American Confirms They’re Planning Lie Flat 757s on Transcon Routes

Earlier this month American Airlines maintained that they hadn’t decided whether or not to put Boeing 757s with lie flat seats on domestic routes or not, even as their competitors roll out more domestic flights with lie flat seats up front.

It’s been expected for awhile that American would respond to this competition, and indeed they’ve taken some 757s off of international routes, but they wouldn’t say they’re adding them to the domestic schedule. Nonetheless they are now saying privately that this is what will ultimately happen.

At an employee Q&A on Thursday American Airlines Vice President – Planning Vasu Raja discussed the future of their Boeing 757s with lie flat seats, and that future is domestic routes.

What we would like to do with the 757 is increasingly it is a much less competitive international product. But it is a great domestic product especially flying on the transcon where business travelers can get a full flat bed on it.

B/E Aerospace Business Class Seats

Now to be clear American’s Boeing 757s are not great, good, or even average domestic products in economy. The 757s configured with lie flat seats do not have proper seat power yet in economy, only business and extra legroom coach. They do not all have internet. They have overhead screens for inflight entertainment.

What they have are old B/E Aerospace Diamond lie flat seats up front. These are the legacy Continental Airlines business class seats which United will eventually maybe replace with Polaris seats, and they’re the seats American uses in business class on their Airbus A321T planes flying New York JFK – Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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. […] American’s Vice President of Planning Vasu Raja told employees on Thursday that the future of the airline’s 757s with lie-flat seats is on domestic routes. “What we would like to do with the 757 is increasingly it is a much less competitive international product. But it is a great domestic product especially flying on the transcon where business travelers can get a full flat bed on it,” Raja said, according to View from the Wing. […]


  1. For many years, AA used these 757s for JFK-MCO, and that was a great enticement for me to fly them instead of one of their competitors on what was a frequent route for me. Yes, they were missing wifi and proper inflight entertainment, but having a lie-flat seat makes up for a lot of ills.

  2. So they are cutting international flying somewhere?

    AA is not expanding their international fleet going forward aside from this summer (A333 retirements starts at year end).

  3. I really hope AA begins to use these on their MIA transcons. Right now the available lie-flats are a mix of widebodies being (re)positioned to DFW/LAX, and the rest of the flights are on standard 737’s. It would be great for MIA to get a stable of 757’s with Lie-flats to compliment the 321T’s out of JFK.

    Not only would it benefit O/D traffic between the west coast to MIA, it would also benefit the extensive number of connections through MIA for premium travel to South America and southern Europe. This would allow the two premium hubs on the east coast to both offer continued lie-flat service on to LAX/SFO/SEA.

    Are the 757s anywhere close to the 321T? Not at all. But for premium passengers it’s still better than what’s currently going on in MIA.

  4. @Jon

    AA transcontinental flights out of MIA also include 321’s. They are not the 3-class variety, but your statement about only wide-bodies and 737’s is untrue.

  5. There is only one wide body and not consistently – back out of schedule as of last Monday until June I think. Every non red eye flight is almost 100% sold out days in advance showing J0 for the most part. Upgrades are maybe 1 or 2 if any. Usually to CK or Explats using SWUs. They are leaving money on the table big time.

  6. @WilliamC

    So what is the main difference? a 321 is similar to a 738, the only difference is 321 have better exit seats (more leg room).

  7. Gary,

    Why do you choose to publish info obtained from leaked internal employee Q&As on your site? Don’t get me wrong: We the traveling public and aviation geeks, absolutely love this stuff. But here are a few thoughts on why this is a bad idea:

    1) Clearly you have a trusted friend / contact at AA. By publishing this stuff on the internet for public consumption, you are putting their employment at risk (should they get caught).

    2) AA is being quite transparent with their employees. I’m sure the employees love it, and we, your readers love it. Yet it seems like a reasonable thing to balance candor with the legitimate need to keep proprietary information confidential. Just because you can publish it, doesn’t mean you should publish it.

    3) Trustworthiness: Why should people trust you with secrets in the future? Not that I have anything of interest worth discussing with you in private. But if I did, I would be hesitant to do so because I wonder if you’ll leak it.

    Is the juice worth the squeeze?

    Signed — genuinely curious to get your POV

  8. @Bob Jones – so what the media DOES is publish leaked information all the time, and of course when that happens organizations sometimes circle the wagons and try to keep information from leaking. nothing new here, that’s the phenomenon since the beginning of time.

    why would my publishing leaked information cause someone to trust me less? the information was given to me precisely to share. i haven’t ever revealed my sources, and i treat information under the terms that it’s given to me (and within the bounds of the law). i have MANY sources at american throughout the company.

    could american decide to be less candid or more guarded in their answers going forward? sure. i’ve been doing this for months and they haven’t yet. in fact doug parker has joked about information i’ve shared from these sessions, in the sessions (eg

    heck even american hasn’t asked me not to publish.

  9. American is mal treating customers like with statements like this. Trying to fool fliers into believe the 757 is great? In the days before internet avails and personal movie/TV choices perhaps…and the 737 Max is another example. Their 757 a great plane……Not.

  10. Can’t wait to be in the window seat and jump in the air to get over someone sleeping
    Thanks but no thanks
    I’ll consider that when they offer a saver award not departing on a red eye with 3 connections
    Congratulations American going for great again with worst rated award availability in the nation as seen in major publications

  11. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Very cool to see / learn that it was provided to you with the intent to share. Clever use of influence marketing.

  12. Only dumb ass aa will bring 30 year old aircrafts for such long haul, i just hate AA

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