Mikeonbehind the curtain

American Airlines New Airbus A321T

Today American launches their first Airbus A321T (transcontinental) service from JFK to Los Angeles. Last month, I experienced the aircraft during an American Airlines event at JFK.

american-a321t

balloons flagship-chekin-sign

Overall, it's an impressive cabin. With In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) at every seat and seating for just 102 passengers, boarding should be quick and over head luggage space plentiful. These planes will use Gogo's upgraded air-to-ground (ATG4) Wi-Fi throughout the cabin.

First Class

With United's removal of First Class from their United PS aircraft, American will be the only carrier to provide three classes of service on this route. The private, spacious lie-flat seats have aisle access at every seat.

first-class-entrance

first-class-working

first-class-working-2

Passengers are provided Bose QuietComfort 15 headsets
(not pictured) for use with the 15.4" touch screen IFE system.

first-class-sleeping

first-class-tray-table

first-class-flat-bed

first-class-controls

As with Business Class, First Class passengers can reserve their meal before the flight. In addition, First Class passengers can experience American's curb-to-curb experience with Flagship Check-in in New York and LAX and relax at the Admiral's club or Flagship lounge.

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Flagship Check-In Entry

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Flagship Check-In Desk

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Flagship Check-in connects directly to the Pre-Check TSA lanes outside this door.

Business Class

The Business Class cabin is outfitted with 20 lie-flat seats side-by-side in a 2x2 arrangement. The seats are spacious and slightly staggered for privacy and nearly identical to United's international Business Class seating. Business Class travelers can also reserve a specific meal before the flight.

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business-class-aisle

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Business Class bulkhead foot well is slightly shallower than
the other foot wells, 
but not by much.

business-class-foot-well

Economy Class

Due to the large First Class and Business Class cabins, there are relatively few economy seats compared to other planes this size. The Main Cabin (Economy) is equally divided between 36 seats in Main Cabin Extra (with 35" of legroom) and regular Main Cabin seating (with 31" of legroom). All seats feature a 8.9" seat back IFE systems. Each seat is equipped with a USB plug and universal AC power outlet.

economy-leg-room

 

economy-exit-row

Main Cabin bulkhead seats have a lot of legroom due to the emergency exit door. However the seat width is slightly limited by the fixed armrest for the pivoting IFE TV.

economy-exit-row-monitors

Ample legroom at the exit row in the first row of the Main Cabin.

The cabin is as modern, spacious, and comfortable as any Economy Class seating can be. I find the seats to be better padded and a little more comfortable than the seating on Virgin America.

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Galley

The entire cabin is well designed and very comfortable. It will be interesting to see whether the three cabin layout captures additional business on this competitive route. JetBlue is now installing lie-flat seats branching out from their Economy only model. Delta is also providing lie-flat seats in BusinessElite on this route and improved service and offerings in the air and on the ground. To compete with this, American is offering extra miles on this route from January 7th to March 31st, 2014. The likely loser in this war is Virgin America. Their recliner first class seating is far behind any of the other competitors. It will be interesting to see how this market evolves over the next 24 months.

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Comments

First class looks amazing and business doesn't look so shabby!

#2
Jose July 9, 2014 at 07:27 pm

I'm actually gonna be taking my first a321 flight next month on the transcon a321. I'm gonna sit in main cabin extra. From past experience in mce, the 36" pitch I feel is a good amount to make the extra legroom more noticeable plus the seats also have an extra 2" of backseat recline. I'll be looking forward to my trip and give the verdict once I land.

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