American Airlines is the first airline in the US to offer premium economy on their international flights. The cabin debuted on their 787-9 last year. They have since started retrofitting their 777s and will soon retrofit their A330s. American recently announced plans that their premium economy would not be added to domestic flights. It seems that American has slightly backtracked on this decision. The airline will begin to fly their P/E configured aircraft to Hawaii. The majority of these routes will be from Dallas to Hawaii, but for a short time there will be a flight from LAX to Honolulu.
American has flown historically two routes to Hawaii from Dallas. They fly to Honolulu and to OGG. They will launch a new flight to Lihue from Dallas next year, and this flight will also have the 777 with P/E. For a long time, the airline only flew 767s on this flight. I had a chance to fly their older 767s on this route before they were retired last year. With the retirement of most of their 767 fleet, American will have to deploy 777s to Hawaii from Dallas. At the moment, they currently fly one of their daily flights with a 777. I believe this will be a substantial improvement to the current offering of just Economy and First on the flight.
What to expect?
According to American’s press release, the airline will be offering a full premium economy product on the flight. This news confuses me a bit. American’s premium economy is akin to first class on domestic flights. With this flight having both first and P/E, there will need to be a lot of product differentiation. American will have lie flat seats in First class, but based on what I have seen on their P/E meals, they are the same as the meals they offer on these flights. I want to see if American begins offering an amenity kit in First. And I also expect them to offer some more soft product improvements, like lounge access and improved meals.
I am excited to see American deploy their reconfigured 777s to Hawaii. I think that American’s P/E will be the best option for the LAX-HNL flight, given the flight is short enough to not require a fully flat seat. However, on the Dallas flights, First class will make a difference. These flights are as long as flights across the Atlantic. The lie flat seat would be greatly appreciated by many passengers paying a premium.
It is also worth noting that American offers free upgrades to Executive Platinums and Platinum Pros. All other AAdvantage Elites can use their sticker upgrades for these flights. This is, in my opinion, the best redemption of American domestic upgrades out there. This is just part of the expansion we have recently seen at DFW. American’s new flights to Hawaii (Lihue) and their improving product shows how committer the airline is to Dallas.
I am keen on seeing what American will do to differentiate the two cabins (P/E and First). The products at the moment are very similar, but hopefully there will be improvements to the current offerings. Personally, I would just book P/E and hope to get upgraded. For the fare difference, P/E is worth it. The difference usually runs about $100-$200. I’ll try to take a flight to Hawaii on P/E as soon as they launch and report back!
What do you think? Are you excited to try AA’s P/E flight to Hawaii? Will you be flying them soon? Would you pay the premium to fly in their recliner seats? Let us know!
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