Here’s the Seat Map for American’s New Airbus A321neo That Crams in Up to 15 More Seats

At the end of September I revealed that American will be squeezing more seats into their Airbus A321 fleet, not just their Boeing 737s as well as adding more first class seats.

  • Legacy American A321s (not the cross country A321Ts) get 15 more seats in the same amount of space while legacy US Airways A321s get 9 more seats.
  • A321neo aircraft will have 196 total seats (remember: one flight attendant per 50 passengers, one more row would have cost them more money to crew the planes).
  • It’s 20 first class seats (5 rows, rather than the current 4), 47 Main Cabin Extra seats, and 129 regular coach seats.

American Airlines Airbus A321

You might think that the Airbus A321 is a smaller aircraft that carries fewer passengers than a Boeing 757. However this configuration would actually cram more people into a smaller airframe than the current dense 757 American uses for Hawaii flights which has 188 seats.

They accomplish this with less distance between seats, less padding for each seat, and smaller lavatories.

The planes also get bigger overhead bins and on a separate faster track also get satellite wifi. There will be no seat back video in these planes, replacing the screens on legacy American aircraft with streaming entertainment you watch on your own device. American says most passengers already have their own devices — and while I never watch the stuff myself, customers say they don’t like watching movies on their phones.

American’s New Less Comfortable MiQ Domestic First Class Seat With Less Legroom

Here’s the seat map for the new configuration:

Note that the arm rests in rows 8 and 17 as well as seat 27B do not move.

Flight attendants won’t like the layout — more customers to serve, especially more first class customers without any extra crew. So the layout document highlights more jump seats and dedicated power for flight attendants to charge their devices.

American’s defenders will say that this plane has just 4 more seats than Delta’s Airbus A321s. Three years ago Delta had 195 seats (compared to American’s 196 in this layout) but took away 3 seats because it was just too many and didn’t leave crew enough room to work.

Indeed it was just January when American’s CEO Doug Parker mocked the 195 seat Delta configuration, that they walked back, joking that it required putting crew seats on the lavatory doors.

It’s worth noting that although American is going through efforts to simplify their fleet configurations, I’ve heard that this may not be the only A321neo configuration they wind up with in the fleet — another version with fewer seats may operate the longest domestic flights (outside of the New York JFK – Los Angeles / San Francisco markets which retain a premium configuration).

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. Your illustration of A321NEO Sest Map does not correspond to your story. The NEO will be configured with no 2L/2R Door replaced by Overwing Exit Windows. The existing AA A321s has 8 Doors and no emergency Exit windows.

  2. My god. They took 2 out of the 3 best coach seats out as well. Now 10f n 23 a and f or AA 12f n 25a n f are the best. Now just one seat. Fml

  3. This is NOT what the existing 321s will be reconfigured into. This is the A321neo config with the space flex door config. Note: Door 2 removed, 1 overwing exit added, door 3 moved up by 4 frames

  4. The AA config for LUS and LAA will have 6 fewer seats due to the door 2 exit requirements. This is the NEO layout. The LUS and LAA will have more first class and more MCE but either a row less of MC or MCE. Power, Sat WIFI and device holders will be included. So there will be 3 configurations, transcon with 110, 321 TBD with 190 and 321NX (Neo) with 196 (which is 1 seat less then DL’s planned NEO configuration btw).

  5. Just rename the airline what it is becoming: Greyhound or Trailways. It is just a faster, more expensive version.
    1 crew member per 50 passenger=no crew members. Who, in coach, calls crew anyway?

  6. @Leef33, Change the name to American AirGreyhound. I like it. It’s descriptive. You can even keep the existing AA symbols, but add the dog logo, to depict how passengers are treated. But I think there might be copyright issues.

  7. LOL: DaveS name of AmericanGreyHound, that is insulting to Greyhound. I think we should name them AmericanMutt Airline.

  8. Meanwhile JetBlue’s all coach High density 321 has only 200 seats. Consider that if American replaced first with coach even without changing the seat pitch in those rows they would get a minimum of another 10 seats and likely more like another 16 by the time you go back to normal coach seat pitch. Coach is not going to be fun.

  9. I recently flew one flight on UA 737-700 followed by a flight on AA 737-800. The AA plane had the new interior and it was noticeably more comfortable than the UA plane. The power ports, plug and USB, were easy to access and the tablet/smartphone holder was very convenient. The lack of setback IFE equipment gives back the personal space we have lost over the years. The only criticism I have about the slimline seat is the seat bottom has an odd downward tilt, lacking full support under the thighs. I also remember this from the previous ‘cradling’ seats.

  10. I just flew this aircraft from LAX to Orlando. The positive is that it is new. The negative seats are hard and aisle is very narrow. Minimalistic is all that I can say. I am going to avoid this aircraft in the future.

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