AA's Widebody Fleet to Be Completely Lie-Flat in Business by the End of October
Those that have flown American Airlines in the past year might know how frustratingly inconsistent American Airlines fleet can be. Even though you did your research and thought you booked that lie-flat B/E Aerospace Super Diamond 777-200 for your flight to Asia, there was still a chance that the angle-flat version would show up at your gate instead. Or, you shelled out extra AAdvantage miles for a retrofit lie-flat 767 business class flight to Hawaii just to have the angle-flat version get swapped in at the last minute.
Just the fact that the above paragraph is so confusing to a vast majority of AA travelers highlights my point perfectly.
Thankfully, these frustrations are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as the airline is working on simplifying its fleet through retirements and retrofits. It finally retrofitted its last 777 angle-flat business class seats in July, which means that now if you book business class on an AA 777, you're guaranteed to get a lie-flat seat.
Next, it's the 767's turn to go all-flat. Currently, American Airlines has 30 Boeing 767-300s, and 24 of these have been retrofitted with lie-flat business-class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The other six have angle-flat seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. While this difference is easy to spot on the seat map at booking, AA is infamous for making last-minute swaps with this aircraft type.
What does the future hold? Well, as part of its financial filings, American Airlines discloses its fleet plans. These filings showed that only 24 Boeing 767-300s are supposed to be in the fleet at the end of 2017. So, we checked with AA to confirm that the six angle-flat aircraft are the ones that are going to be retired. Sure enough, the six angle-flat 767s are being retired by the end of 2017. But, the good news doesn't end there — all six of these are scheduled to be retired by the end of October, with three slated for the chopping block in early September and the other three in October.
If all goes to plan, by the beginning of November, American Airlines will finally be able to claim that 100% of its widebody have lie-flat business-class seats.
Thankfully, the only inconsistency left will be in the specific type of lie-flat seats. There will be five different business class seat types (#1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 from our rankings) across the seven widebody equipment types (767-300, 777-200, 777-300ER, 787-8, 787-9, A330-200 and A330-300). But, lie-flat is lie-flat, and this is certainly a welcome change for travelers especially considering how inconsistent AA's fleet has been recently.
What's your favorite AA lie-flat business class seat?