American A319s Getting More First Class Seats, Tighter Cabin

American A319s Getting More First Class Seats, Tighter Cabin

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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.

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.

American has 130+ Airbus A319s

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.

Some American A319s have personal televisions

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 A319s are getting standard “Oasis” cabins

Bottom line

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?

Conversations (19)
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  1. John Guest

    America keeps going downhill; as a million-mile flier with American, I have not flown them in over 15 years; bad planes, bad service, bad food, and the list goes on and on.

  2. Ricardo Guest

    It's a sad day, and makes AA closer to Spirit than Delta.

    We always got these on the Dallas to Jackson Hole leg

    While I will miss these, but since we moved from an AA hub to a Delta hub, we have been using DL more. Though AA is usually significantly cheaper, the experience is just not as premium, and we are ok with paying more for a better experience.

  3. JetBlueFanboy Gold

    Honestly I'm surprised it took AA this long to start retrofitting their LAA A319's (or at least make the announcement). Let's just hope that the Oasis-ization of their A319's takes as long as UA's Polaris/NEXT retrofits.

  4. Paul Gold

    It's sad that AA is still stuck on Oasis.

  5. Ivan Guest

    American A319, A320 and 777-200's are getting up there in age.

  6. Eric Guest

    The A319 was always a performance aircraft. US Airways used them for Transcons at a time where the A320 couldn't make it reliably and the A321s did not have the capabilities that they had now. US had 12 First class seats on the 319 for consistency with the 320s (makes loading meals easier in case of a sub). Counterbalancing the long legs for transcons, US also used these plans on the Shuttle, adding a significant...

    The A319 was always a performance aircraft. US Airways used them for Transcons at a time where the A320 couldn't make it reliably and the A321s did not have the capabilities that they had now. US had 12 First class seats on the 319 for consistency with the 320s (makes loading meals easier in case of a sub). Counterbalancing the long legs for transcons, US also used these plans on the Shuttle, adding a significant number of flights before the E190 took its place.

    AA pre-merger bought the 319s as apart of a large part for certain hot/high airports were the performance was needed. I suspect the remaining 32 will continue to serve this purpose, particularly out of MIA. 32 might be too many for those, and i could also see some of these return to "shuttle-lite" duty. At least on the short flights, the space-flex lavs won't get much use.

  7. andy Guest

    The constant obsession with inseat entertainment is nauseating.....not everyone wants or needs it. If you as a customer need to have some type of device in your hands or infront of your face fly Delta or JetBlue, PERIOD. They upgrade the wifi and add streaming.....not fast enough for some of you. Some refuse to Pay for the wifi. All these GD critics out there......if you have All the Answers, Start your own GD Airline and...

    The constant obsession with inseat entertainment is nauseating.....not everyone wants or needs it. If you as a customer need to have some type of device in your hands or infront of your face fly Delta or JetBlue, PERIOD. They upgrade the wifi and add streaming.....not fast enough for some of you. Some refuse to Pay for the wifi. All these GD critics out there......if you have All the Answers, Start your own GD Airline and let's see how you do. Soooooooooooooo tired of these arguments. Some of you miserable people are a TOTAL MFing PITA on a daily basis.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      if you actually travel on a B6 or DL domestic flight w/ IFE, the usage is about 2/3 or more of passengers even if it is just the moving map. People do want it which is why UA figured out it needed to add it.

      It is fine that AA and WN choose not to offer it on domestic aircraft but don't belittle people that do use it. Some of us are equally tired of...

      if you actually travel on a B6 or DL domestic flight w/ IFE, the usage is about 2/3 or more of passengers even if it is just the moving map. People do want it which is why UA figured out it needed to add it.

      It is fine that AA and WN choose not to offer it on domestic aircraft but don't belittle people that do use it. Some of us are equally tired of the childish defenses of people that can't accept that domestic AVOD is just as valid of a strategy FOR AN AIRLINE as it is the norm for longhaul widebodies to have it.

    2. James Guest

      I do value a TV screen particularly on longer flights. So, as you suggest, I’m already choosing Delta over American where feasible and if the cost differential isn’t too much. I understand that not everyone values it, that why it’s nice to have a choice. If you want to read a book, you can just turn the TV off. Easy!

    3. Ricky Guest

      Speak for yourself. I like my backseat entertainment as it's more practical, especially on longer flights. No need to get angry about this.

    4. Speedbird Guest

      You're in the minority. If you prefer to use your device, you have the option to not use the screen in front of you. Those of us that do want to use the screen, give us that option don't try to play it off like BYOD is a better solution when it's just AA trying to justify reducing costs and saving money on fuel. If seatback IFE wasnt a big deal, United wouldnt be investing...

      You're in the minority. If you prefer to use your device, you have the option to not use the screen in front of you. Those of us that do want to use the screen, give us that option don't try to play it off like BYOD is a better solution when it's just AA trying to justify reducing costs and saving money on fuel. If seatback IFE wasnt a big deal, United wouldnt be investing so much money into bluetooth enabled 4K seatback screens. Meanwhile AA is still pretending to be a legacy airline while operating a low cost airline model.

    5. BradStPete Diamond

      Dude, seriously ? wow. Chill.

    6. Pudu Guest

      You sound completely unhinged and if you get this angry over something so trivial I don’t think you should be travelling at all. You’re clearly emotionally dysregulated and you may well present a safely issue for other travellers. Get a grip and get help.

  8. George N Romey Guest

    Upgrades even with 12 First Class seats will be tough unless you pay for an upgrade.

  9. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The A319 is not economical given its small size; not having enough first class seats cuts into revenue.
    The A319 is powered by old generation engines and even the A319 is not selling because of the A220-300 which one of AA's major competitors operates and is on the way to a fleet of 100 aircraft; their A223 fleet seats virtuAAlly the same number of seats but burns a whole lot less fuel.
    Not...

    The A319 is not economical given its small size; not having enough first class seats cuts into revenue.
    The A319 is powered by old generation engines and even the A319 is not selling because of the A220-300 which one of AA's major competitors operates and is on the way to a fleet of 100 aircraft; their A223 fleet seats virtuAAlly the same number of seats but burns a whole lot less fuel.
    Not mentioned, but I believe AA is adding the SpaceFlex lavs - 2 lavs on the back wall of the aircraft, splitting the current space.
    AA has no choice but to either refurbish or write down the "young" A319s even if it retires the rest of them including the A320 fleet.
    And AA's shopping exercise for a replacement narrowbody fleet got a little more difficult with the MAX 9 grounding and subsequent production cap on the MAX by the FAA. AA better hope they had a proposal from Airbus that they will still honor even if a contract was not signed.

    1. BenjaminKohl Gold

      The A319 still has better performance for hot and high airports and long routes then the A220-300, especially in AAs config, the -115 which is the most powerful CFM engine rating. AA makes good use of the A319s capabilities at STT, TGU before it closed, etc.

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      yes... but 130 seats is low for a longer flight but for some of the ski markets or northern S. or Central America, the 319 could be the right plane.

      And the "real" performance aircraft is the 757 but AA got rid of theirs. And it is large enough that the economics work for relatively long flights such as NYC to northern S. America and high capacity on a domestic aircraft.

    3. DesertGhost Guest

      The world's only PERFECT airline flies A319s. Perfect airlines don't use planes that aren't economical, do they?

  10. shoeguy Guest

    American has indicated it is shopping for an eventual replacement for the A319 and A320 frames, as well as some of the oldest 737-800s in the fleet. The newer, LAA A319s aren't going anywhere.

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Eric Guest

The A319 was always a performance aircraft. US Airways used them for Transcons at a time where the A320 couldn't make it reliably and the A321s did not have the capabilities that they had now. US had 12 First class seats on the 319 for consistency with the 320s (makes loading meals easier in case of a sub). Counterbalancing the long legs for transcons, US also used these plans on the Shuttle, adding a significant number of flights before the E190 took its place. AA pre-merger bought the 319s as apart of a large part for certain hot/high airports were the performance was needed. I suspect the remaining 32 will continue to serve this purpose, particularly out of MIA. 32 might be too many for those, and i could also see some of these return to "shuttle-lite" duty. At least on the short flights, the space-flex lavs won't get much use.

4
Ricardo Guest

It's a sad day, and makes AA closer to Spirit than Delta. We always got these on the Dallas to Jackson Hole leg While I will miss these, but since we moved from an AA hub to a Delta hub, we have been using DL more. Though AA is usually significantly cheaper, the experience is just not as premium, and we are ok with paying more for a better experience.

2
Paul Gold

It's sad that AA is still stuck on Oasis.

2
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