Come January, American Airlines will introduce brand-new premium Airbus A321 planes on its transcontinental route between New York and California, with service scheduled to increase to five flights daily between JFK Airport and Los Angeles. The planes represent a major upgrade from the airline’s current 767-200s, which presently operate its flagship transcontinental service between JFK and both San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to fresh upgrades on board, American will be increasing the number of daily flights to a nearly hourly shuttle-like service on the JFK–Los Angeles route.
Jim Carter, American’s Managing Director of Eastern Division Sales, introduced the plane in a media event at JFK Airport today. He focused on the idea of travelers being "comfortable and connected" aboard the newly upgraded product.
Every seat has universal 110V and USB power outlets, as well as a personal screen with audio-video on demand (AVOD). (Bonus: The AVOD will be complimentary for all customers through March 31, 2014.) Starting in April, passengers in economy class will have a limited selection of free choices on the AVOD system and the opportunity to purchase additional selections such as movies or access to an exclusive Disney entertainment collection. The plane will also feature in-flight internet using Gogo’s upgraded ATG4 technology, which offers up to 10 megabit speeds to the aircraft.
American is currently the only airline offering three classes of service (first-class, business class, and economy) in the "transcon" market. Travelers looking for a truly first-class experience will find American’s offerings to afford a particularly notable upgrade. Now, every first-class passenger has direct aisle access and each of the 10 allotted seats converts into a fully flat bed. These passengers will also have access to the Flagship Check-in service and Flagship Lounges on both coasts. Customers will also have the ability to pre-order their meal in advance of the flight, with initial menu options like shrimp scampi with roasted tomato garlic cream sauce or pumpkin seed-encrusted chicken breast.
In business class, passengers also have seats that convert into lie-flat beds, though not quite as much personal space as in the first-class cabin, due to the 2-2 seating layout. Passengers will have access to the Admirals Club lounges and, similarly to first-class customers, will be able to pre-order their in-flight meal choices.
The economy class cabin, meanwhile, is split into two sections, each with six rows in a 3-3 layout. Main Cabin Extra seats will have a 35" pitch, while the regular Main Cabin seats will have a 31" pitch. Dining will be offered to buy onboard, with similar fare to the airline’s current in-flight offerings.