I’ve been a huge critic of the American Airlines “Project Oasis” to take their existing Boeing 737s and replace interiors with more seats; less comfortable seats; less distance between seats; less recline; no seat back video; and smaller lavatories (plus bigger overhead bins).
These retrofitted planes, which have the same interiors as their new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, are less comfortable in all classes of service. There’s less space even in first class, and there’s seemingly been little thought given to the seats which don’t work well for under seat storage and have a bar which protrudes from the lower back for maximum discomfort.
It’s been rumored that American would cry uncle and remove some seats from the planes, implicitly acknowledging that they’ve gone too far. The airline is now even getting questions about whether their new inferior product is a cause of their revenue problems.
However it seems there’s now a whole new problem with this project. Yesterday a Transportation Workers Union official tweeted to me that several of the new less comfortable retrofitted Boeing 737s are unfit.
The OASIS mod is just another in the series of Isom making Parker look stupid. Isom has been purposely doing this since Kirby left for UAL, because he wants to be CEO. Today 15 OASIS chop shop modified aircraft are flying unsafe & the FAA is aware. Let’s see if they are grounded
— Gary Peterson (@TWUIVP) March 6, 2019
Apparently planes that were modified in one location are being inspected. An issue was found with two aircraft and so all similarly-modified aircraft need to be inspected.
(The ones that were done at GSO or TUL are still in service)
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) March 7, 2019
According to an American Airlines spokesperson,
At American, safety is our number one priority and is always at the forefront of all that we do.
American operates 304 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and we have identified an issue with the quality of work conducted on overhead bins on two of these Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The interiors on these aircraft were recently updated by a long-time FAA-licensed vendor.
After further inspection by American, the work that was conducted on these two aircraft was not up to our standards. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively removed from service the additional 12 aircraft that were updated by this vendor and have notified the FAA. We will perform additional inspection work on these 14 aircraft. Though the issue did not impact the safety of flight of these aircraft, we are working with our vendor and the FAA to immediately address this issue.
We never want to disrupt our customers’ travel plans, and we are sorry for the trouble this has caused. Our team has rebooked all customers that were impacted by nearly 40 flight cancellations thus far and will continue to work proactively to get our customers to their final destination.
I’m not sure it’s fair to be talking about 304 Boeing 737-800s, and that only 14 have been taken out of service — there are a total of 69 planes that have been retrofit with the new interior, and all 14 that were done at one facility have been taken out of service.
Overhead bin issues can ground an aircraft — it’s a carefully worded statement to say that the issue did not impact the safety of flight if it wasn’t a big deal there wouldn’t be this response.