American Airlines plans to spend $2 billion on new aircraft seats, in-flight entertainment, and power outlets as it as it continues to modernize its fleet to provide passengers with more comfort. American will add seat-back video screens to all but a handful of the new aircraft.
The worlds largest airline also plans to instal 500 worktables with 12 power outlets near the gates of its major airports, refurbish the Admirals Club, their airport lounge club, and expand the food offered at the lounge.
Additionally, American plans to invest in a $2 billion program which includes new kiosks that are designed to reduce wait times at airport check-in counters by mid-2015. American will also install 400 kiosks in gate areas for those passengers who need to reprint their boarding pass or process same-day upgrades.
American is clearly enhancing their equipment to better compete with Delta Airlines, who announced improvements to their in-flight entertainment system earlier this year.
American currently has the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based airline. American will continue to receive new planes through the year 2022.
- Received 100 new aircraft by the end of 2014;
- Receive an additional 112 aircraft by the end of 2015;
- Receive 84 aircraft by the end of 2016; and
- Receive over 300 more new aircraft through 2022.
The new aircraft include A320 family, A350-900, B737 MAX, 777-300ERs, and B787’s jets.
“Now that we have the network to compete globally, we’re going to deliver a product that’s better than our competitors,” said Doug Parker, American Airlines chairman and CEO. “Refreshed cabins and clubs, modernized ticket counters, improved technology and new aircraft are further examples of how American is ‘going for great’ – providing our outstanding team members the tools they need to deliver a great experience for our customers.”
- 777-200 – The first refurbished 777-200 is already in service, featuring a Business Class seat designed especially for American Airlines customers, with direct aisle access and a private flying experience. The plane will have a modern interior – including a walk-up bar – with unique lighting, a dramatic archway and a spacious look. Main Cabin Extra will be added and all Main Cabin seats will have in-seat entertainment systems. All 47 aircraft are scheduled to be retrofitted by the end of 2016.
- 757 – Aircraft used on trans-Atlantic and Latin America flights will get fully lie-flat seats in Business Class. Customers flying in the Main Cabin will also benefit from a refreshed cabin, power ports and in-flight connectivity.
- A319 – One of the workhorses of the legacy US Airways fleet is scheduled for all new seats. Planned improvements include new seats throughout First Class and Main Cabin, and adding 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and power outlets throughout the cabin to charge personal electronic devices. All 93 A319s will be retrofitted and in service by the end of 2016.
- 767-300 – Eleven refurbished aircraft are already in service and 14 more will be complete in 2015. The cabin will feature fully lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Business Class and a refreshed Main Cabin. In addition, these aircraft will receive satellite in-flight connectivity.
Satellite based international Wi-Fi will be available on all 777s, 767-300s, select 757s and the new 787 Dreamliners.
Admirals Club enhancement:
Admirals Club customers will see new and expanded complimentary food options, refurbished restroom and shower facilities, toiletry amenities, and improved technology for customers to use before flights. Additional healthy food items include Greek yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast, hearty soup offerings in every club, crudites and desserts. Additional improvements will continue to roll out in the coming months.
Therefore, so long as American continues to match Delta’s in-flight entertainment and not their frequent flyer program, I see good things on the horizon. Thoughts?