American Bringing Us Lie Flat 757s and Improvements to US Airways Cabins

American announced several aircraft cabin improvements, some which are a really big deal.

All but a “handful” of American’s new aircraft will have seat-back video screens throughout. All of the planes in the carrier’s primary jet fleet now have Wi-Fi, with plans to expand to it to regional aircraft, said Joshua Freed, a spokesman.

American’s new domestic interior is the new standard.

This is what’s being installed in new aircraft. They haven’t announced plans to retrofit existing cabins with the new interior.

Interesting is that this is for ‘most’ of the new aircraft. It’s likely that the interiors were already ordered for all of American’s new planes, so one imagines there are some previously-ordered new US Airways aircraft that won’t get the new interiors.

What’s also good here, though I believe already expected, is the roll out of wireless internet to American’s regional aircraft (a good number of US Airways regional planes already have it).

Lie-flat business seats also will be added to its Boeing 757s used on international routes, while power ports and Wi-Fi will be extended throughout the plane.

…Among the renovations announced today, Airbus NV A319s, a mainstay of the US Airways domestic fleet, will get all-new seats and power outlets by the end of 2016. The airline also will add 24 economy seats that give more legroom for an extra charge.

Lie flat 757s is new. I understand the joint venture agreement with British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair requires lie flat business class across the Atlantic so this makes sense.

American’s lie flat seats for a narrowbody would presumably be similar to the Airbus seats flying between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco

…Unless they actually intend to do one-one seating like on those transcon aircraft in first class, which would surprise me as it would give up too much capacity (take up too much space).

More likely than one-one seating, I could imagine a staggered layout of the new 767 business class seat. But this is all speculation.

Doing two-by-two would mean that they have international business class seats without all-aisle access, a principle they hadn’t yet violated with new seats on 777-300, 777-200, and 767 aircraft.

Adding ‘main cabin extra’ additional legroom seating to the US Airways aircraft is going to make it much easier, as an American Airlines elite, to actually fly US Airways as the airlines combine.

Adding power points is necessary — and ironic since US Airways had previously proactively removed outlets from domestic aircraft.

(HT: Traveling Better)

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, 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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  1. I believe the BE Aerospace Diamond seat (UA/DL 757s, AA A321T) is the only full-flat seat currently certified for the 757. The staggered seats (like some of the ex-BD A321s) would result in a handful of seats with direct aisle access but reduce the number of seats in the cabin. I think the most likely scenario is the Diamond seat, as it maintains some commonality with the A321T seat, delivers a lieflat product, and keeps the seat count steady.

  2. Actually… I take that back, the old BA seat (OpenSkies) is also certified for the 757, but I think it’s a proprietary BA design. There may also be others, but only the Diamond is dense enough to fit 16 J seats in A zone of a 757.

  3. A @5 hour transcon daytime flight in a A321, sure.

    An 8+ hour overnight TATL flight in a 757? No thanks….

  4. If the new seatback entertainment runs off the same type of AVOD boxes that are in the new 737s, then that’s going to be a huge negative with respect to legroom. Can’t stand those things.

  5. Frequent DL flyer but I just de-planed off a new AA A319 in FC. Excellent seats and good entertainment/ power options. Decent snacks ( warm nuts, I’d forgot about those) for a 2 hr flight. Sure beats the ancient MD-80.

  6. Those underseat entertsinment boxes are hard to fathom. What could possibly require them to be that large?

  7. I flew US Airways transatlantic economy a few weeks ago. It was an A330 and had USB power ports at the seats. It was funny because you could hear excited chatter throughout the cabin about the presence of the ports…then the inevitable letdown when they actually plugged in their device and it wasn’t functional. One of the US FA’s claimed the USB ports were disabled because they were a “fire hazard”, I guess that is a better story than “Doug Parker wanted to save fuel”.

  8. Of course American’s new 757 business-class seating will be in a 2-2 configuration, just like Delta and United’s. There’s no way to fit anything else without sacrificing seat count.

    Also like Delta, American will have to modify its marketing to include the qualifier that direct aisle access is limited to wide-body aircraft.

  9. @Gary I think the key question, and I wonder if you can get any clarity on this, is WHEN these improvements will be made.

    A lot of what was mentioned was already previously announced (ie. 772 retrofit). So, there isn’t too much new info here. A schedule of when all the various improvements will be phased in would be awesome!

  10. I was very excited when AA announced that were upgrading their business class seats on the 767 to Santiago Chile. So AA had a special for around $3000,00 from LAX I booked it. Went to seat map for February 20 departure and did notice that it was 1 2 1 configuration which assured me that it was the reconfigured 767. Well received an e-mail a few days back stating that my flight was changed to the old 777 plane, not full flat seat but angled instead. Quite disappointed. I am elite and have been on all the international flights with different configurations. The new business class seats on AA 777 the seats are to me the best business class seats in the business. Even the new lie flat seats business seats AA is using do domestically are an great improvement. So what to the new business class seats on the reconfigured 767, just curious

  11. Any lay flat seat that would require my wife, who wants a window seat, to wake me in my aisle seat if she needs the lavatory on a 9 hour flight is a non-starter. To me, the best seat has been the staggered BA J-class offering I flew on DTW-LHR (even though half the PAX face backwards), or DL’s 1-2-1 J-class seating on a 777. And any A-cabin offering that isn’t lay flat is something I would book around on a flight of more than 4 hours or a redeye.

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