Is American Redeploying Lie Flat Boeing 757s to Domestic Routes?

Traditionally ‘premium’ domestic markets have been limited to New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco because they’re premium revenue markets and East Coast – Hawaii because though it’s primarily leisure it’s a longer flight than Europe. That means at a minimum lie flat seats up front.

There’s increasing competition offering a premium product on other routes. United added Boston – San Francisco with lie flat aircraft.

Meanwhile Delta announced expanded lie flat premium domestic routes as well effective April 1.

  • New York JFK – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas
  • Washington National – Los Angeles
  • Boston – San Francisco, Los Angeles
  • Atlanta and Minneapolis – Honolulu

And JetBlue announced a big expansion of premium routes.

American has had limited premium service beyond New York – Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York JFK – Boston has seen the same three-class planes for aircraft utilization purposes. After removing widebody service from Los Angeles – Miami the route gets one daily Boeing 777-200 service back (with the rest of flights on the route being limited to narrowbodies). Dallas – Miami sees international widebodies mixed in with other single aisle planes.

American’s B/E Aerospace Diamond Seat Offered on Long Haul 757 and A321T Business Class

However there haven’t been other designated premium routes. Back in the fall though JonNYC said American would be bringing more lie flat aircraft to domestic routes for summer 2018. Then last week he said this should be imminent.

I reached out to American to see what was up. Two New York JFK-based lie flat international Boeing 757s have been removed from transatlantic routes in coming months, so I assumed we see these deployed domestically to routes like New York JFK – Phoenix, Seattle and San Diego.

The airline tells me, “Last year, we ended JFK-MAN and reduced JFK-CDG service, which were both on 757s. Still evaluating plans for the aircraft yet..” and that they haven’t decided to put these on domestic routes. That’s certainly not a denial.

American’s CEO says he thought they could live without putting power at seats on legacy US Airways aircraft. The question is does American think they don’t need to compete on product against Delta Washington National – Los Angeles flight and New York JFK – San Diego and Seattle and Boston – Los Angeles? Not to mention JetBlue’s increasingly superior product?

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. Aren’t AA planes generally full on these routes? Are they really going to invest in hard-product improvements when flights continue to go out rather full? What’s the motivation?

  2. I hate that American doesn’t have power for our devices, yet doesn’t install entertainment options. One or the other, please!

  3. I find that half the USB ports don’t work. Occasionally, even using the British style plugs don’t work either.

  4. Same experience, Beachfan. They will do what they have to do, not what will be best for us. Voting with the wallet help to make those things the same thing, as much as possible.

  5. It has been a long time – I think 2010, but US used 757 angled on seasonal PHL-ANC service. It was quite nice for a routes as long as some TATL’s.

    Given the relative wealth and age of folks on what is otherwise generally a leisure route, it might even be a good business move.

  6. Of course American doesn’t have entertainment or power ports. You are flying USAirways, but with the logo changed.

  7. And Philadelphia continues to be the red headed step child of hubs. Highest fares, zero competition and oldest planes. Adding TATL service that gets cut from JFK along with new routes using 757’s and 767’s. The 767 used to be the backbone of US Airways TATL service but, even they got rid of them 15 years ago in favor of the now old A330’s, yet AA brings their old dust buckets back to PHL. US Airways was the original launch customer for the A350, yet those orders were pushed and pushed to the point they will likely disappear. Even under Doug Parker US Airways had some vision for the future. At American he simply shrugs and say ‘f*** it, it’s good enough’.

  8. With each depiction of American not giving a hoot towards embracing customer experience and ramping up its tired model to compete, and even leapfrog, over Jet Blue, Delta, and United, AA is rapidly becoming “Amtrak With Wings.” AA’s new motto should be: “AA: What Me Worry?”

    With such a pathetic executive management attitude, apparently excused by its Board of Directors, clearly explains why Delta’s FAs continue to be non-union and more productive.

  9. I flew in a AA 757 from Phoenix to Kansas City last July.

    Upon boarding, the aircraft had Hawaiian music playing and Hawaii pictures on the video screens.

    Flight attendant with a sense of humor announced we were flying to the “Island if Missouri”. If only.

  10. I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I boarded my JFK-CLT flight and it was an internationally configured 757. Assuming this was just for utilization purposes between TATL flights.

  11. Even the old DL planes to South America that had the old clam shell business class w 38 in pitch and angled are better than most of the first class on AA except on the 321T

  12. Garry, I don’t know if you have any preference but I myself usually avoid American after more than enough flights…

  13. Had one today AA334 – 757-200 – MIA to ORD. AV units removed and new seat back holder for iPad etc. Definitely had the old FC seats beat hands down and much better than the 737-800 FC.

  14. I just flew BOS-MIA AA1006 757 Lie Flat. They appear to run 1 plane a day. gary, any explanation to this logic? I was loving it, no TV just a bracket to hold mobile device. Also this plane had switched internet providers to AAinflight NOT GoGo, which was awful. Didnt even work, movies etc wouldnt connect, on both flights to and from.

  15. They had an A330 on CLT-PHX earlier this year. It’s hot garbage we can’t get lie flat seats from PHX to BOS/NYC.

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