American Airlines Testing New Seats

American Airlines is inviting some frequent flyers to participate in testing sessions this week to experience new seats that they’re considering. This message has been making the rounds in my Facebook feed and was forwarded to me by a reader:

We have an exciting opportunity for our DFW residents! American Airlines is conducting 1-hour seat testing sessions next week with a 15,000 AAdvantage mile incentive for your qualified participation.

Beginning Tuesday, January 28th and lasting through Friday, we will have several airline seats set up for a short, one-hour comparison study. We are working with Focus Pointe Global, an outside vendor who is helping us recruit for these 1-hour hour sessions in the DFW area.

If you receive a call or an e-mail from Focus Pointe asking you to participate in our study, please know that they are a partner of American Airlines. If you have any further questions regarding this offer, please contact Roxanne Peck at rpeck@focuspointglobal.com.

We’d love to see you next week, and hear your opinions of the seats!

Regards,
American Airlines Customer Research Department

american airlines super diamond business class seat
Current American Airlines Super Diamond Business Class Seat (787-9 and Many 777-200s)

No doubt the focus on Dallas-based flyers is that they’ll have a number of different seat options to test, they’re all in one location, and seats are expensive to move around. It makes sense to do it in one location and to invite customers who are local.

Here’s the follow up from the survey firm to qualify interested participants (HT: panjabi)

Focus Pointe Global, Dallas, is conducting a study about Travel and are looking for men and women 22-70 years of age that may want to participate.

The study will last approximately 1 hour and will take place Offsite in Dallas. In appreciation for your full qualification and participation you would receive 15,000 AAdvantage Miles.

Please know this is strictly for research purposes, this is a research study and that no sales or soliciting will result from your participating.

If you are interested in participating please answer our questions below and send them to: […]

Your Name:
Your Gender:
Your Age:
Best Number to reach you:

1. How many International trips (if needed: between the US and Europe, Asia or Deep South America) have you taken in the past 12 months in the Premium Economy or Coach cabin?

On American Airlines: ___________________

On another carrier _________

2. When, if ever, was the last time you participated in a consumer research discussion group?

[ ] Less than 6 months ago
[ ] 6 months to a year ago
[ ] More than a year ago
[ ] Never

Thank you for answering our questions. If it seems like you might qualify for this study, we will call you back and ask you the rest of the qualifying questions.

To learn more about Focus Pointe Global, please go to our website:

www.focuspointeglobal.com
www.focusgroup.com

american airlines miq premium economy seat
American Airlines MiQ Premium Economy Seat

American Airlines seer JonNYC reports that American is testing new seats for business class, premium economy, and coach.

Expect To See New Seats In 2023

In 2023 American Airlines is scheduled to start taking new Boeing 787-9s and also Airbus A321XLRs.

We know that the XLRs will require new seats, since airline President Robert Isom said they’d get direct aisle access lie flat business class seats in the narrowbody aircraft.

While American will begin taking new Boeing 787-8s this year there’s no time to go from surveying customers (and, no doubt, employees) to purchase and installation in time for those deliveries.

American also has Airbus A321neo and 737 MAX aircraft on order, but we know those are getting the current version of the Project Oasis interior. Indeed, American continues to update planes to that new standard interior. So the seat project won’t be for those aircraft.

As a result we can be pretty certain any new seat order that comes out of this project will debut with new aircraft that are slated to be delivered in 2023. Of course, deliveries can slip or be deferred between now and then.

american airlines boeing 787-9 economy seats
American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Economy Seats

Will They Retrofit Existing Aircraft?

American has to start thinking about its next business class seat. While their seats are good, the rest of the world has been catching up and surpassing them. British Airways took the current generation American Airlines seat, customized it and added a door. Delta, too, has doors on its business class seat.

No one expects American Airlines to offer a business class on par with Qatar Airways QSuites or with ANA’s new product, but three years from now when a new seat might debut more airlines will have seats that are better than American’s. And by the time American might even retrofit existing cabins after that – say, on a five year cycle – we’re into 2028.

So will American retrofit existing planes? To date they’ve shown little interest in product consistency. American is currently flying different international business class products on their Boeing 757s (Diamond), 767s (Thompson Vantage), 787-8s and some 777-200s (Concept D), 777-300ERs and A330s (Cirrus), and 787-9s and most 777-200s (Super Diamond). They’ve even been willing to order seats with so little attention to detail that they’re going through and replacing them right away (domestic first class MiQ).

American Airlines Concept D Business Class Seat
American Airlines ‘Concept D’ Business Class Seat on Boeing 787-8s and Some 777-200s

It seems outside of what I’ve come to expect that American would retrofit premium cabin seats when they (1) already have seats that (2) are lie flat (3) with direct aisle access. The current product ‘checks the box’.

Meanwhile they’ve just completed installation of premium economy across the fleet of planes intended to receive it. Would they start ripping those seats out and replacing them a mere 5 years after installation? And would American put in new economy seats, unless the new seats let them further densify the cabin?

And yet if the introduce a new product I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some sort of announcement of a retrofit plan at least for business class if not a cabin refresh across the board.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. American Airlines newest concept will be called BYOB. Bring Your Own Bucket. Everyone will be required to bring their own 5 gallon bucket to sit on. The planes will have no seats at all.

  2. When you say that AA can’t have the same J product as QR or NH, why not (hard product wise)? Would be interesting to see an article that compares density of some of the different configurations on different carriers. I can understand an argument that an American carrier would not be willing to put a better seat in if it meant there would be less seats in the cabin and they didn’t think they could command a premium but if it’s the same number of seats why not go for what is most comfortable? For example, AA currently has 44 J seats between doors 2 and 3 on the 773. ANA now only has 40. Is that because the seat is larger or because of different galley configurations?

  3. AdamH

    Gary probably thinks that being that it is AA they would never take it to such a notch higher.

    Who knows? Maybe they come out and totally surprise even the biggest pessimists among the bloggers

  4. I’d love to think they are looking for better products, but sadly the current management is inconsistent with that thought completely. My guess is they are trying to figure out ways to squeeze more people with fewer amenities.

  5. Now that merger related activities are wrapping up, I believe AA will standardize the international fleet with upgrades. The Premium economy seats are all the same, but other lay flats are not due to either A) Usair fleet, B) older plans that will be retired or C) the problem manufacturers had with getting seats to AA’s 777 and 787.

    I agree that the new 787 will see a new generation of seats and that AA will refit after the domestic standardization. DL and UA 10 year and 8 years post merger still have a hodge podge of cabins and just (some of the worst in the air IMO) so in 5 more years AA might be a leader again.

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