14 of these new aircraft. In fact, American is the first U.S. airline to order the 777-300ER and will be the first U.S. airline to take delivery of the 777-300ER.
On the plus side, that somewhat clears up my December travel schedule…