RIP: American’s Old First Class

Filed Under: American

American has been trying to refresh their longhaul fleet over the past few years. This process started back in early 2013, when they took delivery of their first 777-300ER with reverse herringbone seats in business class. It’s crazy to think that was already more than four years ago. Time flies.

However, the single most common plane in American’s longhaul fleet is the 777-200ER, so reconfiguring all 47 of those planes has been quite a project. After over four years, it’s finally complete.

American has just sent their latest 777-200ER to Hong Kong to be reconfigured with the new business class product. What does that mean in practice? All of American’s 777s now feature fully flat seats in business class, rather than the old angled business class seats they had on the 777s.

The other major implication is that American has eliminated international first class on their 777-200s. American used to have first class, business class, and economy class on the 777s, while right now they have business class and economy class, with plans to add premium economy in the future.

Ultimately American’s new business class is nearly as good as their old first class, so this isn’t a huge loss.

Perhaps those most impacted are employees. American’s old 777-200 first class cabins were massive, with 16 seats. They’d rarely be full of paying (or even upgraded) passengers, so it was a goldmine for non-revenue passengers, since they’d get those seats on a space available basis.

American eliminating international first class on the 777-200 is a huge loss for employees, since scoring a business class seat is much tougher. That’s because those passengers are accommodated after all paid upgrades are processed.

This also means that the only planes in American’s fleet featuring three cabin first class are the A321s operating premium transcons, as well as the 777-300ERs.

There are only eight first class seats on the 777-300ER, and American has 20 of these in their fleet. That means American has a total of 160 international first class seats in their entire fleet now.

So it’s exciting that American’s entire 777 fleet now features fully flat beds in premium cabins. However, unfortunately there are still some 767s and 757s not featuring fully flat beds, so American’s entire longhaul fleet doesn’t have flat beds yet.

As a customer I’m happy to see these uncomfortable angled dentist chairs eliminated on the 777s. At the same time, as an Executive Platinum there’s something about the old 777 that made me nostalgic for the “good old days” of American. It reminds me of a time when American was actually dedicated to improving their frequent flyer program, rather than cutting it to no end. A time where the Executive Platinum desk agents were actually helpful, rather than clueless. A time where upgrades actually cleared consistently. Etc., etc., etc., šŸ˜‰

  1. Are the non-flat 767-300s still flying any transcontinental routes? I thought they were mostly doing domestic duty now.

  2. “Thatā€™s because those passengers are accommodated after all paid upgrades are processed”

    LOL yeah … employees never play shenanigans with the upgrade order

  3. This is kinda sad actually. Wow – things do change over time, don’t they – for good or bad.

  4. Ill miss those old angled Biz seats. I slept like a baby in them and it was nice being able to sit next to my girlfriend instead of talk to her at a weird angle. If I was by myself I would just pick an aisle seat in the center section.. They should have kept those, modernized them (PTV’s sucked) and reduced 1st to 8 seats. Those seats were cushy and comfy! Will be missed!

  5. @Justin – No, employees NEVER play shananigans with upgrade orders and if someone do I assure you it gets reported.

  6. Also, It was really nice using my laptop very easily while eating. I like the extra fold down. And the leggiest and all the different lounging positions were great. the new seat its flat.. yes but harder to get comfortable in, I know I am totally alone on this one!!

  7. “Angled dentist chairs”. As a dentist and AA million miler I don’t appreciate your denigrating my profession by comparing us to AA flight attendants! I think we try a whole lot harder to make what can be an unpleasant experience as pleasant as possible.

  8. @Brad, not really, my buddy just flew one of them on DUB-ORD, he made a comment on twitter about it and 3 days after the flight he got a 25k customer service bonus for the inconvenience of not being on a fully flat C seat on a TATL flight!

  9. Flew ORD-BOS a couple years ago and the original 737-800 was swapped out for a 777-200. Best use of 500-mile upgrades ever!

  10. @ lucky…..any word on updating the 767s? Husband and I have a LIM-MIA flight in October, and I’m dreading angled seats.

  11. Is there an easy way to find a list of routes when you are interested in flying on a specific kind of plane? I’d like to try AA’s first class in an international 3 class cabin, but I have no idea how to find out where they go besides searching the trip reviews here.

  12. Back when I worked for an airline, we were nearly always put in Business Class, even when for ourselves with the 10% standby flights.

    I doubt that we ever displaced a full fare paying passenger, but we sure as heck got priority on upgrade lists.

    Unfair? Maybe, but this perk helps to retain staff

  13. @Quinton expertflyer is your best bet. But for AA 773s, since they don’t have that many you are limited to LHR/GRU/ICN(?)/HKG/SYD, from JFK/DFW/MIA and LAX, not sure ORD has a 773 route, if so, possibly LHR.

  14. “American has just sent their latest 777-200ER to Hong Kong to be reconfigured”

    Pretty sad that American is making China Great Again

  15. Now, if we can just get AA to get rid of the 757 (new seats or not) on the ORD-MAN and JFK-MAN routes permanently, instead of just seasonally….

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