American Airlines announced on Monday ambitious new plans to re-introduce 3 classes of services aboard newer Airbus A321 aircraft assigned to transcontinental services from New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The initiative would showcase the forceful return of three classes service not only on domestic flights, but also on narrow body aircraft. Under the plan American Airlines would install fully lie-flat seats on both First class and Business class. The new Airbus A321 aircraft that are intended to form the new American Airlines transcontinental fleet are not due to begin arriving in the carrier’s fleet until November 2013 through 2014.
Reflecting a major shift in products offerings for narrow body and transcontinental service, the First Class cabin fitted with 10 Simca-designed seats configured in 1-1 abreast will offer 10 passengers unrestricted access to the aisle. The Business Class cabin will offer 20 Recaro-designed seats in a 2-2 layout while the Economy cabin will retain the familiar 3-3 layout found in most A320/Boeing 737 family of aircraft. The products differentiators for both new premium seats aboard these A321 will undoubtedly be the in-flight personal entertainment amenities provided by 15.4-in HD touch screen and Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headsets. While the main cabin occupants will only have 8.9-in HD-capable touch screen personal monitor, the entire aircraft cabin will be equipped with seat-to-seat chat, wi-fi, live text news and weather updates, 3-D moving maps, airport maps, connecting gate information, and more according to the carrier.
For the carrier, this very aggressive plan coincides with the growing need to begin retiring Boeing 767-200 averaging 25 years of age. Fleet wide, American is expecting to also replace MD-82/-83 by taking delivery of up to “130 current generation Airbus aircraft from the A321 and A319 variants and up to 100 Boeing 737-800s through 2017”. With up to 460 new aircraft expected to arrive, including 42 Boeing 787-9 and 10 Boeing 777-300ER the carrier has fully embraced a environmentally sustainable strategic model securing profitability through lower fuel and overall operating costs.