Boeing 777-200s Next to Recieve American Airlines’ Premium Economy Product
Today at the Merrill Lynch’s 2017 Transportation Conference, American Airlines revealed the schedule detailing when aircraft will receive Premium Economy. American Airlines Premium Economy was announced in December of 2015. The first aircraft type to receive Premium Economy was American’s Boeing 787-9. The Boeing 787-9 was delivered to American with Premium Economy. All other aircraft in American’s fleet do not feature the new Premium Economy product. However, from the initial announcement of American Airlines Premium Economy product, the airline has stated that they plan to introduce the product on nearly every widebody aircraft. Finally, passengers now have a timeline of when Premium Economy will be installed on widebody aircraft.
American’s Boeing 777-200 is First Non-787 to Receive Premium Economy
American Airline’s fleet of Boeing 777-200s will be the first aircraft, other than the Boeing 787-9, to receive Premium Economy. American’s Boeing 777-200s recently underwent a process in which old angled-lie-flat seats were replaced with new lie-flat seats. Additionally, First Class has been completely removed from the Boeing 777-200s. There are only a few Boeing 777-200s flying with the old angled-lie-flat seats, however, these aircraft are expected to receive the new interiors in the coming months. Along with a new Business Class cabin, the Boeing 777-200 will receive American Airlines Premium economy beginning in the third quarter of 2017. The process of installing Premium Economy will last until the first quarter of 2018.
During this same time, beginning in late third quarter 2017 and only lasting a few months, Ameican’s fleet of Airbus a330-200s will also receive the Premium Economy product. American’s fleet of Airbus a330-300s, of which there are only nine aircraft, will not receive Premium Economy and are slated to leave American’s fleet in the next few years.
Beginning in late 2017 and early 2018, American’s Flagship Boeing 777-300ER or 77W will be fitted with the new Premium Economy product. It’s also possible at this time that American could very likely remove the eight First Class seats to make way for the new Premium Economy product. There has been no official confirmation that the airline will remove First Class from the Boeing 777-300ER, however, American Airlines has been moving away from international First Class in recent years. The Boeing 777-300ER is the last widebody aircraft to feature international First Class. The fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs will be completely fitted with American Airlines Premium Economy by the third quarter in 2018.
Finally, American’s fleet of Boeing 787-8s will complete the Premium Economy installation period. The Boeing 787-8s will be fitted with Premium Economy beginning in the second quarter of 2018 and the process will end late in the second quarter of 2018.
The Boeing 767-300 and Airbus a330-300 will not receive American Airlines Premium Economy as both fleet types will be retired in the coming years. Additionally, it’s also likely that American Airlines will use this retrofitting period to add wi-fi to international aircraft without wi-fi and make other improvements as needed.
This is great news for American Airlines Premium Economy product. Though there was very little doubt in my mind, I’m glad to see American Airlines committed to fitting all widebody aircraft with their fantastic Premium Economy product. It’s also interesting to note how American Airlines will install the product on their widebody aircraft. American will start with the Boeing 777-200 at a time when the airline typically cuts capacity to international destinations in Europe and South America. This seasonal capacity adjustment provides a fantastic opportunity for the airline to retrofit their fleet of Boeing 777-200s and Airbus a330-300s. Additionally, American has less than 20 Boeing 777-300ERs making it harder to remove the aircraft from service. This is likely the reason that American chose the winter months to retrofit their Flagship aircraft with the Premium Economy product.
Overall, I’m amazed how quickly American Airlines plans to install Premium Economy. I’ll be shocked if there’s not a hiccup or two. If American’s able to pull this off in under a year, I’ll be truly amazed.
Have you had the opportunity to fly in American Airline’s Premium Economy product yet? What do you think of their Premium Economy installation schedule?