American Airlines Marks One-Year Merger Anniversary with $2 Billion Investment in Planes, Lounges, and Passenger Experience

By Paul Riegler on 8 December 2014
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On the eve of the one-year anniversary of its merger with US Airways, American Airlines announced a $2 billion investment in aircraft cabins, Admirals Club lounges, and international in-flight Internet, promising, in the words of its CEO Doug Parker, “a product that’s better than our competitors.”

The Fort Worth-based carrier is upgrading the cabins of many of its Boeing 757s and 767-300s with fully lie-flat seats that have direct aisle access, and putting brand-new seats in all cabins on all of its Boeing 777-200s, as well as over 90 of its Airbus A319s.  The result will be that nearly every one of the airline’s wide-body aircraft will have fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access.

American has already put its first refurbished Boeing 777-200 into service, having replaced its first- and business-class cabins with an all-new business class that offers fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access as well as a walk-up bar similar to what is on the carrier’s Boeing 777-300ERs.  The airline is also adding its premium economy lite section, Main Cabin Extra, to its 777-200s, and all coach seats will have in-flight entertainment systems.  All 47 of American’s 777-200s will receive the new interiors by the end of 2016.

The carrier’s Boeing 757 jets that are used on transatlantic and Latin American flights will get fully lie-flat seats in business class as well as a new coach cabin.  All seats with have power ports and in-flight Wi-Fi.

The former US Airways Airbus A319 fleet will get new seats in first class and coach as well as 24 Main Cabin Extra seats.  All seats will have power outlets.

American said it will continue to refresh its Boeing 767-300 planes, adding fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access to 14 more in 2015.  Currently, 11 have the new interiors, which include a completely new coach cabin.  The 767s are also getting satellite-based in-flight Internet and power ports.

The world’s largest airline will also make substantial improvements to its Admirals Clubs.  In addition to new furnishings, the airline is refurbishing WC and shower facilities and adding new complimentary food options including Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, soups and crudités during the day, and new desserts.

At the airport, American is installing new and “more reliable” kiosks in check-in areas and an additional 400 kiosks in gate areas to allow passengers to support a variety of functions including reprinting boarding passes and obtaining upgraded seats.  The airline is also installing a total of 500 worktables, each with 12 power outlets and seating for eight people, at all hub and gateway airports that will allow passengers to do work and charge devices before a flight.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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