While the exact timeline remains to be seen, it’s pretty certain at this point that American Airlines will be making some changes to the layout of some of its Airbus A319s.
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The basics of American’s Airbus A319 fleet
For some background, American has a fleet of 133 Airbus A319 aircraft, which is the smallest mainline aircraft in the fleet. These planes currently all feature 128 seats, including eight first class seats and 120 economy seats.
Most of those aircraft were initially delivered to US Airways back in the day (going back to the late 1990s), while 32 were delivered to American within the past decade. Those A319s that were initially delivered to American are currently the best “standard” narrow body aircraft in the carrier’s fleet in terms of interiors.
That’s because the 32 aircraft all feature seat back entertainment at every seat, as these planes were delivered at a time when American wanted to improve the passenger experience and become more premium. That was before American introduced its “Oasis” configuration, whereby the airline decided against offering seat back entertainment at every seat, instead investing in Wi-Fi and streaming entertainment.
Presumably American’s plan is to eventually retire much of its A319 fleet, given that some of the former US Airways planes are 25+ years old at this point. However, it sounds like American is planning some updates to its newer A319s.
American will reconfigure 32 Airbus A319s
The always knowledgable @xJonNYC reports that American has plans to reconfigure its 32 Airbus A319s that were initially delivered to American:
- These planes will have their total capacity increased from 128 seats to 132 seats
- At the same time, American will add a row of first class, increasing first class capacity from eight seats to 12 seats
- American will presumably add a row of seats by slightly reducing legroom in parts of the cabin, and also by introducing lavatories in the back of the plane that take up less space
- This configuration of 132 seats would exactly match what you find on Delta’s A319s, which have the same layout
- When American reconfigures these A319s, they’ll feature the standard “Oasis” configuration, meaning American will remove seat back televisions from the plane, and introduce the same interior you find on other aircraft
The exact timeline for this happening remains to be seen. It’s not surprising that American has waited to do this, as the priority was first to reconfigure all 737s, then to reconfigure all A321s, and now American is clearly looking at its A319s.
Obviously these planes being reconfigured is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s sad to see American’s nicest standard domestic aircraft being reconfigured to remove TVs. On the other hand, it’s nice to see a row of first class added, as the A319 has been an incredibly tough plane not just for upgrades, but in some cases even for buying a first class seat.
Now we’ll just have to wait and see when this process actually starts.
American is planning some changes to its newest Airbus A319s, whereby the jets will see a row of first class seats added, without economy capacity being reduced. Along with this, we’ll see American rip out the TVs that are currently available throughout the cabin.
These changes are only coming to the 32 A319s that were initially delivered to American, while many of the remaining A319s will presumably be retired in the near future, given that some of them are 25+ years old. We should learn more details about the process in the near future.
What do you make of American’s plans to reconfigure Airbus A319s?