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American Airlines has been in the process of upgrading its long-haul fleet, giving the aircraft a refreshed look and passengers a more comfortable flight (with the exception of 10-across in the 777-300ER). We have known for years that the airline would be taking new deliveries of Boeing 787s and 777-300ERs, as well as retrofitting other planes with new interiors, including its 767-300s and 777-200s (the same aircraft type that the Pope’s been flying around in).
However, the plan to update AA’s aging 777-200s has recently hit a snag. News broke this week that American would be ending a contract with seat vendor Zodiac Aerospace, as the supplier was taking too long to deliver the new business-class seats for AA’s 777-200 planes. While the airline searches for a new supplier, the retrofitting of 777-200s will continue with Zodiac seats that have already arrived. The seats for the airline’s 777-300ERs and 767-300s come from another manufacturer, so those planes won’t be impacted.
Here’s what an AA spokesperson had to say:
American has started looking for a new vendor to supply Business Class seats for our B787-9 aircraft and the remainder of our B777-200 retrofit aircraft. Zodiac has not been able to deliver new seats in a timely fashion according to the terms of its contract. Our Business Suite supplied by Zodiac is an excellent product with good reviews, but the seats are far behind schedule and continue to cause significant delays to our plans to improve the travel experience for our customers. We’re confident that selecting a new vendor now will provide enough time for our partners to install a new seat-type on the B787-9, which is scheduled for delivery in 2016.
For now, AA says the retrofits will continue, but that may change if a new seat manufacturer isn’t selected quickly. If you’re planning on flying one of American Airline’s 777-200s far in the future and were expecting the updated interior, you may end up being disappointed when it comes time to board. Check your seat map every few weeks leading up to departure, so you don’t end up getting caught by surprise when you arrive at the gate to find that seats haven’t been updated — you’ll want to avoid flying AA’s angle-flat seats, if at all possible.
If you’re looking to boost your AAdvantage balance ahead of an award redemption, considering signing up for the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, which gives you 75,000 miles after spending $7,500 in the first three months. You can also transfer points from SPG to AA, including those earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, which is currently offering 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
H/T: Runway Girl Network
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