New American Premium Service Between Boston & Los Angeles

American’s A321Ts are probably the swankiest planes in their fleet, as they’re A321 aircraft in a three cabin configuration.

How American’s A321T aircraft are configured

First class features 10 reverse herringbone seats with direct aisle access from all seats.

Business class features 20 fully flat business class seats, in a 2-2 configuration.

Economy class features just 72 seats, half of which are Main Cabin Extra seats. So it’s a pretty comfy configuration.

Where American flies A321T planes

At the moment American flies these planes primarily between New York and Los Angeles and between New York and San Francisco.

On top of that they occasionally fly them between New York and Boston just to kill time.

Over the holidays last year American also flew them between Boston and Los Angeles, but that was just because the holiday schedule meant there was less demand in the existing markets for the plane.

American has now announced that they’re adding these planes to another route (and it’s my understanding that they’re able to do this without reducing the existing JFK-LAX/SFO service).

American will fly A321Ts between BOS & LAX

American will begin flying A321T aircraft between Los Angeles and Boston as of April 2, 2019. The new flights will go on sale on Monday, December 3, 2018.

The below flights will be operated by A321T aircraft.

From Los Angeles to Boston:

  • AA156 departing 7:45AM arriving 4:16PM
  • AA2455 departing 9:55PM arriving 6:22AM (+1 day)

From Boston to Los Angeles:

  • AA211 departing 7:24AM arriving 11:10AM
  • AA2542 departing 5:45PM arriving 9:28PM

This will lead to some inconsistency

This is fantastic news, though the big catch is how inconsistent American’s product offering will be. American has up to seven daily flights between the two cities, and only two of those will featured the enhanced service. The remaining flights will be operated by non-premium A321s, as well as 737-800s.

Still, they only have so many of these A321T aircraft, so it’s understandable that they can’t offer this product on all flights. It’s certainly better to have these planes on some frequencies than no frequencies, in my opinion.

Clearly American is trying to compete with Delta, JetBlue, and United, as all three airlines offer flat bed products between Boston and Los Angeles. The good news is that paid business class fares on them are already pretty reasonable in the market, and American adding more premium capacity in the market should help maintain that (or even cause fares to go down even more).


JetBlue Mint

What this means for lounge access & upgrades

American treats their A321T aircraft the same as any other planes for the purposes of upgrades. So Executive Platinum members still receive complimentary upgrades from economy to business class, and other elite members can redeem stickers.

Since this is now a “premium” route, business class passengers will be eligible to use American’s excellent Flagship Lounge at LAX.


American Flagship Lounge LAX

Those traveling in first class can use American’s Flagship First Dining at LAX, which offers a sit down dining experience.


American Flagship First Dining LAX


American Flagship First Dining LAX

In Boston, first and business class passengers will have access to the renovated Admirals Club, though the airport doesn’t have a Flagship Lounge or Flagship First Dining.

What do you make of American flying A321T aircraft between Los Angeles and Boston?

Comments

  1. JetBlue mint has been on this route for years, hard to imagine AA will compete on either price or quality of service.

  2. Where is AA cutting flights from to make way for this route? Probably JFK to SFO, unfortunately. AA really should be ordering more of these planes.

  3. Nice hard product in F but terrible service — e.g. flight attendants loud and disrespectful of keeping the cabin quiet during redeyes, and generally quiet rude and abrupt.

  4. I’m not a fan of those narrowbody things. What did they do with the toilets? Like the 737 Max? Or is this slightly better? I would expect better from Airbus compared to Boeing as they are a couple of years ahead in terms of comfort.

  5. AA charge stupid prices for their “First” which isn’t that much better than Business for a flight of this duration

  6. What’s the premium demand for this route? It seemed like the the entertainment industry drove enough demand for premium seats to support the LAX-JFK route and I imagine the VC/tech types were a big driver for the premium seating on the SFO-JFK route.

    Who’s got big pockets and flying BOS-LAX? Are they counting on paid upgrades from the usual business travel/consulting crowd? Or is it just a move the prevent JetBlue from gaining market share?

    Or is the thinking nothing beyond “long flight. lie flat”?

    Curious if anyone else has thoughts on that.

  7. I flew United flat beds from Boston to LAX two weeks ago. They have one or two a day that offer lay flats just like American.

  8. Good news, although upgrades were already impossible on the route.

    What do you consider a reasonable fare. I see them starting at $899 one way, so $1798 RT with one flight a week at $1198 RT (Sat 6am) at the end of schedule for Jet blue.

  9. They have been forced into this.
    B6, DL and UA already offer flat beds on this route. I suspect AA were losing premium market share

  10. @Andrew. Boston gives large tax breaks for the entertainment industry. Between movies set already scripted to be Boston (Black Mass) or can be used as fill-in for New York (Ghostbusters 2) etc. A lot of tech is in greater LA now SF has become so crowded. Consulting crowd (Bain, BCG, etc), PE crowd and other finance in BOS. A lot of pharma in each location.

  11. Hey Ben, I was in an admiral’s club over the summer and I realized hat unlike the UA club, they have a menu that you can pay to order hot dishes from. This was in the LAX club lounge. Does Boston have this? And if they do, would flagship passengers departing Boston get this for free or no they still would have to pay?

  12. @Flyingrohit. AA has/had two Admirals. Legacy AA club and acquired US Airways on two far-ends of term B. Old US Air location and where AA will be concentrating ops is under construction along with additional gate area. That location is next to the food courts, so kitchen facilities is certainly possible. Currently the ‘club’ on that side of the terminal is a pop-up in gate area with partitions.

  13. @Andrew yeah like some of the above said, there is a decent industry here for medtech and consulting, but a lot of “regular” tech is moving here too from SF and Austin.

    Some subsidies and incentives, but also the talent pool is deep and rich… and a lot of these people want to stay on the right coast.

  14. I already have a first class award ticket issued on this route on AA2455 going out and AA2542 coming back after the switch to the new planes. Any thoughts on how this will impact my award ticket?

  15. I’m looking to book one of those flights with AS miles, if I book First will I be put in F or J. Any idea if these flights go all the way through the summer too ?

  16. Very annoyed that they finally get around to doing this after I stopped flying this route frequently for work… almost 7 hours BOS-LAX some parts of the year make this an insane flight to have shitty recliner chairs on.

    This plus the new Hyatt Centric Boston make me feel left out. Good for everyone else who now gets to enjoy what should have been common sense catering to the market.

    @Jeff are you asking if you will continue to have First or you will get bumped to Business? You’ll probably have to call AA, but notice that the AA award chart differentiates between Business/First and First. You most likely redeemed for the Business/First, so therefore are in Business.

  17. American should keep all flights non premium and just treat the A321T flights as 2 class service featuring 30 first class seats.

  18. Do you think AA will introduce flagship first check in at BOS? The AC Is under renovation but will still be just an AC. What will AA do to enhance the ground experience at BOS?

  19. @Jordan are you an insider to Airbus or AA? How much does it cost to reconfigure? Are the planes the same mechanically? How much time does it take to reconfigure? What is the opportunity cost to take an A321S and reconfigure it to A321T? What planes will AA put on those routes instead? Can you quantify ‘easy’? If it’s so easy, why haven’t they done it sooner?

    Maybe don’t state unfounded opinions as fact.

  20. Looked at booking SFO/JFK for May. Jetblue is $1200 RT. AA is $2450 in biz and $2600 in first. I booked jetblue.

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