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American Airlines Reveals New 767-300 Business Class – And It Looks Great

by on March 7, 2014 · 17 comments

in American

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American Airlines has been revamping its fleet for a while now, what with the introduction of new 777-300ER’s, A319′s, and the transcon A321. It also has plans to retrofit its aging 767-300′s with an all-new business class. The airline just unveiled what the new cabin would look like, and it’s pretty awesome.

The new American 767-300 business class cabin.

The new American 767-300 business class cabin.

It looks a lot like one of Delta’s BusinessElite cabins, or like business class aboard SWISS or Brussels Airlines with a staggered 1 x 2 x 1 configuration so that all seats have direct aisle access. The cabin will have a total of 28 seats in 7 rows and the new seats will be fully horizontal lie-flats.

The new seats recline to full lie-flat beds.

The new seats recline to full lie-flat beds.

“The retrofit project also include the installation of new LCD drop-down monitors onboard, new digital audio systems, refreshed lavatories, and new seat covers and cushions in the Main Cabin that mirror the design of American’s 777-300ER fleet for a more consistent widebody experience,” according to AA. The planes should also be equipped with international WiFi. The airline will begin flying the first of these newly redone planes on its New York JFK-Zurich route on April 1, 2014.

AA 767-300 business seatWhile I prefer the increased privacy of AA’s new flagship business class aboard the 777-300ER, which is in a reverse herringbone configuration like Cathay Pacific’s business class, this is still a huge step up for a very old business class product that was fast becoming one of the most obsolete among the major US airlines. The current 767-300 business class is in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration with tightly packed angled lie-flat seats. No thank you.

American 777-300 Business Class.

I prefer American’s 777-300 Business Class.

American has plans to retrofit about half of the 58 767-300′s in its fleet now through the end of 2015, and to retire the rest as it replaces them with current-generation aircraft like the A321. So when booking travel and you find a 767-300 flies the routes you’re interested in, it’s worth checking the seat map to see if the cabin is configured with the new seats or the old and to make your booking decision that way.

The one major drawback I see is that there are no built in in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems here. Business class passengers will be given 10.1-inch Samsung tablets and those in coach are out of luck. While the airline might stream entertainment wirelessly, you’ll have to bring your own device. Granted, a lot of travelers are flying with tablets and PDA’s to watch content on, but in this day and age there doesn’t seem to be any reason not to include seatback entertainment monitors at every seat on a new product, so I’m not sure what the reasoning was there.

I’m going to keep my eye out for potential awards so I can try out the new product, but if any of you have a chance to fly it, be sure to report back on the experience here!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • AAflyer

    Is there going to be new IFE system for the main cabin?

  • Mike

    Doesn’t look so great for tall (or wide) people. Any info about seat width/length?

  • http://LukeRB.com/ Luke Bornheimer

    The lack of moveable armrests on most of the seats is a little concerning for long and/or overnight flights. Also, the armrests that can go down appear to go only partially, leaving them sticking up (and into your body). Conversely, UA’s collapsible armrests go flush to seat level, so you’re free to move around while sleeping and slide in and out when your tray table is out (during service). All that said, the product looks sleek and the ample counter space looks useful.

  • joe_l

    I hated the herringbone-shaped flagship business class aboard the 777-300ER. It was almost impossible to talk with my travel companion. There is like a thick wall between the seats and I found it very uncomfortable.

  • http://www.batman.com BobthePlunger
  • Vishal

    Is there going to be a whole new crew with a completely new attitude that goes with this new product? If not, it’s still a sub-par product.

  • thepointsguy

    Not yet, but I’ll update the post when I have it.

  • AndrewAbroad

    Do you know why one would choose this design over the reverse harringbone? I’m assuming it’s a compatibility or economics kind of thing.

  • chris

    any idea if they will fly these on the HNL routes from DFW/ORD (and sometimes LAX)?

  • Donna

    What I dislike about the Samsung tablets is that they don’t give them out until at least 30 minutes into the flight and they collect them 30 or more minutes before landing.

  • disqust101

    They should get rid of IFE – almost everyone has a tablet with their own content they want to watch. And giving out tablets makes sense – they can easily upgrade to new tablets a lot easier than built-in screens (that quickly become obsolete). But they need to install clips to hold the tablets – can be irksome to hold if you’re at an odd angle.

  • joeypore

    I’d assume it’s because of space. The reverse herringbone seats do take up a considerable amount of room.

    This 767 currently has 28 business class seats, and this will also have 28 business class seats.

    The 777-200 currently has 16 First Class seats and 39 Business Class seats (angled lie flat) and they are retrofitting these plans to 45 of the reverse herringbone seats, meaning they’re losing 10 premium seats, and that’s even using the extra space in the First Class cabin portion of the plane. So, it’s reasonable to assume that they simply take up more space.

  • Joel

    Reminds me of the International Business Class on Austrian 767-300.

  • Taffygrrl

    God, please tell me they’re going to refit the planes on the LAX-GRU route. The angled flat seats are excruciating for an overnight flight. Would rather take LAN via Lima, or heck, via Antarctica if that’s what it took.

  • Ben

    When you book a flight at AA.com it says the plane type is 763, does that mean Airbus 767-300? Specifically I’m look at a flight from DFW to Madrid. Just wondering if I can expect the new business class. Appreciate any insight you all can offer!

  • Finney Moore

    We rode it from Dallas to Maui yesterday. There was very good service but the attendants were not aware of the new features on this 767-300. The tablets were great but they didn’t have any chargers for them.

  • Steve

    Flew from Zurich yesterday in the 767-300 to NY in the new business class, biggest negative is no foot rest, and no individual feature for the chair, the choice is up, middle and flat, in flat mode the chair is not very comfortable. These seats are nowhere as comfortable the 777 seats, service in business was OK. For a 7 hr flight not worth the additional money.

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