American Airlines has taken the next step in its fleet modernisation plan - to ensure that its customers are flying onboard one of the most modern fleets in the industry.
Progress includes an investment of several hundreds millions of dollars to redesign and refresh the airline’s international widebody aircraft - a demonstration of the forward movement of the company’s business plan.
As part of this redesign, American’s entire fleet of 777-200ERs will have fully lie-flat Business Class seats with aisle access for every seat, international Wi-Fi, in-seat entertainment throughout all cabins, and Main Cabin Extra seating offering more legroom.
The 767-300ERs will have fully lie-flat Business Class seats with aisle access for every seat, and Main Cabin Extra seating.
“This redesign will comprehensively improve our future international widebody experience through fully lie-flat all-aisle access seats, in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, and will place our product among the industry leaders,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s chief commercial officer.
“This is something our people are excited to see as we work toward a new and modern American Airlines.
“Our decision to invest in our international widebody aircraft demonstrates significant forward progress, consistent with our plan, and paints a picture of the future for our customers and people.”
American’s entire fleet of 777-200ERs will be redesigned to a two-class cabin configuration to better match capacity and demand.
The aircraft cabin will feature unique mood lighting and a dramatic archway and ceiling treatment to create a feeling of spaciousness similar to the 777-300ERs, the first of which American plans to receive later this year.
A Business Class walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments is for premium customers.
International Wi-Fi will also be available in-flight.
Up to 45 new fully lie-flat Business Class seats will provide customers among the largest living spaces of any 777 Business Class seat offered by US airlines.
The new seat will be an industry leader giving travellers up to two times more living space than American’s current 777-200ER Business Class seat.
Seats will feature a large tray table, a work surface, and every component of the seat – including the seatback, head rest and leg rest – can be individually adjusted using intuitively designed, simplistic seat controls.
Direct aisle access from each Business Class seat will allow customers to easily move about the cabin without impacting other customers.
Throughout the Main Cabin, new seats will provide increased knee room and improve overall customer comfort. American’s retrofit will include installation of up to 45 Main Cabin Extra seats and up to 170 Main Cabin seats.
The Main Cabin Extra seats, located in the forward portion of the Main Cabin, will offer four to six inches more legroom than the standard Main Cabin seat, allowing greater personal space and convenient access when boarding and deplaning.
Every Main Cabin seat will have universal AC power outlets, USB jacks and HD-capable touchscreen monitor – nearly nine inches – loaded with up to 120 movies, 180 TV programs, 350 audio selections and 30 games.
Once redesigned with the new Inflight Entertainment, the 777-200ERs will have more than nine times the number of entertainment options that are currently available in the Main Cabin on today’s 777-200ER.
The 777-200ER is intended to fly mid- to long-haul international markets in Europe, Asia and South America.
“American will be among the first in the industry to offer the combination of fully lie-flat seats with all-aisle access, international Wi-Fi, and top-of-the-line in-seat entertainment,” added Vahidi.
American intends to retrofit up to half of its existing 767-300ER aircraft. Those that are redesigned will operate the new configuration with fully lie-flat Business Class Seats and all-aisle access. The remaining 767-300ERs that are not redesigned will be retired over time.
Customers will enjoy an enhanced onboard experience with the installation of up to 28 fully lie-flat Business Class seats, each with aisle access. The Business Class seats will offer individual tray tables with a work surface, and universal AC power outlets. Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1 devices will continue to be available for customers seated in Business Class, offering access to a wide variety of movies, TV programs and audio selections.
The retrofitted 767-300ERs will also feature 14 Main Cabin Extra seats with four to six inches more legroom than a standard Main Cabin seat. The Main Cabin of the retrofitted 767-300ERs will have 167 seats.
The airline intends to use retrofitted 767-300ERs on flights to existing markets.
The redesign is expected to begin in early 2014. American is currently working to determine the installation timeline and will have more details on anticipated completion dates in the future.
As part of its international widebody strategy, American anticipates taking delivery of 10 Boeing 777-300ERs beginning at the end of 2012 through 2013. The 777-300ERs will be configured as three-class aircraft and include fully lie-flat First and Business Class seats, Main Cabin Extra, and Wi-Fi capability to keep customers connected while traveling internationally.
Not only is American’s anticipated aircraft delivery and redesign part of the company’s network focus and international network plan, it is a tangible opportunity for customers to experience American’s focus on modernisation and innovation when they travel.