When American Airlines launched its plan to cram more seats into Boeing 737s – going from 150 seats before US Airways management took over to 172 seats today – they didn’t just steal space from each coach seat. They shrunk the space each first class passenger got. They put in less padded seats. And all that seemed to matter was that the seat fit the space, not how it actually functioned.
So as American brought new 737 MAX aircraft online, and retrofit old Boeing 737-800s with their new “Project Oasis” interior, everyone started complaining. American listened to the premium passengers, though, who told them about how little thought clearly went into the product. The airline created ‘Project Kodiak’ to tweak first class: Fixing row 1’s legroom, fixing underseat storage, improving separation between first and coach, and adding tablet holders and USB power to first class.
The Current “Oasis” Domestic First Class Seat
Here’s what the seats currently look like:
Here’s how the seat is currently attached to the floor of the aircraft, leaving almost no underseat storage:
And here’s how the (lack of a) divider looks between the forward cabin and coach.
American’s ‘New’ New Domestic First Class
In their 2.0 Oasis domestic seat they’ve created better under seat storage. They’ve fixed the issues with row 1. And they’ve changed the color of the divider between first class and coach, bringing it down further so that it is below the top of the first class seat in row 4 (there is still no bulkhead between the cabins).
This is some of what has changed:
Changes, not complete list:
Flexible leather semi-hard divider, updated under seat stowage, new larger laptop stowage in the center console, seatback device holder and usb, new bulkhead, and row 1 aisle width and legroom fixed.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) January 20, 2020
Here are the first shots posted online publicly, via legendary AA-leaker Jon NYC.
It’s been pointed out to me that this new divider is what TWA used in the late 1990’s to save spance when they went to 20 first class seats on their MD80s.
This does look like an improvement, especially with first class getting underseat storage, though I don’t expect the seats to be all the much more comfortable and the loss of a couple of inches between seats in first class means the new cabin is less of a premium experience overall than American Airlines used to offer.
What do you think of American’s latest effort?