Today American launches their first Airbus A321T (transcontinental) service from JFK to Los Angeles. Last month, I experienced the aircraft during an American Airlines event at JFK.
Overall, it’s an impressive cabin. With In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) at every seat and seating for just 102 passengers, boarding should be quick and over head luggage space plentiful. These planes will use Gogo’s upgraded air-to-ground (ATG4) Wi-Fi throughout the cabin.
With United’s removal of First Class from their United PS aircraft, American will be the only carrier to provide three classes of service on this route. The private, spacious lie-flat seats have aisle access at every seat.
Passengers are provided Bose QuietComfort 15 headsets
(not pictured) for use with the 15.4″ touch screen IFE system.
As with Business Class, First Class passengers can reserve their meal before the flight. In addition, First Class passengers can experience American’s curb-to-curb experience with Flagship Check-in in New York and LAX and relax at the Admiral’s club or Flagship lounge.
Flagship Check-In Entry
Flagship Check-In Desk
Flagship Check-in connects directly to the Pre-Check TSA lanes outside this door.
The Business Class cabin is outfitted with 20 lie-flat seats side-by-side in a 2×2 arrangement. The seats are spacious and slightly staggered for privacy and nearly identical to United’s international Business Class seating. Business Class travelers can also reserve a specific meal before the flight.
Business Class bulkhead foot well is slightly shallower than
the other foot wells, but not by much.
Due to the large First Class and Business Class cabins, there are relatively few economy seats compared to other planes this size. The Main Cabin (Economy) is equally divided between 36 seats in Main Cabin Extra (with 35″ of legroom) and regular Main Cabin seating (with 31″ of legroom). All seats feature a 8.9″ seat back IFE systems. Each seat is equipped with a USB plug and universal AC power outlet.
Main Cabin bulkhead seats have a lot of legroom due to the emergency exit door. However the seat width is slightly limited by the fixed armrest for the pivoting IFE TV.
Ample legroom at the exit row in the first row of the Main Cabin.
The cabin is as modern, spacious, and comfortable as any Economy Class seating can be. I find the seats to be better padded and a little more comfortable than the seating on Virgin America.
The entire cabin is well designed and very comfortable. It will be interesting to see whether the three cabin layout captures additional business on this competitive route. JetBlue is now installing lie-flat seats branching out from their Economy only model. Delta is also providing lie-flat seats in BusinessElite on this route and improved service and offerings in the air and on the ground. To compete with this, American is offering extra miles on this route from January 7th to March 31st, 2014. The likely loser in this war is Virgin America. Their recliner first class seating is far behind any of the other competitors. It will be interesting to see how this market evolves over the next 24 months.