American Lie Flat Business Class Seats Coming To 757

As part of their “Going For Great” campaign (a slogan which I find peculiar yet remarkably honest, since American is admitting they’re not great), American announced $2 billion in customer improvements over the coming years.

American-777
Boeing 777-300ER at London Heathrow

Now, a lot of the stuff in the press release has already been announced and is in the process of being implement. While American has a lot of faults, the transformation they’ve been going through has been really fun to watch. I remember a few years back when American had 400 MD-80s. To think how far they’ve come with the 777-300ERs, the new 737s, the A321s on transcons, etc. — it really is a pretty radical transformation.

American-737-Economy-Class
American’s new 737-800 economy class

What else can we expect from American?

American is getting a lot of new planes

First of all, it’s interesting to note just how many aircraft American will be taking delivery of over the coming years, giving them the youngest fleet of any of the US legacy carriers:

American Airlines is taking delivery of nearly 100 aircraft in 2014, giving it the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based network carrier, with an average aircraft age of 12.3 years. In addition, American will take delivery of 112 aircraft next year and 84 in 2016. Orders include the Airbus A320 family, A350-900s, Boeing 737 MAX, 777-300ERs and 787s, which will make American’s fleet even younger, more modern and fuel efficient.

Fully flat 757 business class seats

As far as new premium cabin seats go, we already know about the new business class seats will look like throughout American’s longhaul widebody fleet. But what’s cool is that American will also finally be installing fully flat seats on their 757-200s, which is long overdue:

Aircraft used on trans-Atlantic and Latin America flights will get fully lie-flat seats in Business Class. Customers flying in the Main Cabin will also benefit from a refreshed cabin, power ports and in-flight connectivity.

American-777-300-1
American 777-300ER business class

But what kind of a business class product will American install on their 757-200s? I guess there are three options:

  • Reverse herringbone seats like they have on their 777-200ERs or 777-300ERs
  • Staggered business class seats like they have on their 767-300s
  • Fully flat forward facing seats like they have on their transcon A321s

On one hand I figured they’d want to go for business class seats with direct aisle access throughout their entire fleet so they can use that catch phrase for marketing purposes. At the same time, staggered or reverse herringbone business class seats aren’t really efficient for 757s. I think it’s much more likely that they go with fully flat forward facing seats like they have on the A321s, which would be identical to the seats Delta and United have on their international 757s.

New US Airways A319 interiors

The biggest downside to the domestic fleet of the “new” American are the US Airways planes, in my opinion. They don’t have Main Cabin Extra, they don’t have power ports, and legroom is horrible in first class. By the end of 2016, all of US Airways’ A319s will feature power ports and Main Cabin Extra:

One of the workhorses of the legacy US Airways fleet is scheduled for all new seats. Planned improvements include new seats throughout First Class and Main Cabin, and adding 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and power outlets throughout the cabin to charge personal electronic devices. All 93 A319s will be retrofitted and in service by the end of 2016.

US-Airways-First-Class
US Airways A319 first class

Better Admirals Club food

American will also be adding more complimentary food in Admirals Clubs, though much like with Delta SkyClubs, I wouldn’t raise my expectations too much:

Admirals Club customers will see new and expanded complimentary food options, refurbished restroom and shower facilities, toiletry amenities, and improved technology for customers to use before flights. Additional healthy food items include Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, hearty soup offerings in every club, crudites and desserts. Additional improvements will continue to roll out in the coming months.

Admirals-Club-Soup
Admirals Club soup

Bottom line

With the 2015 AAdvantage program looking good as ever, I’m excited to continue to see these changes. Am I convinced that American will offer the best value for frequent flyers long term? Nope. But in the meantime I’m really excited to see these changes.

Comments

  1. Agree these are positive (though much was already announced) – interesting that they made the announcement of these changes, which will really make a positive difference for passengers, on the same day that Delta announced a lot of “old wine in new bottles” – the one significant change Delta is actually making is negative for customers (Gold Medallions’ losing the ability to pre-select Economy Comfort, until 72 hours before departure). I know where my travel dollars will be going.

  2. There are actually only two possible seats for the 757, because the FAA has only certified two lie-flat models for that type, the Diamond seat (used on the A321T business) and British Airways’ reverse herringbone seats (used on OpenSkies). And since the latter is a BA propriety design, it’s a given the 757s are getting the Diamond seat.

  3. Yeah soup! Glad to see the clubs will not be downgraded to pmAA norms regarding free snacks.

    Hopefully the US norms for work carrells will also win out over AA cube farms.

  4. Ben, do you know what American use for SEA-JFK and whether they plan to upgrade that route to the premium transcon offering used to SFO/LAX (i.e. lie-flat business seats, etc?).

  5. @Simon I wouldn’t dismiss the BA design yet, because of the close relationship they share with American..

  6. @ Paul — They use a 737 on the route, and have no plan to use anything other than the standard domestic configuration.

  7. I don’t thing will be great having coach class passengers using first/business class lavatories and allowing visits/chats to family/friends flying first/ business class.

    There are the changes of the NEW AMERICAN going great !!!!!

    this is the response I got from a Concierge Key Manager about that complaint

    I spoke with our manager for inflight policies and procedures earlier today, and I was advised that customers may visit with traveling companions, friends or family – or use the lavatory in another cabin – as long as the customers don’t interfere with the service delivery, violate the Fasten Seatbelt Sign, block the aisles or congregate in large groups. If the Flight Attendant or Purser is not comfortable with a congregation of customers or feels the customers are lingering for an extended period of time, the Flight Attendant should ask the customers to return to their assigned seat. If the customers do not comply, the Flight Attendant may notify the Captain. That’s the overview of the policies. Our inflight policies cover a variety of scenarios, but that should answer your question with more information.

    As you can read protecting the quietness and privacy of those who spend thousand of dollars is never mentioned.

    How can “coach class” mentality inflight product managers can be in charge of premium cabins?

    The sanctity of business and first class cabins should be protected at any cost but sadly is something US airlines don’t understand

  8. I hope they upgrade the 757 soon. My flight from jfk to cdg in December 2015 was downgraded from the new 767 cabin to a 757 and right now its still showing the old seat map when i go into seat sselection.

  9. I don’t see why they are upgrading the 757s considering how old they are. They need to be taken out of service soon. It would only make sense to keep those planes on the Bolivia , Paraguay, and Uruguay routes because those routes are out of range for the 737s. American should create a South American hub in São Paulo to serve these routes with Embraers.

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