American Still Not Ready to Compete With Better Product on Transcons

Delta, JetBlue, and even United have expanded cross country flying with lie flat seats. For months American has been expected to do this too.

We did see them add seasonal 757 service to Dallas – Anchorage. More widebodies fly within North America, and the elimination of Chicago – Beijing freed up Boeing 787 time.

Back in March American Airlines confirmed privately that they plan to put Boeing 757s with lie flat seats on cross country domestic flights. According to American’s Vice President – Planning Vasu Raja,

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.

Yet it’s still not happening. American is ‘still evaluating’ and we’re still waiting. In response to an employee question, the airline says:

To be clear American’s Boeing 757s are not great, good, or even average domestic products in economy. And they’re planes that American employees don’t want in Lima, Peru. However they have (B/E Aerospace Diamond) lie flat seats up front. These are the legacy Continental Airlines business class seats which United will eventually 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.

American Airlines B/E Aerospace Diamond Business Class Seats

A better premium product is due for routes like New York JFK – Seattle and San Diego, Boston – Los Angeles, hub-to-hub Los Angeles – Philadelphia, and Washington National – Los Angeles to name a few.

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. only fly american from LAX TO LAS, they constantly offer $37 dollar one way ticket on Tues/WED/SAT, can’t beat that. Otherwise, Delta always the first choice out of LAX for us!

  2. Delta actually has much better catering LaX-NYC than any of my International DL flights. They have the best catering on that route but the worst catering on every other sector world wide.

    Keep in mind if you do get an American 757 cross country or across the pond the seats are similar to United but missing that massive 15 inch screen. Doug Parker = F****** moron

  3. I fly Alaska while the hard product isn’t as good as some other carriers their change fee policies customer service and frequent flyer program for mid tier elites trumps anything American has to offer these days
    Even the bed in AAs transcons in First is just ok and over priced to the point only a sucker who pay for it.Its certainly not worth the miles they ask
    American went from the best in America to a rubbish airline that’s dishonest and not trustworthy and has unacceptable consumer relations if they bother to respond at all
    I avoid them at all costs even paying more for my tickets sometimes somewhere else
    Frequently there are lower fares almost everywhere else
    Who Knew American could take my loyalty after 20 years and get me to even like Delta a little bit
    Unthinkable 5 years ago

  4. Gary UA may be replacing those seats on widebodies with Polaris but that is not apples to apples with AA transcontinental flights

  5. I agree in spirit with DWondermeant.
    I went from a BOS based AA exec plat to a BOS based JetBlue Mosaic. Why? Mainly B6’s no change fee policy for elites, just like Alaska.

    Also B6 has improved in several important areas for me:
    *Free WiFi systemwide, often gate to gate;
    *Free alcohol for Mosaics in the core non Mint coach product on routes like BOS-DCA;
    *Expanded Mint service for many domestic long haul routes out of BOS. This year I’m on target to get the Go Long bonus 2x;
    *I like the DCA B terminal location better than terminal A where B6 used to be;
    *There IT has improved substantially in the last few years, for instance, you can now do free Mosaic same day changes using the JetBlue app and web site;
    *On balance I’ve gotten good customer service especially in Boston.

    However, I’ve had terrible luck with B6 customer service in SFO consistently, so I’m tempted to fly UA or Delta to SFO.

    My main beef with American is the $200 change fee. I frequently need to change and cancel tickets. This means Southwest, JetBlue, or Alaska would be best for a flyer like me.

    Also American’s customer service in DCA is spotty outside of the AC. For instance I missed a flight and had to go the next day and they tried to charge me the entire fare difference. Also AA is big in DCA, so often they had to wait for gates, etc. Also AA has that infamous 35X gate in DCA for commuters for the next few years until the new terminal. Even with US Airways the customer service in DCA was always hit or miss, where as at BOS it was usually a hit rather than a miss! 🙂

  6. Honestly I cant take the going for great stuff anymore . Like an SNL parody. Like our current Pre… ah forget it.

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